Girl: “Daddy, can I have ten dollars?”
Girl: “Then can I have five dollars?”
Girl: “How about three dollars?”
Girl: “Two dollars?”
Girl: “Daddy, can I have one dollar?”
Girl: “When I grow up, I'm going to be a salesperson.”
Father: “Why on earth would you want to be a sales person?”
Girl: “Because I'm so used to being told ‘no' all the time, I might as well get paid for it!”
I recently came across a column written by the publisher of a well known success-oriented magazine, and I was very surprised and disappointed by what I read. Here is a short excerpt from his column:
“Children are some of the most effective salespeople there are. A child who wants ice cream or a toy in a grocery store aisle will apply every selling skill in the book, with relentless persistence, until he or she closes the sale. Children know how to overcome objections, push through stall tactics, handle rejection, seek the higher authority, not take no for an answer and continue to ask for the order until the deal is sealed.”
On the surface, the above statements may seem logical, and the argument presented by these statements, that children might make good examples for salespeople to emulate, seems to be a strong one. But is this really the case?
I believe that the column I've referenced here demonstrates what's WRONG with the sales profession today, and a quick overview of why this is will greatly benefit any salesperson who takes a moment to give it a little thought.
I'm sure you had no trouble envisioning a child battling with their parent as you read the excerpt above. We've probably all seen it, or experienced it as parents ourselves or as children when we were young.
But the idea that a childish battle with a parent represents a good example to salespeople simply reinforces the negative stereotypes of the typical salesperson which have harmed the reputation of our profession and made our jobs so much more difficult than they need to be.
Notice how the writer extols the childish traits of relentless persistence and not taking ‘no' for an answer. We know that not every prospect is a potential buyer, so if you think that utilizing these tactics shows good sales form, just exactly how much of your time, effort, energy and money do you wish to invest in attempting to sell a non-buyer?
I'm sure your answer is ‘none' or perhaps ‘as little as necessary'.
A simple application of the reasons for ‘why people buy' can cut right through to the heart of my point.
In the example above the question you have to ask yourself is, “Why would the parent give in and buy?”
There are really only two reasons in this scenario. One reason would be due to the love that parent has, and the desire to make their child happy. The other reason would be to simply shut the kid up so the parent can get on with their shopping.
So let's apply these reasons for buying to YOUR prospects.
How many of your prospects have ever loved you so much that they were willing to spend their money just because they wanted to make you happy?
So this leaves the other reason for ‘giving in' and buying, because the prospect just wants to make the salesperson go away. The problem with this reason is that once the salesperson is gone, the reason for buying no longer exists. ‘Buyers remorse' sets in, and the prospect is likely to cancel the order.
In summary, it may be true that children are effective salespeople when it comes to selling TO THEIR PARENTS, but the idea that an immature child is a good example for a professional salesperson is absurd and destructive to any salesperson who buys into that concept.
Nearly 25 years ago, when I discovered the secret of No Objection Selling and started taking ‘no' for an answer, I went from failure to success in selling almost overnight. The ironic part is that I learned this concept from the man who was, at that time, the publisher of the very magazine whose current publisher wrote the article I referenced here.