We Are All in Sales, Even My Two-year Old: Lessons from a Toddler

We are all in sales everyday. We are constantly persuading people of our ideas. We are constantly persuading ourselves. I learned a good lesson from my two-year old daughter that I think you may enjoy.

The Unconditioned Mind

It’s amazing what you can learn from kids. Their minds work differently than ours and they don’t have all the hang-ups and conditioning that we adults do. They are resilient beyond belief. When they fall down, they don’t look around to see if someone saw them and then saunter off to avoid embarrassment. They get back up and try again and again until they achieve success or start crying. Which, by the way is what I do. Crying, that is.

My two-year old daughter is no exception. We were meandering around the grocery store (meandering is what I do since I rarely have a list) when she saw a Nemo and Dory balloon. She instantly fell in love and immediately asked, “Nemo and Dory, can I have it?” I told her no. She asked again. I said no, again. The asking came quickly at first but the frequency lessened a bit over time. I continued to tell her no.  

When we got home she still talked about the Nemo and Dory balloon. She really wanted that balloon and was willing to ask again and again in the face of rejection. She didn’t get all self-loathy either. She simply asked, got rejected, went off to play a bit, and asked again later.

The Absence of Sales Training

She had never taken a class on dealing with rejection. She was like teflon. My rejections simply didn’t stick. She had also never learned about overcoming objections. I imagine her formulating new plans, almost subconsciously, about how she will deliver her next request. She’s intuitively navigating both rejection and objection.

Why do we adults have a problem with asking for what we want, especially if we know it’s for the benefit of the person we’re asking? Perhaps it is because we are conditioned as children to avoid talking to strangers and to never ask people for money—the two most important skills for sales.

We are all in sales. Think about it: every time you try to persuade someone you are “selling”. Where to go for lunch, where to take the family for vacation, which project to pursue at work, a job interview, convincing the husband of the need for new curtains, and the list is as long as your life. Everyone takes sales for granted and everyone starts out with an aversion to it.  

Rejection is Hard, But Could Be Easier

Rejection is hard. I think we confuse rejection of our request with rejection of ourselves. At least most of us do and I certainly did. Sales is hard mostly because you are asking people for money and you have to deal with rejection often. Perhaps the best in sales are beyond these struggles, but no matter what, if you have been in sales you have been nervous to ask for the sale and felt crappy after a rejection.

Selling All Day Long

We are selling all day long. I learned a good lesson from a two-year old. Ask and ask again. Find out how many times you can get rejected and keep coming back for more. I failed to learn this earlier in my career. I hope you can learn from a two-year old as well.