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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Using the Assumptive-Close Sales Technique to Get Your Kids (and Anyone, Really) to Do Stuff Sans Nagging

Pestering the kids to get their work done. We all do it.
“Did you finish your homework?”
“Don’t forget to take out the trash.”
“I’ve told you three times to unpack your lunch sack!”
If you’re like me, you swore you’d never nag your kid the way your parents nagged you.
Yuh-huh. And here we are.
But there’s a better way. A less combative way. A sneakier way. One that will make your kid think you think s/he’s already winning at life, even if that same kid would stroll barefoot into a blizzard if not for you.
It’s called the Assumptive Close Technique.
Salesmen use it all the time to nudge prospective clients over the hump from “Should I buy this?” to “I’m buying this right now.” Before the customer even commits, the salesman says things like:
“Which color do you want?”
“How many can I put you down for?”
“Do you want that shipped to your home or office?”
By assuming the completion of the task you want done, you effectively bring it to the kid’s attention without pushing the kid’s buttons because you’ve brought up his or her failure to perform yet again. You communicate that you have confidence that the thing will get done, at the same time you prompt its completion with a secondary (and where possible a positive/enjoyable) consequence. Here’s how it works:

Instead of Saying:
You Might Try:
Did you finish your homework?
Let me know when you’re finished with your homework so we can make those brownies together.
Don’t forget to take out the trash.
When you take the trash out can you let the cat back in too? Thanks.
How many times do I have to tell you to unpack your lunch?
I really appreciate how you’ve taken over packing and unpacking your lunch every day. Let me know if there’s anything special you want me to pick up at the grocery for your lunches.
You failed to make your bed again. I’ve had it!
Hey, after you make your bed today lay out those pants you want hemmed and I’ll take care of them while you’re at school.
When are you going to write that thank-you note to Grandma for the birthday gift she sent?
Do me a favor and don’t seal the envelope to Grandma’s thank-you note. I want to stick in one of your school pictures before we mail it.

While the Assumptive Close Technique won’t guarantee that the tasks get done any more than it guarantees sales, it does reliably improve sales numbers, and in your house it will get more done with less resistance and less damage to the already tenuous relationship between you and your kiddos. But even more, it will completely circumvent your understandable tendency to nag, nag, nag until you get what you want: compliance and action.
However, if you try this strategy and don’t find any improvement in the number of tasks being completed, it may be time to step it up to the next phase of behavioral direction: Motivation Management.
Stay tuned…

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