It blows my mind seeing parents trying to find a job for their kids and simultaneously talking about how great their kid is. I see posts and get emails/texts like this all the time…
These parents are stuck doing things for their kids because they didn’t teach them how to sell at a young age.
I’m watching this happen with Girl Scout cookies right now.
My 6 year old is selling cookies for the first time so I said to my wife, “We’re not going to try to sell the most cookies. I want to teach our kids how to sell.” She agreed 100%.
When I asked other parents how they were selling cookies, almost everyone’s answer was, “I just told people at my work.” There was no kid involvement at all.
The kids didn’t have to do the work, make the ask, or deliver their cookies. They were already pre-sold because parents were doing all the work.
I want to strongly advocate that you teach your kids how to sell at an early age, so they are empowered in adulthood.
5 Big Lessons Your Kids Can Learn When Selling
1. How to Make Conversations With Adults
You want your kids to have the confidence to make eye contact with adults and feel comfortable speaking to other people and making an ask.
2. Understand What Selling Is
Kids think that things just come to you. Funny, I know a lot of adults like that too. So you want your kids to understand that they have to work to earn.
3. How to Do Math With Money
You want your kids to understand how to calculate costs, charge people, and give change — that way, they learn how to do the math and manage money correctly.
4. How to be Responsible
The cookies are your kid’s responsibility, right? So instead of people picking up their cookies, take your kid to deliver them so they’re responsible for the entire process.
5. How to Build Relationships
Selling is more than just a transaction — it’s about creating a relationship with your customers and clients. You want your kids to see that, so plan on hanging out with the people that buy your kids’ cookies (or whatever they’re selling) when it’s time to deliver.
3 Sales Tactics to Teach Your Kids
1. Building a Target List, Sales Script, and Pricing
After the cookies arrived, I asked my 6 year old to come up with a list of people she knew who she wanted to sell to aka a target list. (We removed her teachers figuring they must get hit up a lot). She wrote all the names down in a notebook.
Then we worked on an actual sales script. With my guidance, my kid figured out how exactly she was going to ask someone to buy cookies and wrote it down. We had to come up with pricing as part of the script. Boxes are $4 apiece, but I wanted to teach her about bundling. So instead of selling them for $4 each, we bundled them five for $20, guessing that most people have a $20 on them.
She came up with the following script:
I’m excited to tell you that this is my first time being a Girls Scout.
I have three kinds of cookies, Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs.
They are $20 for five boxes.
Would you like to buy some?“
There were no edits, and only one take. She messed up the first five or ten times, but when she got into a rhythm, she banged out a ton of videos and then texted those videos out to her target list.
Related: 12 Rules to Haggling Like an Indian
2. Handling and Counting Money
Understanding money and math were one of the valuable lessons I wanted her to learn. So I ran through different situations with her and helped figure out what to charge, make the right change, and handle the transaction.
For instance, what if someone wanted to buy one, two, or three boxes instead of five? What if they only had a twenty? How much change should she give them? What should she do if they say they don’t have cash? Learning these situations wasn’t a stretch for her, thanks to Elephant Learning. Props to the app for helping her understand math beyond her age.
Full disclosure: my company, Flow Marketing, does marketing for this app because it is so effective.
3. Taking Orders and Inventory
People would respond to her video with their order. After, she wrote them down in her book and looked at her stock of cookies. Effectively she was able to look at inventory minus purchase order and figure out how many more cookies she needed for re-orders.
Remember, You Can Teach Your Kids To Sell Anything
While I’m teaching my 6 year old all of this, my four-year-old kept saying to me, “Papa, I want to sell, I want to sell.” And I was like, “Buddy. We will do something once we get through this Girl Scout stuff. I’ll come up with something.”
The day we set out to make cookie deliveries, I put the kids in the car, and on our way, my 4 year old tells me again, “I want to sell something.”
And I was like you know what? Before we make these drops, we can go to Office Depot. I grew up selling stickers and figured they would have some cool stuff he could sell like pencils, stickers, things like that.
Once we were in the store, I watched them lose their mind! I’d forgotten how cool office supplies are for little kids. Oh my God, they wanted everything!
So I helped the 4 year old pick out something that he wanted to sell to his friends. Trying to teach him to find things, his friends, or even their parents would want.
Pens for a four-year-old is a little bit out of reach. So we went with pencils because that’s the level they’re at. He picked out some chrome pencils with black wood, so they looked fresh to death:
He also picked up a big tub of eraser tops, a few big fat thick erasers, and pencil grips.
We’re back in the car to make our first delivery, so I ask him, “Buddy, how much do you want to sell these for?” He doesn’t exactly have a concept for money yet, so I looked at the cost, and I said, “Okay, do $5 for six items.”
I also gave him a little script right there while I was driving. The script was:
This is my first time selling stuff.
I have pencils, erasers, and grips.
They are $5 for six items.
Would you like to buy some?”
He practiced over and over in the car because he couldn’t remember the word “grips” since he has zero experience using them. So I taught him a little song with pencils, erasers, and grips so he would remember the script.
Show Your Kids Sales Are About Relationships
We made our way to the first house to deliver the cookies. My daughter had to carry the cookies, deliver them to the person’s hands, and give them a big hug and say, “Thank you so much for buying these cookies from me,” so that she showed gratitude and appreciation for her customers.
We got to Lauren’s house (the Director of Operations at Flow Marketing), and my girl delivered the cookies to her, gave her a huge hug, and said thank you. Maya’s first sale is sold, delivered, and complete!
Then I look over at my little boy and say, “Do you want to ask Ms. Lauren something?” He says, “Yeah,” and starts his script, stumbling a bit. He’s like, “This is my first time selling stuff. I have pencils, erasers, and…” My girl squeezed her hand and he finishes, “… grips.” And then he closes, “They are $5 for six. Would you like to buy some?”
Lauren was very kind and was like, “Yes, absolutely.” She picked out a few pencils and erasers, then gave three pencils back — one for each of us. The kids completely lost their minds because they didn’t think they were going to get any. They thought they had to sell them all. My 4 year old puts his money into his little plastic pouch, held onto his pencil, and was brimming at his first sale.
We spent the next six hours, from 11:30 AM until 5:30 PM, going from house to house delivering cookies. My 6 year old was completely in charge of her transactions, and my 4 year old was slanging his office supplies, and we spent time hanging with those people.
I wanted to teach the kids also that this isn’t just about sales; it’s about the relationships you build, which is why we spent some quality time with our “customers.”
Selling Can Be The Best Day of Your Kid’s Life
Hands down, it was a fun day. The direct quote from my kids was, “This is the best day of my life!”
My 6-year-old finished delivering and even got reorders, which she tracked in her inventory. My 4-year-old made $30 in cash, took it all, and put it in the “invest” compartment of his piggy bank because he wants to, “See it grow.” Now, I’m not sure if he thinks that means the money will physically grow or if he understands the concept. Either way, he put it all in investments.
Then the next morning, my wife, the cookie lady, was doing all the calculations for all the orders and reorders. She looks up at me, and she says, “Do you know Maya’s sold the most cookies?”
It’s funny to me that Maya is on top because the entire point was not to try to sell the most cookies! It was just supposed to be a learning experience.
Yet, lo and behold, what happened?
We didn’t focus on the outcome, and she’s the number one Girl Scout Cookie salesperson in this area.
The Big Takeaway
No matter what your child becomes in life, they need to learn how to sell.
They need to learn how to sell themselves, their ideas, a product or service, and ultimately advocate for what they want and persuade other people to see their vision.
The problem is, whether kids are trying to sell cookies or trying to find a job, there are too many parents doing their jobs for them.
Our kids need us to teach them what we already know — how to feel comfortable standing up for ourselves and asking for what we want.
Don’t make the mistake of doing the uneasy work for your kids because they won’t learn anything from doing nothing. Instead, teach and show them, especially if they’re young!
Trust me, your kids will love it and will grow up without the psychological impediments that prevent people from advocating for themselves.