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Surprising Lessons Salespeople Can Learn From 3-Year-Olds

Surprising Lessons Salespeople Can Learn From 3-Year-Olds

Each year, we celebrate Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, a day in April when we typically make our way into the office with our kids in tow. We might have story time, make some crafts, have some snacks, and show the kids around the office. But this year looks a little different.

Because many companies — including Influence & Co. — have gone fully remote and schools have been closed due to COVID-19, every day has been Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Parents across the globe are balancing work tasks, childcare, and even homeschooling simultaneously, and kids are getting a glimpse into what exactly their parents do for a living.

But this new normal got us thinking: Maybe this Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day shouldn't be about us showing our kids what we do. Maybe there are qualities in our kids that can help us improve ourselves. That's why we held a virtual show-and-tell for the kiddos of Influence & Co. to let them share something they're passionate about with a captive audience, whether it was artwork they're proud of, a song on the flute, or even Guardians of the Galaxy figurines.

And after some reflection and observation, I'm realizing that our kids can teach us a thing or two about how to get back to basics and be a really great salesperson.

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3-Year-Olds: An Unexpected Source of Sales Wisdom

My wife, Kira, and I have two sons: Clark and Bryce. Bryce is the 3-year-old big brother. Bryce has seen me in my home office enough that he'll say he's "going to work" sometimes. He'll grab one of my old laptop bags, stuff his toy laptop and Fisher-Price telephone inside, and venture into his "office" to "take calls" while "working on the computer." He wants to be like his dad.

sales lessons from a 3-year-old

Just hanging out with Bryce has reminded me of a few important sales basics. No matter what role you are in, you are in sales — selling your idea, selling your product, selling your point of view. Toddlers are a great reminder of how to communicate that sales message. Here are a few nuggets of sales wisdom I've been reminded of by my own 3-year-old:

1. They are not afraid to ask, "Why?"

Bryce has officially entered the "Why?" phase. If you have ever met a toddler, you know what I'm talking about. I'm pretty sure I've heard the question "Why?" about a thousand times within the past 24 hours. And while it can be draining, I love it.

I love Bryce's curiosity and the fact that 3-year-olds don't take any knowledge for granted. Bryce has a strong desire to learn. He genuinely wants to figure out how the world works, and he won't accept a half-hearted explanation. He's not afraid to ask questions to help him dig deep and really understand.

This drive to get to the real crux of an issue is an important quality for any salesperson. As Simon Sinek (and Bryce) would say, "Start with why."

2. They are honest and genuine.

Young kids are truth-tellers — sometimes comically so. For example, Bryce recently saw that his aunt was wearing designer jeans with holes in them. Because he was genuinely trying to help her, he said: "Oh, no! Did you know you have holes in your jeans? You can get new ones."

Transparency is key to building authentic relationships with anyone — including potential clients. Taking an honest look at how (or even if) your business can help potential clients with their pain points and then communicating that in a genuine and passionate way can help you form beneficial relationships with leads — and hopefully build enough trust and encourage them to sign on as clients.

3. They are competitive, but they're also team players.

Bryce has really started to understand competition — especially with his younger brother. For example, we had a quarantine Easter egg hunt in our backyard this year, and Bryce just had to run to every egg before Clark. He knew there were 20 eggs total, and he had to sprint to his 10.

Once he had achieved his goal, he started to (mostly) help his brother. He wanted the team to find its goal of all 20 and went the extra mile to pitch in.

Successful sales teams have a similar dynamic. While beating your individual quota and striving to be No. 1 is competitive in nature, members of successful teams make one another better in that pursuit of greatness. Coaching one another on what is working and sharing your lessons learned will lift all boats.

When it comes to sales skills, 3-year-olds can be an unexpected source of sales inspiration. With their unashamed pursuit of knowledge, their confidence in their full transparency, and their competitive team mentality, 3-year-olds can be a source of wisdom for any salesperson, from newcomers all the way up to seasoned pros.

Are you looking for more ways to keep your youngest sales associates engaged while you're all spending more time at home? Influence & Co. created a free downloadable coloring page that your kids (and you) will love.

Download Influence & Co.'s coloring page

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About Matt Kamp

I'm a senior VP at Influence & Co. I am a lover of entrepreneurship, learning, and making a difference. I’m a hopeless optimist of the St. Louis Rams.

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