The Depot Dispatch
by Ed Kalaher
January 31st, 2020

Should You Negotiate Like a Child?

I was thinking about the saying—children are the best negotiators.

Is that really true? And if so, then why?

I think part of the answer is that children are laser-focused, in the moment, on what they want.  Think about it. They want that piece of candy and they will absolutely wear you down to get it. They’ll ask 100 times if that’s what it takes. And they’ll take 99 “no’s” along the way.

Great lesson for sales, right? Not so fast.

Here’s the problem. Children are fantastic “closers.”

But if you’re a small business leader, you can’t just focus on the transaction in front of you. You’ve got to be thinking of your company reputation, online reviews, the lifetime value of every customer; repeat purchases, referrals, word of mouth advertising.

So, how do you balance the need to close that transaction (with the focus of a child), with the simultaneous need to create a wonderful customer experience? One that will create a lifelong relationship?

It seems to me that the answer lies in your intention.

Is your intention to simply sell that prospect, or is it to serve them?

To find a balance between doing everything it takes to close that deal and also ensuring that you are creating a lifelong relationship with your customer, your intention must be to serve.

But to me, this is the real key: your intention to serve must be sincere.

Without authenticity, you have nothing. Your customers (and your employees, and your vendors, and your peers) will see right through you if you are not your authentic self.

Without the genuine desire built inside of you to help others with your product or service—you might be a good closer, but your business will never truly succeed.

Children are great closers, but they aren’t yet capable of seeing the path ahead.

Children can sell, but adults must serve. At least, if they want to find long-term, meaningful success.

Children SELL. Salespeople SELL. Leaders … SERVE.

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  1. Very well said Ed. We must serve our customers sincerely and develop long term partnerships. The actual products we provide are just one component of the overall marketing program that is developed to help our customers succeed. If they succeed we succeed!

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