My four year old son did not want to take a bath this evening. Instead, he wanted to sit in my office and watch movies.
His mother asked him if he wanted to go to bed, and he again stubbornly insisted that he be allowed to return to my office and watch his movie.
So I used an old sales trick, which goes something like this: When you are trying to close a sale, you don’t ask open-ended questions; instead, you ask questions that leave the prospect with a choice as you guide them to the desired outcome: closing the sale.
Applied to this situation, instead of asking my son what he wanted to do, I gave him a choice:
“Son, do you want to go straight to bed — or do you want Mommy to give you a bath, put on your pajamas, and then come back to my office to watch movies for 30 minutes?”
Of course he chose the latter; I closed the sale, obtaining the desired results in the process, and everybody was happy.
Never ask your small child what they want to do. Instead, give them two choices from which to choose, one being the desired outcome and the other one on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’ll usually choose the better choice and in the process feel as if he “owns” the outcome. Everybody will be happier.
Try it next time you’re in a difficult situation and post a comment to let me know how it went!
Thanks for listening,