When it comes to helping your kids become financially healthy and wealthy, there are three main areas:
When it comes to spending, it’s super important that kids learn to control their spending so they can save some money each month. However, there is a limit to how much they can (and should) reduce spending to increase wealth (spending is fun after all).
The key to investing is to set up a simple investment account and then top it up regularly. Once it is set up, there isn’t much more to do or learn which will increase their wealth.
This leaves ‘earning’. Unlike spending and investing, there is unlimited opportunity to discover new ways to earn more money and grow wealth over time. One key skill to do this is the ability to sell so that kids can start selling and earning money.
Why teach kids to start selling?
“Teaching kids to sell, helps them excel!”
Selling is a really important skill that isn’t taught in most schools.
Selling is about influencing people, solving problems, and building relationships. All these can play a huge role in their ability to earn money.
For example, to get the job they want, they need to be able to sell themselves in the interview. If they want to start a business they need to sell their ideas to get funding and sell their products.
Even when they are at school, being able to sell could help them get into the groups they want to join or even find their first boyfriend or girlfriend.
Many of the top business people put their success down to their ability to sell. Whilst we like to believe that “a good product or service will sell itself”, that is rarely the case. Some amazing things have been created but not been successful due to a lack of the ability to sell them (Microsoft Zune, Segway, New Coke).
There have also been cases of not-so-good products which have done amazingly well due to their ability to sell. My favourite is McDonalds. Everyone believes they can cook a better burger than one from McDonalds (so clearly not the most amazing product) but yet people still buy billions of their burgers each year as they are amazing at selling.
Other important benefits from teaching kids to sell
There are also other aspects of selling that I believe are important for kids to appreciate. For example, dealing with rejection. By learning to sell, you are also learning how to deal with rejection and this is vital. I fear a lot of kids will go through their childhood without having to deal with rejection (as they are protected by their parents) and will face a cold reality when they become adults. By encouraging kids to learn to sell, then they will inevitably get told ‘no’ by some people. The key is that they don’t give up and, learn from the experience.
It has pained me when I’ve had to interview new graduates who have a super impressive CV but it becomes apparent within the first minute that they lacked confidence and couldn’t sell themselves.
How to teach kids to sell?
Don’t get me wrong, it isn't about teaching kids to become used car salesmen (apologies if this is your profession, I’m sure you’re not like the stereotype!). This is about using the skills and knowledge they learn at school to help people solve problems or bring people joy.
Here are some things you can do to help your kids to start forming a selling mindset:
When they ask for something from you, ask them “Convince me why I should do that for you?” or “Make me a deal?” (Hopefully, they can come up with creative answers).
If you have more than one child and they start arguing, get them to start negotiating to resolve the issue rather than just shouting at each other.
Ask them why they believe certain companies are so successful. For example, why do people pay so much for an iPhone compared to other phones despite the functions being very similar? By getting them to understand why some companies are successful it will help them to understand the ‘buyer’ and this will support them when it comes to selling.
Whenever there is a problem, get them to think of ways in which they can solve it. It doesn’t matter how crazy the idea is - it’s all about them looking for solutions to problems as that is a large part of selling. I remember talking to my eldest daughter about cows giving off methane which was bad for the environment, she came up with the idea of attaching a little battery pack to the cow so every time the cow farted, it would spin a wheel and charge the battery - whilst not reducing methane, it was ensuring it had some positive benefit.
Whilst the above helps kids start to form a selling mindset, the best way to learn is through the experience of actually selling. I love that the Scouts often get their members to sell cookies as they learn this important skill.
I encourage all parents to talk to their kids about starting their own mini-business. There are many different ideas - you can find 5 different ideas here. You can also read to your kids the story ‘Boba becomes a Billionaire’, which is all about a young girl building a business, to encourage them to start their own business.
Example of a real-life child seller
One story I heard recently was about a 12-year-old in Canada who went to his neighbours and offered to rake the leaves from their driveway in the autumn. The best thing was that he offered the service in advance of autumn, i.e. planned ahead and got a commitment. Once he had a number of his neighbours signed up, he outsourced the work to his friends. His role was collecting the money and quality control. As he was collecting the money for the leaves, he asked the neighbours if they would like their driveway cleared from snow in the winter.
I have no idea how well his boy is doing in school but I’m confident he will do well in life due to his ability to sell.
Selling is a skill which can be taught and, give your kids a massive advantage in life.
It can help kids get jobs and promotions later in life. It can help them start their own business. These can each help them earn more which can help them become financially healthy and wealthy.
It’s not just about selling, it’s also about building relationships, problem-solving and dealing with rejection.
“If you want your kids to excel, help them learn to sell!”
Thanks for reading!