So, this weekend, my ten year old daughter decides to set up a lemonade stand at the front of the house as her first commercial enterprise.
To be fair, she’s been nagging me to help her do it for over a year – since she saw that bank advert with a similar age girl doing the same thing.
I only realise now, that right up until the point she set up her tiny table and chair (sandwiched between her hand-drawn poster and little plastic till) – that I was acting like your typical “don’t go into business” advisor.
I recognised it, because I heard so many myself before I set up my first company.
“Are you sure you want to do this? What happens if no one comes? You might end up looking stupid? Is what you make really good enough for someone else’s money?”
But, like all good entrepreneurs and pioneers, she appears to be able to phase all that nonsense out, and crack on with what she knows to be right.
Here are a couple of things that a ten year old girl selling home-made lemonade could teach a few salespeople I’ve met along the way.
1. She sat down and worked out her USP
“So why is anybody going to be buy this, honey?”
“Why wouldn’t they?”
“Well, there’s a lot of competition, we live not far from the local pub and a can of fizzy drink from the shop is only 50p – why would they stop and buy yours?”
So she sat and she thought about it – then redesigned her poster to explain why it was worth stopping and giving her your money – in fact she had five reasons why her Lemonade was worth stopping for.
Question: What are the 5 reasons people buy your product or service instead of the competitions?
2. She knew why it was worth the money
So – it would have been really easy, to spend £10 on ingredients and plastic cups and then just let her play shop – but she wanted to do this properly.
We put all the costs down on paper, she realised what price we couldn’t go below and why, and we justified it with facts.
Question: When someone raises a price objection do you feel uneasy, mixed with the need to knock a little off, or can you justify the value and the cost?
3. She was ready for objections
We sat down together – and I was an awkward customer – I gave her every reason I could think of why I wouldn’t buy lemonade off the side of the road, from a 10 year old girl.
We then came up with conversation pieces that overcame drawbacks, misunderstandings and scepticism.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud.
Question: What 5 objections do you regularly get? Have you sat down and worked out how to overcome each one so they’re no longer a problem?
4. She was passionate about the work
Two days she sat out there.
She wanted to be out there, setting up her stand straight after breakfast – we had trouble getting her in for lunch or dinner.
She chatted, she poured, she went and got complimentary bowls of water for customers with dogs.
Admittedly, it seemed to come quite naturally to her – but she wasn’t daunted by anything or anyone, intelligently delegated most of the grunt work to me (concentrating on the actions that would bring in the most money) and she really, really enjoyed it.
Question: When was the last time you sprang out of bed and went looking for new customers? If those who work with you were asked, what would they say to the question – does that salesperson spend most of their time on actions that only achieve their goal?
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Chris Murray is founder and Managing Director of Varda Kreuz Training, a company created to deliver sales, management and customer service training that really works – not in theory and not just sometimes – training that really works.
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