5 Lessons My 2 Year-Old Taught Me About Sales
How many times did you laugh today?
I remember reading a study stating that a child laughs an average of 400 times a day when we adults laugh an average of 25 times a day.
What causes our lives to be 16 times less fun when we grow to adulthood? The response can be explained by the way our brain is wired but as well by the way we were raised. To understand why we are wired this way, we need to go back a few thousand years ago to when we were cavemen.
We had an instinct and necessity to develop awareness in response to life-threatening risks. We still have this instinctive behaviour and this is why we often ignore the positive sides of our life and constantly focus on the negative events.
The other reason comes from our constant cultural exposure to negativity. A recent study in Child Development showed that 2 and 3-year-olds argue with their parents 20 to 25 times an hour! By the time we are 17, an average teenager has heard the words "No you can’t" over 150.000 times, versus 5000 "Yes you can". That is a ratio of 30 no’s for single yes!
We were all born with absolutely no fear of failure. The fear of failure is something we developed during our childhood. I love to take my then 2-year-old son Luca as an example to explain the evolution of our relationship to failure in life. My son learned to walk over a year ago.
When he was trying to walk and falling over and over, my wife and I were cheering and encouraging him after each fall.
Those encouragements were motivating him to try further and we were cheering him again and again.
The failure was accepted with joy and encouragement.
Babies actually learn how to walk by falling one step after another until they find the adequate balance and stability and eventually walk properly.
Unfortunately, the more we grow in life, the less we accept failure.
A few years after learning to walk, we enter the school system and our relationship to failure takes the opposite direction. If we get an E at an exam, our teachers and parents will blame us for the poor result. Unlike when we were trying to walk, our parents or teachers will not let us try over and over again until we succeed.
At this point in life, we start rejecting failure. The fear of failure left place for mental obstacles and limited beliefs. Those limited beliefs will progressively become the reflection of our life.
To understand the impact of limited beliefs in our daily life, let’s review the example of the fleas.
Fleas are known to be the best jumpers in the insect kingdom. Fleas are born with the natural ability to vertically jump up to 200 times their height (8 to 10 inches high). If you take fleas and place them in a 5-inch jar and close the lid, the fleas will try to escape and jump until they knock themselves on the lid.
After this, they will quickly adapt and jump at almost 5 inches just to avoid hitting the lid again. But something surprising happens when you remove the lid. The fleas will never be able to jump the height of the jar’s lid again.
Those limited beliefs and fear of failure apply in all areas of our life and especially in the field of selling.
We saw earlier in my son’s example that he had absolutely no fear of failing. So what lessons can we learn from a 2-year-old that we could apply to sales? I carefully analysed my son's ability to influence us in getting what he wants and decided to share those valuable lessons with you.
1) Identifying the right decision-maker
Depending on what he wants, Luca knows who the best person to ask is.
For certain things, like food, candies or a new toy, he will ask me as he knows he has a better chance of getting a yes. For other things like more playing time or doing special activities, he will ask for mom.
He clearly identifies the person with whom he has the highest chance of getting a yes. He knows that if you want to get the sale, you need to firstly identify the principal decision maker. He already put the best chances on his side by strategically choosing the person who will be the most favourable to give him a positive answer.
2) Using the power of non-verbal communication
Luca understands the importance of non-verbal communication.
He doesn’t just ask something verbally, he puts his whole body at work to get what he wants. Posture, gesture, smile, touch, look, facial expressions, etc. Body language has a huge importance in the negotiation process. He carries confidence, enthusiasm and even a bit of charm.
Did you know that a gentle touch between the customer’s shoulder and elbow increased a waiter’s tips by 114%?It is called the Magic Touch. A subtle touch near the elbow creates an immediate bond. Make sure to never touch a client or prospect on the shoulder. Touching someone on the shoulder is a sign of control.
Subtle touches have been proven to really help during the sales process, so make sure to do it and get closer to your customers.
3) Not taking "no" for an answer and asking over and over again
For him, the word ‘No’ doesn’t have the same meaning as any salesperson out there.
He knows that it sometimes takes over 10 No’s to get a yes and he is not afraid to ask over and over again. You might think he will get tired of asking, but he just keeps going over and over, he knows that persistency pays off.
Sales professionals take rejection too personally. Remember that the number of rejections you get is directly proportional to how successful you will become.
REJECTION = SUCCESS. Do not see rejection as a failure but as a step to becoming successful in sales.
«The day you start learning that even when you lose, you win, is the day you start your journey to greatness. »
Another major problem in sales is not following up properly. Let’s look at some numbers from the National Sales Executive association:
If you want to be part of the 20% of salespersons who make great sales, you need to accept that you will personally have to follow up with your clients enough times until you get the sale.
4) Starting with the end in mind
He starts negotiating already knowing that he will win.
He already imagines himself eating the Kinder egg or playing for a few extra minutes with his favourite toy. He has a clear vision and plan of action of what he wants to accomplish.
Alexander the Great was discussing with the general of an enemies' army prior a battle. The general, who knew that a battle against Alexander the Great's Army would create huge casualties tried to negotiate instead of starting a war. Alexander reportedly said:"Why should I negotiate for something that already belongs to me!”
The simplest way to start with the end in mind is to write down your goals.
Multiple studies have shown that the simple act of writing down your goals, whether personal, professional, financial, spiritual, etc, improves your ability to get results by 50%.
Another famous Harvard study was conducted to measure the importance of written goals. Researchers noticed that only 3 % of students were writing their goals down on paper. After 20 years, researchers found out that the 3 % who had set the goals had amassed a greater net worth than the rest of the class combined.
5) Using words that make a difference
Luca didn’t read ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ but already knows Dale Carnegie's advice that hearing the sound of our sweetest words have the highest effect on our ability to be influenced by others. He will call us by our names, Mommy or Papa.
When asking me for something, he will skillfully place a French word (I am from France) as he knows that I like when he speaks French. Instead of saying "Candies please" he will say “bonbons please"(French word for candy, or “Candies s’il te plait papa" (French words for please).
Pay attention to the words you use and always make sure to use the name of your prospects or clients as this is their favourite word in the world.
For instance, did you know that using “I think” when talking to male customers and “I feel” when talking to female customers has been proven to increase sales significantly?
One small difference in a word or two can make a huge difference in sales. Another good example, customers are more likely to buy beef that says 85% lean rather than 15% fat. It is the same beef, there is the same amount of fat in each package but the package that words it emphasising the 85% lean will have much higher sales compared to the 15% fat one.
So choose the right words and remember that you will more often lose a sale by a few words than by a few dollars.
I hope that you enjoyed this article. If you want to bring your boat sales to the next level, check The 30 Secrets to Boat Sales