Learned from a 5 Year Old

Lessons in Selling; Learned from a 5 Year Old

As someone who believes selling is a noble endeavour, and as a proud dad, I was thrilled when my boys decided to get out on the street and try selling their art this past week. They were fired up and excited to have someone walk by, love their art, and buy it on the spot. Their enthusiasm quickly faded however, as they realized this was going to be tougher than they thought. This whole “selling” thing was a lot of work and not as quick as you’d think. To their credit, they stuck with it. I watched from the window and encouraged them. Finally, I asked if I could give them a few ideas to possibly give them more success. They said, sure dad!

They yelled, they pointed, they made signs, they held up their pictures high for all to see. People looked from a distance, they honked, they complimented the artists, they asked about the price. It was heart warming and interesting to see.

Here are some of the things I learned from my boys this week about selling. Which ones resonate with you?

  1. Persistent Smiles are Critical – The boys stood out there for hours working to sell their art. The effort and persistence when saying, “going back out to sell our art some more!” was more than many people will attempt. They also ran back out each day with a smile and made it clear they were enjoying this new game of sales. Are you as persistent and smiling about your product or service today?
  2. Make it Clear What You’re Selling – Initially the boys stood outside with their art held up and expected people to know what they were offering or to understand it was for sale. We created signs that said, “Art for Sale” that conveyed the message fast and helped the pedestrian market understand the offer that was being made.
  3. Be Bold – Yell it Out! – Standing quietly hoping someone would talk to them didn’t work. The boys had to yell out to people, \”Art for Sale!” They held their artwork up to show passing cars, they yelled at people walking their dogs. AND people responded.
  4. Don’t Be Hurt When Everyone Doesn’t Buy – My five-year-old took every failed interaction to sell his art as a personal rejection. He thought the art was poor or people didn’t like him. We rallied to let him know, sometimes people who were out walking weren’t ready to buy art. Or sometimes they loved it but didn’t have their wallet. Or maybe they’d be more interested in talking after COVID19. Are you personally upset or offended when people don’t buy from you?
  5. Be Ready to Transact – The boys made offers on their art, “$1 for mine,”  \”$2 for mine!” But people didn’t have cash. We quickly offered to take credit cards. We offered to do a trade. We offered to have them e-transfer money later. The boys learned fast that you can’t be stuck to your preferred way to transact (cash) and you need to adjust to how the market can pay.
  6. Support Your Team–Sell as a Team – The boys quickly realized that saying, “No, look at my picture” and fighting for visibility and attention turned people off. As they came around to working together, giving the customer the chance to see all the art and to decide for themselves, things worked better. Are you working with your team to show the client all the options available to them? Do you ever work with suppliers and vendors to offer more options?
  7. Have Fun Until It Isn’t and Stop – Their energy and enthusiasm carried the boys a long way and kept them pitching and presenting for hours. But, when that energy wore off, I encouraged them to take a break and go back at it later. They returned the next day, all fired up and ready to sell their art again. All of us need to remember that selling and representing our services and products can become a little draining. Step away for a break or for a day so you can come back to it with energy and enthusiasm.

When you look at selling from the perspective of a child, it gives a fresh look at where adults sometimes get lost. How are you positioning yourself these days? Are you still smiling? Are you trying to get noticed? Are you adapting to new ways of doing business? Are you working as a team?

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About The Author

Marty Park is an expert in entrepreneurship, business performance and living your best life. As a life-long entrepreneur Marty has founded 13 companies including Evolve Business Group, a coaching and training company that helps entrepreneurs, executives and their teams achieve dramatic business goals.

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