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Say "No!" to a Sale; Your Customers May Thank You

Say "No!" to a Sale; Your Customers May Thank You

August 29, 2009

Got kids? How about nephews or cousins? Try this experiment...

Put a marshmallow in front of them and tell them, 'I'll be back in 15-20 minutes. And if you wait until I get back before you eat the marshmallow I'll give you another one.'

Too tough to resist? Hmmm. That actually may tell you something. You see, in the 1960s a Stanford University psychology professor did a famous study just like the one I described with about 400 4-year-olds. Those who could wait demonstrated an ability to delay gratification and control their impulse. About one-third grabbed the marshmallow and some waited but they eventually couldn't resist any longer.

Only one-third were able to resist the urge to grab a marshmallow before the researcher returned. That's interesting but here's where it gets really interesting '

Years later, when the children graduated from high school the differences were dramatic between the two groups: 'the resisters were more positive, self-motivating, persistent in the face of difficulties, and able to delay gratification in pursuit of their goals,' according to an article in the Neuropsychology of Self-Discipline. 'They had the habits of successful people which resulted in more successful marriages, higher incomes, greater career satisfaction, better health, and more fulfilling lives than most of the population.

'Those having grabbed the marshmallow were more troubled, stubborn and indecisive, mistrustful, less self-confident, and still could not put off gratification. They had trouble subordinating immediate impulses to achieve long-range goals. When it was time to study for the big test, they tended to get distracted into doing activities that brought instant gratification. This impulse followed them throughout their lives and resulted in unsuccessful marriages, low job satisfaction and income, bad health, and frustrating lives.'

I bring this up for a very good reason. Quite often I see business owners who can't resist the marshmallow in front of them.

They'll take someone's money for something they know won't help them because they don't want to lose the sale. I've been there. But I've learned that the best thing is to resist the temptation.

I've actually refused to sell our Lumpy Mail products to some customers. They felt all they needed was a cool promotion that would help them. But I knew it wouldn't help because the problems were much bigger and much more profound. No promotion was going to fix their problems. And when I refused to sell my products to them that got their attention.

As a result, many of them became coaching clients in our Launch program in which we retooled their marketing and their business. As a result, I made thousands of dollars instead of a few hundred dollars and more importantly, we were able to turn around their business and help them grow. Everyone, and I include myself here, needs an accountability coach because self-regulation is difficult in a vacuum.

So next time, resist the temptation to grab the marshmallow. Be patient. Work with the customer to find a solution you're confident will help and reach for the whole bag of marshmallows!