When I was younger I tried many different ways to make money. I made and sold art. I set up garage sales. I had a baseball card collection that I added to and sold for a profit. And of course I had a lemonade stand. The lemonade stand is a North American classic tradition for aspiring young entrepreneurs and reading the Landing the Deal blog by Dan Tudor this afternoon brought back a lot of memories.
Dan came across a lemonade stand in his neighborhood and highlighted that many valuable sales lessons can be learned from these simple, early ventures. Dan was impressed with the stand operators when they asked him a question that many professional sales people forget to ask – “How many would you like?” Instead of assuming that Dan wanted just one glass of lemonade, they asked the question and he ended up buying three – one for himself and two for his daughters.
Some of the other lessons Dan pointed out:
- You never know who’s listening to your sales pitch. But if you don’t pitch it, it’s guaranteed that they won’t hear it and won’t buy anything.
- You gotta know when to slash prices, and when to hold firm.
- Always smile and be friendly. It attracts people (including new customers).
- Not only should you “ask for the sale”, but you should also ask how much your customer wants. The lemonade saleswoman asked me that question, and tripled her sales total.
Do you have any lessons learned from your earliest ventures that stick with you today?