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What Parenthood Has Taught Me About Selling

Oh children.  So young, so immature, yet so wise at the same time.  If you have been around children for any extended period of time, I’m sure you can agree with me on this one.  Kids are more knowledgeable than we realize.  They are incredibly perceptive of the feelings and attitudes of those around them, their environment, and any variations in their day to day routine.  You may think I am giving kids too much credit, as these are the same little creatures that walk forwards while their heads are turned backwards, running into everything and everyone in their way.  They also eat things off the floor, don’t mind to walk around with bodily fluids (and solids) in their pants, and consider boogers to be its own food group.  While all of this is true, as a mom I have found that my daughter (now 3), is much smarter than I often give her credit for.  Being strong willed, it’s pretty hard to get me to do things I don’t want to do.  My daughter, on the other hand, has me finding myself in situations I have no idea how I got there.  Here’s what parenthood so far has taught me about selling.

  • # 1: Charm is Everything
    If your end goal is to get someone to do something (such as purchase a product or service), they must first like you.  They also must be allured by what you have to offer.  If you nor what you are selling possess any sort of appeal, then consider it ‘not sold’.
    Enter: my three year old daughter.  When she is being nasty and whiney, the last thing I want to do is to comply with her wishes.  Yelling childlike profanities at me in public, such as “mommy I don’t love you!” surely isn’t the way to my heart.  However, when she bats those pretty little eyes, smiles really big, and sweet talks me I am putty in her hands. The other day I was scolding her for purposefully dropping her food on the floor during lunch time.  In the middle of me explaining to her why this was not a good idea, she looked at me and said to me so sweetly: “Mommy, I just love you so much in my heart.”  Do you think she ended up getting punished?  Nope. That little brat.
    # 2: Persistence is Key
    This statement is overstated, yet so incredibly truthful.  If you want something, you have to be willing to work for it.  And sometimes working for it means trying again and again and again.  Pitch something to someone once and they will most likely forget about it and move on.  Keep it in front of their face week after week, ever increasing their exposure to it, and they are much more likely to convert at some point.
    My daughter excels in persistence.  I am a firm believer that she will exceed in life as she knows how to ‘make things happen’.  When she wants something, she gets it! And she does this by asking repeatedly.  Sometimes it’s done in a simple way, and she asks the same request over and over again.  Other times she will think of different and creative ways to pose the question.  While I still maintain my authority as a parent and do not permit her to rule our lives, she definitely gets pretty darn close, especially days where I’m limited on sleep.  Half the time I will tell her yes just to get her to stop talking.  I was trying to get some work done on the computer the other day when she kept asking me for some tic-tacs we had in the pantry.  The scenario went a little something like this:
  • Toddler: Mommy, I want some tic-tacs.
  • Mommy: Not right now honey. You can have some after lunch.
  • Toddler: Can I please have some tic-tacs?
  • Mommy: You can have some later after lunch.
  • Toddler: What if I just have one tic-tac now and more after lunch?
  • Mommy: Maybe in a little bit.

(Meanwhile, toddler goes to her bathroom and gets her step stool.  She carries it by herself into the kitchen and opens the pantry door.  She gets the tic-tacs off the shelf and then walks over to me carrying them in her hands.)

  • Toddler: Look Mommy, can I have one of these? Yeah? (smiling and nodding her head yes)
  • Mommy: Oh my gosh. Fine, just one.
  • Lesson learned: it is much harder to say no to something multiple times than it is to only say no once or twice.
    # 3: Ask Questions
    While this goes hand in hand with persistence, it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to selling.  A good salesperson knows the right questions to ask.  So much can be uncovered by question asking, such as: underlying problems, needs, concerns, hesitations, and so forth.  By finding out answers to these questions, many objections can be overcome.
    At the rate my daughter asks questions, I may have to seek consultation.  When she wants something, as previously mentioned, she just doesn’t stop.  Her requests are often followed up by a multitude of questions. If she is told no, she wants to know why the answer is no.  If she is told later, she wants to know when that later will be so she can hold me accountable.  If she is told yes, then that means it needs to happen right then and there.  If it doesn’t, she will need to be explained to why it didn’t happen in a timely enough fashion.  Her question asking paired with her persistence and charm is the perfect recipe for a successful sales call.