“I have a new catalog, and you have to buy something from it,” said 10 year old Paula Kearney. Nothing like asking for the sale in the first two seconds of the conversation.
I sat at our weekly family dinner (a name we’ve given the Sunday evening meal for extended family of close friends) with about eight other people, including Paula’s parents, Mitchell and Connie.
“I didn’t bring any money with me.” I countered.
“Very funny,” she said with that sarcastic kid tone (and folded arms for effect). Good close, I thought. Now I have to buy something.
Can you imagine your customer saying to you, “We spent our whole budget,” and you responding, “Very funny!” Hey, it worked on me. Try it. It probably beats the method you’re using now.
So, I began perusing the catalog and, rats I found two things I liked. But, like any prospect, I kept asking questions about several of the products and their delivery. Luckily (or shrewdly) Paula brought her product knowledge expert with her (her mother), who kept whispering the correct answers in Paula’s ear as I asked her stumper questions. Well, Paula made the sale. I bought $20.00 worth of stuff from the catalog.
I tried to think back to when I was a kid. How did I close the sale? What strategies did I use?
Remember when you wanted that ice cream cone, or that candy bar, or to go to that movie, or that t-shirt at the beach? How did you make that sale? Even better remember what you were willing to do to get it? Most of you were willing to be beaten to get your way. But now that you’ve entered the “business card” period of your life, it seems that your tenacity level has subsided somewhat.
So, as you go out to face your toughest prospect this week, you might bring to mind that which worked for you as a kid especially if the adult closes you’re trying aren’t working too well.
Here’s a few strategies and techniques that will get you closing like a kid in no time:
Begging: one long Pleeeeeease! Or a series of short ones: Plee Plee Plee Pleeeeese! (Begging has an evil twin Incessant begging. Hey wait a minute, you’re still using that one.)
Making promises: “I’ll be your best friend!” is probably the best known of this variety from kid to kid, and the teenage version usually focuses around promising to be good, clean a room, or do a dish. As you go up in age, the promises go up intrinsically.
Whining: Maahaaaaah! The extended extra singsong kind of whine is the most effective.
Overcoming objections by blaming others: “I cleaned my room, she’s the one who didn’t. (get a testimonial here) You can ask Billy BILLY!!!”
Get someone else’s mom to close: “Really, Jeffrey’s no problem, we’d love to take him to the…”
Ask high, settle for less: (which is what you wanted anyway) Ask for twenty dollars when you only want five.
Employ guilt: You owe me. You promised. (then throw in the extra measure) ‘Member? You promised!
Act innocent, cute, or extra polite: A noticeable departure from the norm to get positive attention and get that sought after, “Well, OK”.
Absentee approval: Telling one parent (partner) that the other one said, “It was OK with her if it was OK with you.” (for effect you can add another close on top of this one for added strength like Pleeeeeease)
Start to cry: This one is a departure for the mature salesperson, but don’t discount its power.
Wake up and smell the poptarts: These are effective closes because they’re real. How real are your closing tactics? If you think this list is far fetched consider the closing rate of children now look at your closing rate. See what I mean?
Try combo closes: Adding two or three of these closes together makes for a more compelling solicitation.
WARNING: Some kid stuff has a reverse effect. Overzealous closing tactics like foot stomping, wall hitting, door slamming, stuff kicking, and the tried and true fit throwing, usually get the punishment rather than the prize.
An interesting thing about kids closing, is that they always seem to be able to create a sense of urgency one of the biggest problems of their adult counterparts. They have an understanding for people, and play on their weaknesses.
Persistence is the biggest lesson I’ve learned from kids. But to get anything from “kids closing,” the key is to think like a kid then translate that process into “adult.”
Kids are having fun. Are you? Kids also smile and say “thank you” to keep the relationship going. Do you? And kids take risks. You can learn a lot about sales from a kid.
If you’d like to see this in action, you’re all invited to family dinner this Sunday. When you get there, be careful of the children with catalogs.
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