A mom is shopping with her three-year-old, who happens to find the PERFECT rainbow stuffed fish they can’t live without.
“Mom! Can I get this?”
“Not today, sweetie. Let’s put it back.”
“I’ve been good all week, and you told me if I’m good all week, I can get a prize.”
“Can I just keep it while we’re in the store?”
Never once does the child give up on getting the toy. They just switch tactics. Kids make excellent sales teachers because they show you that selling is the foundation of relationships. Every relationship you have is about getting the other person to buy into something, share something, give something, or experience something with you. When you start to see how often you naturally sell, sales become easier because you stop fighting your sales instincts.
Kids don’t let the word no discourage them
As a matter of fact, kids often let the word “NO” fire them up, trying harder for what they want (AKA: the sale). You’ve seen this often with successful people. Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team, went on to become (arguably) the most legendary basketball player in NBA history to date. Einstein failed the entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School. J.K. Rowling was rejected by twelve publishing houses before her worldwide phenomenon, Harry Potter, was accepted. And the stories of not taking “no” for an answer don’t stop there! Stories of overcoming rejection are everywhere, and part of every successful person’s experience.
So where’s the line? Most often, “no” means “not right now” or not this particular prospect. Your job is to show up, serve, and make the offer that fits the prospect. If the prospect isn’t ready or says “no” today, that doesn’t mean they never want to talk about it again (unless that’s what they tell you). Following up is key, but here’s the deal. You don’t follow up to make the sale, you follow up to see where your prospect is in their journey and what they need. That will show you when to ask for the sale again.
Keep in mind that getting a “no” doesn’t mean your product is bad. More than likely, you’re talking to the wrong people. If you allow all of the “no’s” discourage you from selling your product, then you’re going to continue to struggle with sales. When you hear a bunch of “no’s”, ask yourself if you’re selling to the right people or if there’s another market you should be serving with your offer.
The times “no” means “STOP! Do not pass go!” is when the prospect has laid out clear, distinct boundaries and persisting infringes on their consent. If a prospect says, “Stop calling me,” or “This offer isn’t right for me. I don’t want to talk anymore,” then they have made it clear that the conversation is over.
Making offers should always be for the benefit of the prospect. So make sure you respect their boundaries, and when it comes to making sales, don’t drop the ball on your follow up game.
“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her to solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.” – Brian Tracy
Kids master indirect pressure
Kids know how to use “indirect pressure.” Indirect pressure is a way to follow up with authority, instead of apologetically. Here’s an example of kids applying indirect pressure:
“Daddy, remember when you said the next time we go to the store, I can definitely get a toy? You said that right? You remember you said it, right?”
Before Daddy has time to remember if he actually said that, he’s in the car, on the way to the store.
In a sales environment, this looks a little different, but the concept is the same. In this example, notice the difference between the novice salesperson and the expert salesperson.
If a prospect says they’ll be more available to talk next week, when you call them back don’t say, “I just wanted to call you back,” or “I’m just checking in.” An expert salesman says “Hey, John. You told me to follow up with you this week, so I’m calling to follow up. I’m excited to share with you what I have.”
The novice’s words have an undertone of “not wanting to be a bother”, which comes across as apologetic and weak. The expert’s words are acknowledging the agreement with the prospect and moving the conversation forward with confidence. This one skill can be a make or break in your follow up toolbox.
Kids never lose passion for what they want
Children are not afraid to ask directly for the sale because they believe in what they’re asking for. Think about this in your life. It doesn’t matter if there’s a movie you want to see, a restaurant you want to go to, or a grill you’ve been eyeing, if you believe that getting or doing that thing will make your life better in some way, then you’re going to ask for it.
It’s no different in sales. No matter how many times you’ve pitched your product or service, you need to not only believe in the power of your offer, you also need to have that same sharp, enthusiastic tone and demeanor every time you speak to a prospect. It’s not just the words that sell your offer, it’s your tone and body language that mostly conveys what your prospect needs to know to make their decision. To put it bluntly, if you don’t believe in the power of your offer and you’re not excited to get behind it, why would your prospect?
If you are confident in your solution, there will be no reluctance in asking for the sale because you understand what your offer will do for your prospect—and that is EXCITING!
“For every sale you miss because you were too enthusiastic, you’ll miss a hundred because you weren’t enthusiastic enough.” – Zig Ziglar
Kids don’t get stuck on one prospect
What do kids do if someone in the family says “NO”? First, they ask one parent, then they ask another. If that doesn’t work, they ask grandma, their favorite aunt or uncle, and then they eventually loop back around to whichever parent is most likely to say yes.
This is where so many people struggle with sales. Don’t get tunnel vision with one prospect. There’s a whole sea of prospects, even within tight niches.
Sales is the natural order of things. You sell all day, every day, in most of the conversations you have. When you face sales in business, you need to give yourself permission to actually engage with and feel empowered by the process.