My five-year-old daughter, C, is an expert on sales and marketing.
If you’re a parent, you probably know what I’m talking about. Whether from the point of view of the customer or the marketer, young kids just seem to know what works and what doesn’t. And they’re not afraid to let the adults in their life know about it.
Here are five useful lessons my daughter’s taught me about sales and marketing:
1. Deliver On Your Promise
Recently, C and I went on a daddy/daughter day trip to a nearby amusement park. When we stopped for a restroom break, she asked for a snack. Ever-concerned about proper nutrition, I said, “Ok, but no sweets now, before lunch.”
She responded, “Can I have some on our way back home?” (Negotiation skills!) I said, “Ok, we can get the sweets now, but you can only eat them on our drive back.” Deal.
After a full afternoon of playing on the beach with a friend, and going on a bunch of rides, she climbed into the backseat of the car.
Before she could buckle-up, she asked, “Daddy, can I have my sweets now?” Doh! Daddy had totally forgotten about the sweets (maybe because he’d made sure to keep them hidden in the paper bag). “Sure, C, here. You can have them while drive back home.”
Marketing Tip: When you make a promise to your customers, you better deliver. They won’t forget it. So, you better not either.
2. Make a Direct Call to Action
Just before walking to the parking lot, C’s friend reminded her Mom that she’d promised her they’d play an arcade game before they left. (See, it’s not just my kid!) So we all walked back to where the games were. She played, she won a prize. We were all happy for her.
After walking back to the parking lot entrance, C says, “Daddy, I want to play an arcade game, too.” I didn’t make that promise. Not to mention, as I said to her, “C, we just came from there. I really don’t feel like walking all the way back.”
Then, she game me that look. It’s hard to describe. But, I’m sure other parents know that look. It communicates something like, “We’re not leaving here until I play an arcade game.”
So, we walked all the way back to the same arcade game her friend played. C played, she won a prize. Everyone was happy. Probably no one more than her Daddy.
Marketing Tip: Stand 100% behind your call to action. Be confident that the value to your customer is worth the cost (in terms of money, time, any perceived inconvenience). Don’t apologize for your pitch.
3. Don’t Oversell or Hype Your Claims
Wake up time can be a tug-of-war at our house. Mommy and Daddy say it’s time to get up for school or camp. C wants to sleep longer.
The other morning, I was getting a bit frustrated with C not heeding my repeated requests to get up, so I said, “C, I’ve asked you five times now to get out of bed and you’re still lying there. It’s time to get up right now.”
C: “No, Daddy, you only asked me three times.”
Uhh. Ok. Can’t recall what I said after that. But we both knew she’d scored a point. I had only asked her three times.
Marketing Tip: Stretching the facts even a little bit doesn’t work. Your customers will not respond if you’re overstating your case. Stick to the facts. That should be compelling enough.
4. Give Your Prospects Room to Choose
The afternoon of C’s first performance in a school play, Mommy and Daddy decided to take her out to her favorite ice cream shop for a treat. There were a few things to do before leaving for the performance, but we weren’t rushed. Yet.
Standing in front of the freezer filled with ice cream, the sometimes-overbearing Daddy says, “Why don’t you just get a chocolate cone?” (Her favorite.)
C’s slightly annoyed response: “Daddy, let me choose.”
After sampling coconut (and not liking it), C settled on a cone with one scoop of chocolate, one vanilla.
In her world, the difference wasn’t the scoop of vanilla. It was that it was her choice, not Daddy’s.
Marketing Tip: As a marketer, your job is to provide a powerful context for your prospects. Give them all the information, lead them to the decision point. Then, back off. Let them choose. They’ll own the decision. And appreciate you more afterwards.
5. Use Testimonials
This spring, scooters were all the rage for the “big kids” (the 10/11-year-olds) on our block. One day, C’s 5-year-old best friend/neighbor, E, got a scooter too. Of course, C wanted one herself, but she didn’t just start insisting that we get her one. Or pout about not having one.
Nope. She started telling us all the reasons that E loved having a scooter. It’s pretty! E gets to ride it with the big kids! She gets to ride it when she comes home from school! It’s so small, E’s Mom can put it in the car trunk on trips! E’s having lots of fun with it!
So, Mommy and Daddy asked E’s Mom about it. Yes, we were told, E really loves it for all of those reasons. And more.
Soon enough, yours truly was making a special trip to the nearby sporting goods store to pick up a scooter that was — you guessed it — exactly the same as E’s.
Marketing Tip: Know when to get out of the way and let other people’s experience and results sell the product.