Sales 101 – Lessons from a 3 year old

I travel internationally and teach sales and service to thousands. One of the key themes I teach about is the art of sales. My three year old sweetheart, Elizabeth, has evidently been paying close attention — or it just comes naturally.

My baby girl

A recent conversation between Tina (my wife, Ellie’s mother) and Ellie went something like this:

“Mommy, what yours favorite ice keem is?”

“I like Breyers Vanilla Bean, Sweetie.”

“Me likes it too, Mommy.”

“That’s nice, Ellie.”

“You want to have some ice keem, Mommy?”

Sales 101, lesson 1: Always start with your customers wants and needs. How is it that I have to travel to all ends of the earth to teach this to grown ups, when a three year old just inherently understands it?

Some other keys to be gleaned from this brief interaction:

  • Don’t persuade, uncover! Instead of hard selling try to uncover your client’s wants/needs and they’ll be much more willing to buy.
  • Common interests must be sincere. You can’t fake interest in your client. If your really interested, it will be obvious.
  • Don’t just go for the kill! Spending time with your client will invariably surface real issues.
  • Stop selling. When you stop focusing on your own need to sell, you’ll find out that you’re just matching your products and services to their wants/needs.

The burning question you’re all still faced with: Did Ellie get the ice keem? Well, Tina wasn’t born yesterday! No, she did not get ice keem (at least not until after lunch) and you can bet that she has since adapted her approach to increase her odds of closing the deal.  Hmmm. Maybe we just stumbled onto Lesson 2…

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