All I want for Christmas…

When it comes to getting what they want from Santa, children are the ultimate sales professionals. Grown-ups should pay attention if they want their wishes to come true next year.

Think big, don’t over-think.

Ask anyone under the age of 10 what they want for Christmas and, without hesitation, they’ll tell you. They don’t know what financial pressures mum and dad may be under, or how busy Santa’s workshop is this time of year. All they know is what they really want and often that’s all they need to know to get it.

In the grown-up world, however, we think differently. We anticipate, and often make up, reasons why our wishes will not be granted and so don’t even ask for what we really want. To avoid this most limiting of behaviours, think as a child would. Aim big and ask.

Have tiered objectives

Whilst there is always a ‘star’ present at the top of any child’s list, it’s never the only thing they’re hoping for, and it’s a poor child that ends up with nothing at all come Christmas morning. Wishes start big and usually descend in scale, price and scarcity – thus making it a dead-cert that little Johnny and Janey get at least one of the things they wanted.

Having a list of tiered objectives is essential for sales success and long-term business development. The main thing is always the main thing, but it should never be the only thing on your agenda. If now is not the right time to achieve your main aim, how about another opportunity to talk about it in the future? Or, how about an alternative solution, slightly downgraded from the one you’d really like to provide? What information do you need from the customer to help you do business in the future? Would a referral to another colleague or company be useful? You bet it would. So, be child-like not childish. Have a list of objectives to ensure you get something, even if it’s not the main thing, every time.

Plan early & communicate consistently

Just as there is no point presenting mum and dad with a surprise wish-list on Christmas Eve, there is no point asking your customer for something out of the blue. Yet, how many times do we pitch ideas or proposals to customers giving them little or no time to do what they need to do to say YES?

If you have a monthly, quarterly or annual target, why wait until just before the deadline to take the action you need to succeed?

Kids take time to plan and prepare for their deadline, leaving subtle (and not so subtle!) hints well in advance. What’s more, they communicate consistently so parents are left in no doubt what is required, where to get it and the repercussions in terms of disappointment if they don’t!

In the business world this is called persistence and focus and it’s something we were born with – sometimes we just need to rediscover it.  

So, whatever it is you would like to see under your commercial Christmas tree next year, take note of the principles used by the little persuaders in your life and start making your list today.

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