We’ve all heard about or maybe experienced the “terrible 2’s” and how a child can start saying “No” A LOT when they approach / turn age 2. With my own daughter turning 2 recently i have noticed that there’s a lot we can learn & be reminded of about negotiations from them.

1. “No” does not mean “Never”
just “No” at the moment. They might be in middle of something else and catch them at the wrong time. We can acknowledge their answer and “agree” that later may be a better time. By waiting a while and trying again a bit later we can get a better result.

2. “No” is not a personal rejection
It may feel they don’t like us at that time but it’s just a “no” to the “event” we are suggesting, not to us personally. There will be smiles & hugs again later on the personal front.

3. Ask questions
Asking questions can help us suggest the best option and get the right result for both us & them, quicker, Asking good questions, often closed questions, can help us lead them to the answers we want to hear.

4. “Positioning” helps
ie by telling them in advance what is going to happen later, they are then expecting it when we mention it again and more likely to go with it or even ask for it. Same with business, we need to “warm them up” before ask for the “close” and ideally lead them in the sales process steps so they hopefully ask for the close (“how much” etc.) before we do.

5. “Timing” matters
sometimes they are not ready to do what we want so we have to revisit or try another angle to get a result. You know when you have your prospect list ready and want to call them all on a Monday morning but perhaps some of them may be more receptive to take / receive your call a bit later that day or the next day. CRM in Sales is a useful tool to help timing by capturing feedback and setting reminders for following up / trying again at another time.

6. Follow a Routine
Routine for a child is like a sales process in business. Our child sleeps etc. better by following a routine. Also our child knows what to expect next and easier to “convert”. Same with prospects. If you call prospects they will expect you want to discuss how you can help them. If meet them they will expect you want to offer them a quote. If quote them they will expect a follow up to ask for the business. When follow up you can get 3 times the amount of sales.

By following a routine you will be more efficient with things getting easier & quicker. You will get into the zone of prospecting and asking the questions etc. and they will expect what’s coming next.

7. Discipline
by being consistent in our activity & doing what you said you will do will build trust for next negotiation step and conversion will be easier like giving the 2 year old that treat you said you would once they did what you wanted them to. They will listen more next time. May not always get the result the first time but by being patient will do in the end.

8. They do not know everything
even though they may communicate they do, they do not know everything or what’s best for them (eg a sleep during the day) we need to educate our prospects, show them testimonials how others benefitted etc. to demonstrate how we can help them.

9. Give first before can receive
we sometimes have to give a little to get what we want. W-I-I-F-M – What’s in it for them? eg Have to find a Win:Win for both to be happy like they can read a book while eating their dinner. (We try to keep this concession until the evening porridge but have to work with them sometimes, just like prospects will not always do what you want them to when you want them to!)

If like to have a chat about 2 year olds or sales negotiations, feel free to get in touch by email [email protected] or call +358 40 323 0601 (Helsinki) or +353 87 222 2000 (Dublin).