As our young entrepreneurs prepare for Market Day next week, teaching kids some basic customer service and sales skills are the top focus in our final labs. Everyone knows the importance of good customer service, but many people cringe at the idea of ‘sales’ as they think of the stereotypical used car salesman and uncomfortable, high pressure sales tactics.
But selling really comes down to communicating your ideas effectively, which is a skill everyone needs. Our kids are growing up in a world where they’re at jeopardy of spending more time on social media than socializing with real people, and the development of their social and interpersonal skills are at risk.
They need to learn the importance of greeting people properly, smiling, making eye contact, shaking hands, listening, engaging with live people. The things our generation learned as the fundamentals of simple social interaction now need to be taught to ensure kids are equipped with these essentials and understand their importance. Kids who grow up with real social skills will have the advantage when it comes to job interviews, and in any real world situation where they need to interact with others, communicate and sell their skills, ideas, or their products or services effectively.
In Jeff Haden’s article on Inc.com, “The one skill everyone needs to be successful,” he comments:
“…if you think of selling as explaining the logic and benefits of a decision, then everyone–business owner or not–needs sales skills: to convince others that an idea makes sense, to show bosses or investors how a project or business will generate a return, to help employees understand the benefits of a new process, etc. In essence, sales skills are communication skills.”
Teaching kids the basics can start with giving them a few things to practice before they meet someone new, or give their order at a restaurant. Remind them to make eye contact, smile, speak clearly, and if appropriate shake hands when meeting someone new. Getting them started early with the little things will give them the confidence to practice and build their skills over time.
Jeff’s piece goes on to talk about the importance of developing sales skills for any entrepreneur. You can read more here.