The past couple of months she wanted me to help her. Yet, helping her would take a few hours of "my time." She kept asking. She would write me notes. She would make signs and hold them up as I came home from the office.
It wasn't just one thing, but eventually, I decided to give her a shot. Finally, I relented.
Early the next Saturday morning, my daughter and I made brownies, cupcakes, and cookies. Then I jumped on a plane to attend a conference and she went to work.
She did much better than expected.
That evening, when she FaceTimed me, she was ecstatic. She told me that she went to the sports park and the soccer fields to sell her baked goods. She acquired 36 customers in just a couple of hours. She's now hooked and says she wants to do it every week.
When you're giving people something they want and getting something in return, that's a true partnership. That's value creation.
My daughter, in a very simple show of action and persistence, taught me these three lessons about sales:
1. When you want something, keep asking until you find a way to make it happen.
Often you will have to change approach, change your message, but eventually if what you are doing has value, you will find an audience. Is your "why" big enough to pursue when faced with rejection and lack of support, even by your father? (or best friend, or partner, or colleagues?)
No matter what I have sold in the past, no matter the industry whether it was durable goods, commodities, investments, or software -- every business transaction and sale required me to gain a commitment from the client to change. Until you ask for the change, that change will never happen. Once you ask, then you can get the commitment and provide the path forward.
2. Nothing beats action, nothing beats doing the work.
Growing up spending summers milking cows taught me one thing -- cows usually won't milk themselves. Your clients aren't going to come running to you unless you first build a system and reason for them to do so.
While tools, software, systems, and process might create shortcuts or needed hacks, they are not substitutes for effort and action. The only way to get work done is to do it. People respect effort and dedication. You always find better results when you are willing to do more. My daughter wanted to sell, so she put in the work.
When being sold to now, I always notice those who go the extra mile. Working with clients and partners, you want to be with people who do the work and then do more. Make sure it is you that is getting noticed by your clients and your sales will increase.
3. When you sell something, just go to where the people are, and give them what they want.
For some reason sporting events make people want to eat. She knew that and went to where hungry people were congregated and gave them what they wanted.
No matter how good your product or service is, you cannot sell it to clients who do not exist. If you are not near them (physically or virtually), they do not exist and neither do you. Specifically, you can only sell to those who you spend time around. And once you spend enough time with them, you will know exactly what they want.
From experience selling complex solutions, often customers don't know what they want. They don't know what they need. That is the role of a professional sales person, to help them get to where they want to go, even if they do not know where that is at the start of the journey.
Those who sell always find ways to help. Those who sell can develop ways to create value for others.
I asked her what she is going to do with the money? She said: "I found a charity that helps kids that don't have water, get some water. I think every kid should have water. I will give it to them."
My daughter helped give people what they wanted, so she could get what she wanted. And what she wanted was to help more people.
She taught me well. I'm proud of her--and honored.