What a 12-Year Old Boy Taught Me About Business
On a warm November afternoon, my doorbell rang.
As I glanced out of my upstairs window, I saw a young boy. He teeth were gleaming with pride as he held a cardboard box that was slightly bigger than he could handle.
"How are you doing today, sir? Would you like some candy?" were his first words.
I had to end my phone call with my mother to talk to this young man. He seemed to have a lot of potential. I thought to myself, "Maybe I can teach him how to sell his candy." My eagerness grew as I recounted my first door-to-door sales experiences.
When I got downstairs, I was reminded of the simplicity of salesmanship. However, it was not me who did the teaching. In fact, here are 7 Fundamentals I Learned About Sales:
1. Enthusiasm: With a great smile, this young man dropped his box of candy to greet me at the door with a firm handshake. He proceeded to tell me about how beautiful my house was and never said a word about his candy until I asked. His resplendent smile and magnetizing attitude had me thinking about how I could reward this young man.
Any rookie salesperson can learn the art of enthusiasm. A simple smile, head nod, gesture, or voice inflection will do the job. This isn't hard at all. Show people you are interested in them and they will most definitely be interested in you. All you need is child-like enthusiasm. Great sales-people are always enthusiastic.
It's your own fault how your face looks after age 25.
2. Identification: As I looked through his box of candy, he looked into my house and let out a big gasp, "Wow sir, you have a really big house! What do you do? I want to be like you when I grow up!" Of course, I had to tell him. I showed him my YouTube channel and started to give him some sales lessons.
Not only did he listen with great interest, he also asked questions. He told me that he wanted to learn from me and asked what he could do to get better. I took two minutes to explain the value of reading and even signed a copy of my two books. He was very thankful and expressed his love of learning. It was easy to connect with him because of his shared interest.
Everyone can identify with anyone. -Daniel Ally
3. Product Knowledge: As I examined his candy, he started to describe his products with perfection. Even though I saw the Gummy Bears at my first glance, I was also interested in chocolate, sweet peanuts, and other candied items for my employees. He gave me all the details of his products and answered my questions before I even asked them! He even told me which were his favorites, which made me more interested.
No matter what you're selling, you must know your product or service. Servers must know their menus and real estate agents must know their neighborhoods. They are able to beat objections because they believe in their product. Successful salespeople also have a great understanding about meeting their clients' needs in the best way possible.
All you need in business is a product to sell and a story to tell.
4. Patience and Persistence: When I asked him how his sales were going, he admitted that it was a tough day. "Last week, I sold 25 boxes by this time; This week, it's only 5. I know that today will be better." I had to admire his positive courage. This man was pushing and was ready to make more sales despite his numbers.
Many people lose their enthusiasm along the way when they fail to reach their quotas. However, the true winners are the ones who really believe in themselves. They affirm their past successes and persist to make changes. They never give up and they keep on trying until they make it happen. They remain patient. Patience and persistence are the signs of great salespeople.
Your standard of living--your income--is a direct reflection of your ability to sell.
5. Big Goals: My young friend told me that the proceeds of his sales were going to disadvantaged youth. Since I could greatly relate to the urban community, I began to mentally grab my wallet. Furthermore, he said that if he reached 25 sales today, he would be able to go to Six Flags, which is an astonishing amusement park. Because of this goal, he was motivated to keep going. He knew what he wanted.
In order to keep on going, you need big goals. Many salespeople settle for small goals. They want to just survive instead of thrive. These people settle for mediocrity. They want to sell one car a day or one house a month. Go for something big. Aim to double your results in the short-term by putting in the extra hours. Multiply your numbers in the long -term. There will always be a way to do it BIG!
Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk.
- J. C. Penney
6. Closing the Sale: I was ready to make the purchase, but I told him that I didn't have small bills. "That's okay, we can take checks too. Can you write one out to XYZ Fundraiser?" Not only did he show flexibility, he also closed the sale immediately. How could I say no? He did his job and now he was asking me to buy.
Closing the sale is easy after you make a good presentation. However, most people forget to take this major step. They often battle in their mind and worry about whether the prospect is ready or not. The prospect is always ready if you ask. Be sure to ask for more sales. It's the most important step in the selling process.
Bonus: Follow-Up: Could you imagine how great it would be if this 12-year old wrote me a thank-you card? What if he called to ask if I enjoyed my candy? I'll be truly amazed if this happens. Remember, the fortune is in the follow-up. Following up is key to making many more sales.
There's always a way to get better. Most people can stick with something for 2-3 months. Some can stick with it for 2-3 years. But few can stick with it for the rest of their lives until they make it big. Always give it your all and stick to the fundamentals.
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