Children as a group are possibly the best salespeople in the world. When a child decides he wants something he will try to get it at any cost and only give up when he realizes there isn’t a chance in hell of getting the wanted item. This is why they are so successful in their pursuits. It has nothing to do with mother nature making them oh-so cute and impossible to say no to.
I love watching kids, especially when I’m in a store to see how they go about getting what they want. Here’s what makes them so effective:
LACK OF FEAR
Children aren’t generally afraid to ask. They hear the word ‘no’ all the time but when they want something else they will ask. They’re willing to risk hearing ‘no’ because there is a chance that you might say ‘yes’.
QUICK RECOVERY FROM REJECTION
A kid can hear a very firm ‘no’, have a cry over it and yet five minutes later they are asking for something else, possibly even the same thing that was denied only five minutes before. When they come to ask for it again they usually have a new strategy.
Lots of adults get overly deflated by rejection; they wallow in it for way too long before sliding on to the next thing.
If your kid sees something she likes on TV she’ll ask for it even if the economy is going down the toilet. She doesn’t know about the economic situation and quite frankly, doesn’t care. She wants what she wants and she’ll fight for it.
I’m always saying this but I’ll say it again. News, ALL news, is designed to keep us scared, negative and constantly in fear. You don’t have to watch a news channel for 5 minutes before the next bit of negative news comes on: someone died, or a plane crashed, or war has broken out in [name country] or there’s a new natural disaster somewhere in the world.
It’s depressing and it has a long-term impact on your behaviour. For instance, when the recession started there was no end of bad financial news. It stopped many of us from taking risks such as starting a business.
The collective psyche of people tells them to save more and spend less. Spend more and save less has only one outcome: the economy contracts even further, people lose their jobs and you have a never-ending cycle of contraction.
For those that don’t immerse themselves in bad news, reject it and instead adapt their behaviour to make profit in a different way, the outcomes are different: in If You’re Not First You’re Last by Grant Cardone he says that when the economy is going down he ups his marketing spend and begins to take even more massive action because people’s default response is now ‘no’. You have to work harder to convince them to buy.
FOCUS ON THE GOAL
In that moment when a kid decides she wants something that becomes her sole focus. She will try one strategy after another to get that thing until she gets it. She doesn’t get distracted.
Kids learn early what works. For some parents / aunts / uncles crying and whining work so that’s what they will do. For me, if you cry or whine I feel nothing. I hate criers and whiners. It makes me not want to give them what they want even more. I was raised like that. My dad would send you outside if you started crying and I’m glad he did because I learnt how to justify my wants instead.
For kids that learn to argue their case and justify, the world is their oyster – most adults are amused by the stories kids can come up with to ensure they get what they want.
I was once out visiting my brother in Indiana and my 3-year old nephew decided he needed money. His dad said he didn’t have any and he immediately said, “But Ant [that’s how they say Aunt in ‘Merica] Heather has money!” We all laughed. He didn’t talk much at that age but he was obviously watching things closely.
CLOSING THE DEAL
When does a kid stop? When he’s tried everything and decided nothing is going to work this time around.
If we could keep a fraction of these sales skills into adulthood we would all be a lot more successful. Unfortunately though, before we reach the teen years we become socialized to behave ‘normal’ – we’re more fearful, we’re broken by rejection and we give up all too quickly.
If you can dig out your inner child, you’ll sell way better and enjoy an overall more wealthy life.
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Heather on Wealth
I enjoy helping people think through their personal finances and blog about that here. Join my personal finance community at The Money Spot™.