Sometimes for business’ sake, I wish I was a kid again. When you’re a kid, you have no fear to speak your mind or ask stupid questions. If you’re anything like the little girl who knocked on my door this weekend, you’d be a damn good cold-caller. Let me give you a little background first.
Brogan says “explain things like you’re talking to a 6-year-old”
I was in Minnesota all week looking after my brother’s 7-year-old son, three dogs, and house while he and his wife co-vacationed in Hawaii with my parents as a gift for their 50th anniversary. You think running a solopreneurship is hard? Let me tell you, I had a helluva week playing super nanny for a bunch of little ones!
Though I wasn’t technically unplugged from work (I have the flexibility to work anywhere I have Internet), I definitely laid low from work so I could focus on the kiddos. By the time Monday had turned into Friday, I was ready to rip my hair out of my head.Then something peculiar happened Saturday morning that really made my week.
The doorbell rang the first time. It was a sales man. Some lawn guy was in the neighborhood prospecting for business. I found it a little awkward that he stood about 20 feet away from the door as he started a conversation with me. He began asking me what my plans were for lawn care this summer without finding out who I was to begin with. I had to cut him off. I told him I was babysitting. That my brother was the decision maker and wasn’t home. Lawn guy stopped asking questions and quickly handed me his brochure. Scurrying off with the friendliest smile.
I went back to the couch where I was watching some show on TLC (’cause I’m a nerd like that) and hung lawn guy’s door ad on the closet doorknob for my brother. Nice guy, but didn’t bother to read his leave-behind.
The doorbell rang again about a half an hour later.
This time, it was a little girl. About my nephew’s age, roughly 6 or 7 years old. She was standing on the front porch while her posse (about 4 other little girls) stood behind her a few feet away.
Me: “Hi, may I help you?”
Girl: “I was wondering if you want any of these?” [lifting up her Halloween trick-or-treating pail revealing rocks and twigs]
Me: [pretending to be genuinely interested] “Wow. Look at what you have in there!”
Girl: “Do you want some? You can have any of them.”
Me: “Are you selling these?”
Me: “How much?”
Girl: “You can have one for a dollar. Do you want some?”
Me: “Uhm. Let me see if I have a dollar, okay? Hold on, I’ll be right back.” [goes hunting for change in purse and returns with 4 quarters]
Me: “I will buy one. Here’s one dollar in coins.”
Girl: “Thanks, here you can have this one.”
Friend of Girl: “Wow, you are really good. You made a lot of money today!”
Me: [peaking into the girl’s money jar quickly counting at least 5-7 bucks] “Thank you girls!”
I Got Schooled By a 6-Year-Old
I thought it was hilarious what happened so I tweeted about how I got schooled by a little entrepreneur-to-be. Someone in my network responded:
Having been in corporate sales the majority of my adult career, I knew this was a million dollar question I just had to reflect on for a good answer. These three lessons in the art and science of selling resurfaced for me:
1. Exude confidence. The lawn guy looked apprehensive even though he was friendly. The little girl was fierce!
2. People buy from you because they like you and believe in you. Lawn guy was super nice, but that girl knew exactly what she wanted and believed in her product. Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if she took the rocks and twigs out of my brother’s yard on the way to our porch! It didn’t matter. She still owned them like they were valuable gems I couldn’t get anywhere else!
3. ASK for the sale! This is not to be taken literally for all businesses, however. In service businesses, your cold-calling objective would be to “ask for the appointment.” Lawn guy could have probed for more answers from me. He could have tried to determine when he could come back to talk to my brother. The little girl? Hook, line, and sinker!
So there you have it folks. I have no shame that I got schooled. I actually tried hunting that girl down later to recruit her for sales. Okay, just kidding.