As many of you know who have school age children the amount of donating, giving, sponsoring, and selling increases with each passing year. Well this is the time of year for my daughter’s school’s annual charity fun run. So this year I thought she might be old enough to understand that asking for monetary donations is just like selling anything else. Instead of trading money for a product or service. Sponsors are trading money for my daughter to run in a race to raise money for a charitable cause. In other words; money to help others and make those who donate feel good about themselves. So this became a lesson in selling “101” for her. But also a lesson for me to see how the skills of selling is an almost intrinsic part of being a human being.
As we walked around our neighborhood the other evening, I quickly found out what my little girl already knew. Now, as any father would feel, I think my little Lilly is just a bit smarter then the rest of her peers. She knew right from the beginning (she may also have remembered my coaching from last year) the following very important steps to initiate during a sales call.
1. State your name and the reason for your call. In this case it was to ask for a donation to help her school and the charity.
2. Don’t mess around with a lot of small talk. She explained that they can pay a flat fee or on a per lap basis. To me, this is the most critical. Closing, without even having to ask. Assuming the sale. Now, obviously in a more complex sales environment, this may not work. But I think you get the point.
3. Not afraid to ask for help. When Lilly was faced with a question by a prospect she was not afraid to turn to a higher power for help. In this case, her old man standing a few feet behind her. Many sales people are afraid to look unknowledgeable or foolish in front of a prospective customer and are tempted to answer a question when they are not fully sure of the correct answer. There is nothing wrong with saying; “I will get back to you on that one” or “I do not want to tell you something that is not accurate, let me double check”. It is always better to ask, then to give inaccurate information.
There were a couple of new skills I tried to impress upon this future sales rockstar. They were;
1. Concentrate on the process of getting to your goal, and don’t obsess on just the goal. In this case there are prizes for the students and class that raise the most money. So when Lilly kept talking about winning the prizes I told her to go and ring more doorbells. When she put up a bit of fight due to her timidness (like most 7 year old girls) I had to remind her that was the only way to achieve her goal. Every doorbell she rang got her closer to her goal. Talk to more people, raise more money, win the contest. Process over goal fixation.
2. If you do not ask you do not get. I think that is self expanitory.
3. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. In a kid-friendly way, don’t half-a** it.
So the next time you want to see why selling is really a human transaction, watch your child. Or any child for that fact. You will quickly realize to sell, is to be human.
Good Luck and Good Selling!