Sales Lessons from a Kindergartner
Do you remember the book, All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? In it, author Robert Fulghum recounts important life lessons from kindergarten like: play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, take a nap every afternoon, and say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Well, I recently came upon some sales reminders worth sharing from my favorite kindergartner, Lily Grace. Lily, my granddaughter, was spending the day with me because she was a little under the weather. Late morning, she proposed that we go out for lunch, “just to get out of the house”. This worked well because we also needed to get some dog treats for our Sheltie, Louis Renault (named for the deliciously corrupt Claude Rains character in Casablanca).
Here is where the salesmanship began. Finishing lunch, Lily proposed that we go to nearby Target for Louis’ treats. “That’s where my mom gets food for our dogs.” She got permission, by providing a highly credible source we both know and love: her mom, my daughter.
Once at Target with dog treats secured, Lily offered, “There is something else I’d like to show you.” She leveraged her successful recommendation on Target, to gain a deeper level of permission to show me a pair of shoes she had been eyeing.
Now at the footwear department in Target, she showed me the shoes she desired and appealed first to my, not her, practical buying criteria. “They are the perfect size”, she exclaimed. “Look”, she said, “there is room to grow!” Good salespeople always understand the buyer’s criteria and address them up front. Her presentation was enthusiastic and engaging.
Needless to say, Lily won the shoes. When her mom picked her up later that day, I learned that this was Lily’s third pitch on the shoes. She had previously failed with both her mom and her grand mom. This illustrates the most desirable, native talent in salespeople: persistence.
Here are the sales lessons Lily demonstrated:
1. Get permission using a credible reference
2. Leverage that permission
3. Understand and appeal to the buyer’s criteria
4. Make an enthusiastic presentation
5. Be persistent
This is not a comprehensive overview of what we need to do to succeed in sales. For that matter, Fulghum’s essays did not pretend to cover everything we need to do to live happy, fulfilling lives. Hopefully, though, they serve as fun reminders for both.
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