My toddler is the fiercest CEO I've ever pitched to. He can cut through the clutter faster than a well maintained chainsaw in the hands of a zombie apocalypse survivor.
If I'm trying to cajole him into doing something, he doesn't want to hear a weak sales pitch. There has to be a detailed walkthrough of my grand plans, and objection handling throughout, just like a cold call to someone who hates your guts the moment you've opened your mouth.
I've started to take some of the tactics I've learnt in a decade of working in sales, and applying them at home. Who knows, maybe you'll find them helpful too.
Lesson one - features and benefits
One of the key things any sales textbook will tell you, is, "Features tell, but benefits sell."
Apple understood this when they released the iPod. MP3 players weren't new, but they needed to find a way of marketing it in a clever way. They nailed it by talking not about the storage size in terms of Gigabytes, but what this actually meant to us - 1,000 songs in your pocket. The tangible benefit.
The next time your pet imp is refusing the delicious meal you've prepared, and you're bribing your way to a faster bedtime with promises of chocolate and so on, think about it. What would Apple do?
They might say, "That chicken has protein in it, which will help you to become bigger and more muscular, so you can jump higher and run faster."
Lesson two - the art of pressure
The other classic tactic of adding in time pressure and 'fear of losing out' helps to close a sale. My esteemed fictional associate, the 'Naughty Man' helps with this. He's always lurking nearby, ready to slap a ticket on the car if we don't get into it on time.
Amazingly, this one actually works, but maybe that's because he seems to revere the guy like he's a dustbin man, or Father Christmas.
Lesson three - the paradox of choice
A Harvard study found that giving too many options can cause decision paralysis, and result in less product sales. It recommended that only one choice is given, and then customers can either choose yes or no.
These Harvard types clearly haven't tested this theory on an threenager furiously planking in a car park, but there's some truth to it. I've defused many a situation by offering two items of clothing in a silly voice and it often forced a decision, even when he had already refused them.
Next level - would a toddler buy it?
Everybody knows that toddlers can be the most difficult stakeholders on the planet, so why not try these strategies out, and you can even take them into work! The next time you're preparing a pitch to a cantankerous manager, or marketing a product, just ask yourself one question. Would a toddler buy it?
What are the best tactics you use at home to get buy-in and close deals with your kids? I'm still learning how to do this parenting thing, so I'd love to know.
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