The problem with selling is that we have all been exposed to that slick, “used car”, high pressure salesperson who seems unaware of the difference between the truth and a lie. The idea of trying to “sell” our kids on something we want them to do also seems counterintuitive – shouldn’t they just obey without questioning?
When your kids are little, there is some amount of control a parent has over their kids. Children often think their parents are perfect when they are tiny. As they get older and exposed to the ideas of others though, some begin to wonder if their parents are so smart after all. Surely, the teacher with the advanced degrees, the celebrity who seems perfect or the non-profit “hero” are smarter than their parents.
If you have a child that balks at everything you say or ask of them, you may be able to learn some lessons from the best of salespeople. Because a really great salesperson understands that convincing someone to do something is more about trust and relationship than it is price or frills.
So I was interested when offered the chance to review the republished Zig Ziglar classic, Secrets of Closing the Sale. Would the master salesperson have hints that could help struggling parents? As it turns out, he really may be able to give you some great tips.
Although the book itself suggests its techniques can help parents and others besides salespeople, you will have to do some “translating” of sorts to make the connection to what a salesperson would do and what you can adapt and use as a parent. Although his tips are classic, I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the way the book is arranged. It’s rather old school in that every tip is labeled a “close” when in reality not all of them are actually true closes. To me that slows down the book. They added two chapters by Kevin Harrington to update it, but they should have re-edited it more.
In spite of the fact that the editing makes the book feel a bit dated, the actual information is as helpful as it was the first time I read it in my first sales job. I have always appreciated that Ziglar spent so much time focusing on integrity and character – something many salespeople believe would make them unsuccessful. In reality, being honest and trustworthy and truly caring about your clients are what makes a salesperson successful.
Parents who are struggling should pay special attention to the sections about communication. Ziglar cuts to the heart of the communication problems that make it difficult to convince someone to do something they may not initially want to do. Not everything may apply to parenting, but it’s surprising how much does.
If you are in sales, of course this book is a classic. If you are trying to parent a child who seems to not want to be parented, you may just pick up some very helpful tips.
A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.