How to Use “Negative Reverse Selling” at the Dinner Table

May 19, 2009 by


Your child has a problem: he needs to eat. You have the solution.

Unfortunately, just like a traditional salesperson, you may have some trouble convincing your potential “buyer” that your solution is just what he needs (even if it is free).

·Do you feel like you need a motivational seminar to recapture your enthusiasm and get you back on those front lines of getting your child to eat?

·Does your child sense your desperation and use it to take advantage of you?

·Do you view meals as a win-lose proposition?

·Are you working too hard to get your child to eat, with too little results?

·Do you remind yourself of the stereotypical, loudmouth, grinning, aggressive, hand-pumping salesperson each time you sit down to the dinner table with your young prospect?

If your results are lackluster, if your techniques lack finesse, you may need an attitude adjustment. Check out these tips on salesmanship from Sandler Sales Institute’s system for successful selling.

Selling is like fishing, according to Sandler. When you first feel a tug on the line, resist the impulse to reel in the line right then. That first nibble is just the moment when the fish needs a little extra slack on the line, to allow it the time to really grab hold of the hook. With knowledge and understanding, the patient fisherman or fisherwoman waits for the line to tighten again, and then gently, carefully, sets the hook.

The effective salesperson remains confident and relaxed. He doesn’t chase off the prospect with his enthusiasm. Unlike the fisherman, he knows he has something the prospect needs, a product that will really help the buyer. He doesn’t beg or plead or offer bribes. He avoids applying pressure. Instead, he maintains a reassuring, win-win attitude.

When the prospective buyer seems interested, the amateur, over-eager salesperson will whip out the contract. It’s at that point the prospect smells a rat and is likely to run the other way. The more pushy and aggressive the salesperson, the more resistant the prospect is likely to become. We adults know how that works. A salesman with a solid used car need not be so desperate about selling it.

The effective salesperson knows when to give the fish some extra line. He whips out what Sandler calls the “negative reverse” technique. He takes a step backward to draw the prospect forward.

“Are you sure you’ve given it enough thought?” he might ask.

Instead of piling the plate with food as a way to get a light eater to eat more, don’t give her any at all, or just a tiny bit. Wait for her to ask.

If the little prospect doesn’t want to eat something, back off completely. If a kid isn’t hungry at dinner time, he’s probably either not feeling well, full from untimely snacks, or turned off by the pushiness of the parent. More pressure at this moment is the most counterproductive mistake the salesperson can make, if she is hoping for long-term results.

Kids are not such a mystery. They’re a lot like us bigger humans. Like the rest of us, they need food to survive. They’re born with a natural affinity for what their bodies need. They want respect. They don’t like pressure and they like to be in charge of themselves as much as possible.

If the “bait” smells good, looks good, tastes good, though, that is sales job enough for the well-qualified prospect: a hungry child. Present the food and then back off. Let the food sell itself. Give your prospect some space. Allow him to develop interest. Allow them to come to the right conclusion on their own.

Some examples of the “negative reverse” technique for the dinner table:

·“You must not be hungry.”

·Are you sure you’re hungry?”

· “I’m not sure I made enough for everybody to have some.”

·“Would you like any?” (Instead of “Eat it”)

·“It’s kind of an adult taste.”

·“You don’t want any, do you?”

·“Good. Leaves more for the rest of us.”

Related posts:

Neutralize a kid’s food resistance

© Sacred Appetite / Anna Migeon / 19 May 2009 / All rights reserved