Full Show Notes
Do you ever have trouble getting kids to listen to you and do what you ask? You’re not alone. Getting kids to listen is the most common problems parents have when they find this website.
The problem is that teenagers stop listening to you because they want a good reason to do something besides “I’m your parent.” According to neuroscience, they want to know how doing their chores or studying hard can benefit them. The “I’m counting to three” method of parenting becomes completely useless unless you back it up with some extremely heavy consequences. But that just backfires and creates resentment from your teen.
That’s why this week’s episode of the podcast is all about getting kids to listen to you and follow through with action. The secret to dealing with teenagers who don’t respect your authority?
Sell them on you want them to do.
To discover the secret to getting kids to listen, I spoke with Chris Smith and worked through a step-by-step plan that will teach you all about getting kids to listen. Chris is the bestselling author of The Conversion Code, and the Co-Founder of Curaytor, which is one of the fastest-growing companies in America. He’s an expert at selling products over the phone and he’s trained thousands of salespeople around the world how to adopt his pitch.
In this episode, we go through an in-depth, step-by-step example of how to deal with teenagers who don’t want to clean their room. After tuning in, you’ll be able to use some of Chris’ actual word-for-word dialogue he’s used with his own daughter to taker her responsibilities seriously. But to use his method correctly, you’ll need to know how it works. According to Chris, getting kids to listen breaks down into a four-step strategy:
- Starting with a “Pattern Interrupt” Statement
- Finding Something Your Child Wants
- Using the “Five Yes” Technique
- Following up with a “Feature-Benefit Tie-Down”
You can apply these principles of getting kids to listen to any behavior you want your teen to start doing. According to Chris, the idea isn’t so much a script as it is a framework for productive conversations. You don’t want to command your teen, but rather get them to understand and eventually act from your perspective. While you’ll have to tune in to the whole podcast to hear the extent of Chris’ strategy, here’s just a peek into how it works:
The first step of getting kids to listen is a bit sneaky. It’s a sales technique that Chris calls the Pattern Interrupt statement, which involves establishing authority early on in the conversation through small, innocuous commands. For example, you can start a conversation by saying, “I want to talk to you about something. Bring your phone with you to take some notes.” The small command of “bring your phone” puts your child’s mind on track to be more receptive to directives.
The key to getting kids to listen by using Pattern Interruption is subtlety. You want to give your teen a small order to follow so it doesn’t seem burdensome, but you’re still opening your teen up to be more agreeable. Given a minor objective, like “Turn off the lights in your room before coming downstairs” or “Can you pull up your calendar,” your teen is prepped to collaborate without even knowing it.
Chris also recommends starting with a Pattern Interrupt statement because it demonstrates that you are the authority in the conversation. You want to be able to set the tone of the conversation early on, and giving your teenager something to do is an innocuous way of getting kids to listen and letting them know that there’s more to come.
Digging Deep to Find Incentives
Getting kids to listen is important if you want them to adopt your goals while also pursuing their own accomplishments. To do this, parents need to use a technique called Digging Deep. Digging deep means investigating the details of what your teen wants to do and using their reasoning to support your own goals. The idea is that if you’re going to help someone get what they want, you have to know what it is. To do this, Chris says you need to identify what your child cares most about so you can leverage their desire to meet your goals as a parent.
Aside from getting kids to listen to you, your goal is to turn your kids into responsible adults who want their own rooms to be clean instead of reminding them to do their chores all the time. So, if you can dig deep and find reasons to take out the trash that benefit your teen, you can sell them on this idea of personal responsibility.
Let’s say your teen wants to go to the movies but you want them to clean their room. How do you align the two goals? First, you need information about the event that you can use to build a link. Chris says that most parents stop investigating after asking their kids, “What are you going to do this weekend?” But when you stop asking questions, you’re losing out on valuable information that can help you better understand what your teen wants.
Are they going out with friends? Why does your teenager want to hang out with this group? When you dig deep and ask questions like “when, where, why, and who,” you might find that your child wants to fit in more at school and have something to talk about with their friends next week. They want the social experience of feeling accepted.
Once you have a better understanding of the situation, you can tell your child that after the movies, their friends won’t want to come over if their room is dirty and gross. Now they see that having a clean room benefits them in the long run. By digging deep and pairing your child’s desires with responsible practices, you’re preparing your child for adulthood. Because without realizing it, they’re building in good habits that they might thank you for later on down the road.
The Five Yesses
Once you’ve listened to your teen and dug deep to figure out your child’s incentives, it’s time to use the Five Yesses Strategy. This works by putting the information you’ve gathered into a list along with some of your own objectives, like taking out the trash or washing the car. Then, you repeat the list of your shared goals back to your teen with affirmative statements. Here’s what that exchange might look like:
Parent: You want to go to the movies, right?
Parent: And it’s for this PG-13 movie?
Parent: Got it. And you want your three friends to go with you?
Parent: And you want to go this weekend, right?
Parent: So, you know that means you have to vacuum the living room before Friday in order to go, right?
Parent: Okay, that sounds like a plan.
The genius behind the Five Yesses technique is that you’re building a compromise into the conversation without it feeling like a back-and-forth debate. In the sales cycle, this tactic is used all the time. You sell the customer on a lot of small details that prime them to say YES to what you want them to do. The same thing can be applied to getting kids to listen when it comes to cores or doing homework. It also has the added benefit of letting your teen know you’re listening to them. When they feel heard, it makes them more agreeable to follow directions because their needs are being taken seriously.
The final stage of getting kids to listen is telling them all the great things they’re going to accomplish contingent on what you want them to accomplish. Chris’ simple strategy for getting the most out of what your teen wants to do is called “Feature-Benefit Tie-Down.” It works by giving context to all of your teen’s desires that ally their goals with things that are important to you, like preparedness and responsibility.
Chris compares this step to selling a car. When people go to buy a car, they have a list of all the features they’re interested in. Nice seats, good mileage, and a cool paint color. It is the salesperson’s job to go over why each of these attributes are important in the long run to make sure that the buyer’s choice is correct. This allows the seller to bargain for a good price because they’re able to highlight the true value of the agreement.
When you adapt this process to talking with your teen about your shared goals, getting kids to listen and internalize your values as well will be a lot simpler. For example, when you encourage your teen to prioritize their studies, you can sell them on the fact that they’ll have more time to spend with friends if they finish their work in a timely manner. You can then highlight the importance of friendship as well maintaining good grades so they’ll invest in your pitch.
There’s more than just this technique!
There are so many more techniques that Chris shares with me about getting kids to listen! Including…
- One + One = Trust
- Gaining control of a negotiation when things start to spiral
- Collaborating on the compromise
- Using the A.R.C. “Acknowledge. Respond. Close Again” method
I’m thankful that Chris shared his wisdom with me this week about getting kids to listen by using sales techniques. He has so much experience for parents to learn from, and easy-to-use tactics to help parents compromise with their teens. I found Chris’ advice to be thought-provoking and engaging, and I know you will, too!
Word-for-word examples of what to say to your teen
1. When your teen asks for something, start by reminding them about your history of being reasonable in order to establish a feeling of trust:
“Well, the last three times you asked if you could go to the movies I did say yes. And I let you go to Disney with your friends. In fact, the last 10 times you’ve asked for anything I said yes most of the time, right? So it’s not that I’m not open-minded. I’ll probably let you do this too. I just need to think about it a little.”-Chris Smith
2. When you want your teen to clean their room:(Members Only)
3. When you want your teen to clean their room:(Members Only)
4. Make your teen feel heard by separating the listening phase from the answering phase:(Members Only)
5. Establish control from the very start of the conversation by asking your teen to do something small:(Members Only)
6. Establish control from the very start of the conversation by asking your teen to do something small:(Members Only)
7. When you want your teen to do something, connect the result you want to a benefit, then end in a tie-down:(Members Only)
8. When you want your teen to do something, connect the result you want to a benefit, then end in a tie-down:(Members Only)
9. When your teen agrees with something, make sure to tell them exactly what they need to do:(Members Only)
10. When your teen brings up an objection to what you want them to do, acknowledge it, respond to it, and then re-establish agreement:(Members Only)
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Use a Pattern Interrupt to get your teen’s attention:Chris is a leading expert on sales and he taught me how to sell your teenager on doing whatever you want them to do (like cleaning their room, trying harder in school, doing the dishes after dinner, or treating you with more respect). The first step is to uncover something that your teenager wants from you (like a later curfew, permission to go to prom, money to go to the movies, or to borrow your car for the weekend to go skiing with their friends). When you start this conversation, you need to immediately establish yourself as the one in control. You should be the leader and the teen should be the follower. The way to do this is to ask your teen to do something during the first 60 seconds of the conversation and not to continue until they do it.
This should be something small and seemingly insignificant. It is called a Pattern Interrupt and it is very important. I also recommend including a benefit in the same sentence so that your teen knows this conversation is going to be a positive thing for them. Below, I’ve included a few complete examples you can steal word-for-word, as well as some space for you to come up with your own. Choose one and then move on to the next exercise, the “Digging Deep” technique.
–“Hey, John, I want to talk to you about giving you some more freedom and getting rid of some rules, come out to the back porch with me.”
–“Hey, Julie, I want to talk about letting you use the car more often, grab your phone and open the notes app so you can jot a few things down.”
–“Hey, Toby, I want to talk about your plans for this weekend so I can make sure you’re getting to do the things you want to do, turn off your light and come over here for a few minutes.”
2. Use the “Digging Deep” technique to uncover your teen’s needs:(Members Only)
3. Plan your 1+1 statement to take time off from the conversation:(Members Only)
4. Use what you uncovered for the “5 Yes” technique:(Members Only)
5. Plan out your Feature-Benefit Tie-Downs:(Members Only)
6. Work out the exact terms your teen will follow:(Members Only)
7. Overcome objections by ARC-ing around them:(Members Only)
Complete Interview Transcript
Andy: Okay. So you’re the author of this book, The Conversion Code. And that’s how I found out about you. And it’s really cool, it’s really a detailed formula for how to go through a sales call and how to build trust with somebody and then uncover what’s motivating them and then how to find where they want your product. And so as I was reading it, I kept thinking, “Man, this stuff would be so applicable with a teenager.” Just because that’s always in my head. And then I was really surprised to see that during the book, you actually mentioned specifically your daughter Maya, and that you use some of these techniques on her. So then I was like, “I got to bring this guy on the podcast.” So I’m really interested to hear all about that. But first, can you just tell us a little bit about your story and what led you to develop this technique and write it down?
Chris: Sure. Yeah, man, I was working in sales for a decade and when you’re in phone sales, it’s very difficult, dialing for dollars. And at one of my jobs, it was called “Dial America.” And it was literally just like, “Here’s the phone book, go call everyone.” And it’s really hard, so for most of us that are in sales, we develop these techniques out of a need of necessity. Two reasons, one is we want to make money, that’s why we’re in sales. But two, is it’s kind of a miserable existence if you get told no all day. It’s already hard to just dial all day, and then if no one buys from you, it’s really a tough life. So a lot of the tactics and tips and techniques are really meant to keep the conversation going, finish the conversation strong, start the conversation properly. It’s not so much a script as it is a framework for how to get what you want at the end of the talk.
Andy: Yeah. And so you seem to have developed your own special formula for how to do this. And it seems like you’ve clearly put a lot of time into experimenting and tweaking and developing this technique that you’ve got here. So I’m curious how that came about?
Chris: Yeah. I mean a lot of them was from … I actually worked for two billionaires, so I worked for a billionaire that was a boy band mogul, name was Lou Pearlman and he was the guy that discovered Britney Spears, he discovered NSYNC, and I ended up also working for a guy named Dan Gilbert. He’s another billionaire, he’s the guy that owns the Cleveland Cavs. And he’s the guy that started Quicken Loans. So when you go into the boiler rooms, they usually would give you a script, they’ll say, “Hey, we’ve had a lot of people make these calls before you got hired, here’s what they said.” And it’s kind of fake, right? Because you can’t just grab a piece of paper and be like, “Okay. So please buy a loan from me today. Thanks.” It doesn’t really work like that. But I would say that with anything in life, there’s a framework or there’s usually someone that has come before you that has gone through that difficult conversation.
Chris: Like, “I’m going to have to have some really hard talks with my kids soon.” Uncomfortable conversations about puberty and about boys and girls. And there’s so much help out there. Podcasts like yours, whether it’s a book like mine, I just feel like the answer to every question we have is now available on the internet, in a book, on a podcast. And really what I’ve done is I’ve become a student of the game. If selling stuff is important to you, you’ll put a lot of time into it. If having a great relationship with your kids is important to you, you’ve got to put a lot of time into it and let’s be honest, man, these teens, they’re talking to the phone more than they’re talking to a person. They’re texting and typing more than they’re talking. They’re more interested in Snapchat than sales. So it’s going to create some challenges if you’re late thirties like me or in your forties or fifties, and you’re trying to speak to these kids and they got new lingo and new words. They use, “It’s lit.” I don’t even know what half the stuff they say. So I understand the challenge of trying to communicate with kids, but this whole digital era really made it harder.
Andy: Yeah, it totally did. But I like what you say. And it reminds me of that quote by Isaac Newton, that we stand on the shoulders of giants. You know, there’s people who came before us who have solved a lot of these problems already. And so we can at least start from where they got to and try to build on top of that. And so just becoming a student I think is so important. And clearly you have become a student of sales and sales techniques. You actually kind of break it up, so you recommend having the first half of the conversation and uncovering what the person’s really deep motivations are, and then maybe taking a break and then coming back and having the second half where you then work out the deal with them and do that whole thing. So could you just explain that a little more and walk us through that?
Chris: Yeah, for sure. So in sales, everybody wants to talk about themselves. “My product, my company, my background, my customers that already bought it that loved it.” And what the best sales people do is they listen. And the idea is that if you’re going to help someone solve a problem, you have to know what it is. And you can’t understand someone’s problem unless you listen to them. So a lot of salespeople, they have an arrogant or their personality is very type A, they’re the alpha, right?
Andy: Sure. Yeah, yeah.
Chris: And what the best sales people, for the first 20 minutes of a call, we make it all about the other person. It’s not about us. It’s not about what we want. It’s about, “What are their goals?” One of the things I use is called the digging deep technique. When you ask someone, “Hey, what are you guys going to go do this weekend?” “Oh, we’re going to go see a movie.” A lot of parents would stop right there. And I would say, “Oh, what movie are you guys going to go to?” “Oh, we’re going to see the Avengers.” “Why’d you choose that one? Which theater are you going to? Who all is going?” If you already booked your tickets, really good questions after the first question.
Chris: But a lot of times people, especially when you’re on the phone, they don’t want to give you everything. People are very standoffish against salespeople. So you’ll ask them this really big, deep question, “Hey, what are your goals in investing in this product?” “Oh, I don’t know, I’m just curious.” You got to be able to go like, “Oh, how long have you been curious? Did you look on the internet? Or did you hear about us through word of mouth?” And then it’s like, “Oh, I heard about it through word of mouth.” “Oh cool. Who’s the person that told you about us? I want to say thank you to them.” And then it’s like, “Oh, Susie told me.” “Oh, how do you know Susie?” I could go forever, you know what I mean?
Andy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chris: You don’t get to their true goal. And so a lot of times salespeople that are bad, they just take those surface level answers and they just keep going, they don’t go deeper and deeper. Think about this, you might have a teenager now, but you used to have a five year old. You used to have a three year old, right? Three year olds are great at this. “Hey daddy, can I watch TV?” “No.” “Why not?” “Because it’s too late.” “Why? Why? Why?” Kids, they always want to know, “Why can’t I? Why do I need to clean my room? Why am I getting grounded?” So kids always do it naturally, and then we stop doing it when we get older.
Andy: Ah, yeah. We feel it’s intrusive or something. That’s so interesting, but okay. So I want to back up even a little bit before that, because what struck me when I was reading your book and the example that you put in with your daughter, you just did this, was with your daughter, we’ll get to that later. That was called a feature benefit tie down. But what I noticed that you did was you tied the act of cleaning the room to something that she wanted, which was having her friend come over. And so I think there’s a fundamental step before you get into any of this, even start digging deep. It’s what direction you start digging. You need to start with something that your teenager wants. If you’re trying to sell something to them, it has to be an exchange somehow.
Andy: You have to be showing them how this thing that you’re selling them will help them get something that they want. And it can be something as simple as maybe even if they seem like they want nothing. I don’t know, if they want money. They want friends. With your daughter, it was just having a friend come over and it was as simple as that. So I think it’s depending on what we’re trying to sell our teenager on, we need to first come up with a thing that they want, that we can use to show them how doing this thing that we want them to do will help them get that.
Chris: Yeah. I don’t say it this way in my book, but as you’re talking through it, I think an easy way to think about it would be like, “Oh, you want something? Well, I need something. You want, I need. I know what you want. I know what I need. I can help you get what you want, if you help me get what I need.” It’s not that complicated, but it’s got to be that symbiotic relationship. And in sales, that’s my job. Right? I have to show that there’s going to be value to you in buying. It’s not just that I get a commission check.
Andy: Yeah. But parents, it’s too often like, “Okay, you need to clean your room.” It’s like we want them to do something, and so the entire conversation is, “Hey, you need to do this thing. Or you need to stop doing this thing that you’re doing, or your grades need to come up or you need to whatever.” And so I think it’s easy to get into a place of not talking in terms of those kinds of back and forths. And those kinds of how we can achieve our goals.
Chris: We’ll, here’s an easier way to remember it. There’s a great book called Start With Why. Why do you want them to clean their room? Why do they want to go to the movies? Why do they want a car? And it’s usually not the first answer. It’s not usually like … you don’t want your kid to clean their room just to make it clean. Your goal is that they’re responsible. And so that they condition themselves to do tasks that they don’t like to do because that’s the real world.
Andy: Totally. yeah, there’s a value.
Chris: [crosstalk 00:10:16] cleaning your room, … you got a 15 year old boy, you’re trying to get him a clean stinky room. You might be better off to connect that, “So do you honestly think any of these girls are ever going to want to date you if your room stinks?” So you have to sort of think about, “What do they want?” they don’t want to clean their room. But they want to go on dates. They want to be cool to their friends. They want to be popular on social media. “Do you realize how many people on Instagram would stop following you if they saw how nasty your room was?” You’ve got to think about it like Velcro.
Andy: I like that. And so we get that thing that they want. And then we dig deep in terms of what that thing is to them or what that means to them or why they would want it. Then how do we use the digging deep technique to uncover … because in your book then, later on when you’re closing and you’re packaging the whole deal together with them, you come back to these things that you discovered during the digging deep phase, right?
Chris: Yeah. Well you asked the 20, 20, 20, right? The idea would be, “I want to spend some time listening to you about what you want. And then I’m going to go take some time and think about my answer. And then I’m going to come back and tell you what my answer is.” Right? So what we’re doing is we’re creating that buffer in the middle so that I know and you know that we’re not going to come to a conclusion during this first little part. This first part of our conversation, I want to make sure I’m listening to what your goals are, but I’m not committing to them. I need to go think about it. And then I’m going to come back to you with my answer. And when you take it that way, there’s way less fighting because you’re not telling them that you’re going to come to a conclusion or give them your answer. You’re just willing to listen to them so that you can make a decision.
Andy: My entire objective here is just to listen to you and understand you better. Yeah. That’s really powerful. So you recommend setting that up with them from the beginning so that they know that that’s what you’re going to do.
Chris: Yeah. No on a sales call, we are taking notes, we would write down their answers. But for the most part, these lightweight interactions and what you do is you take what you learned during the digging deep. And then you put it into a technique called the five yeses. So you spend the 20 minutes and you figure out what their goals are and what they want from you. You go back for 20 minutes and think about your answer. And then when you come back, you say, “You know what? I know earlier you said you really want to go to the movies this weekend. And you want to go see Avengers, and you want your three friends to go with you. Right? Okay, well here’s what I want.” So it’s called the five yeses.
Andy: Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chris: Get them to say, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” And then it’s like, “Okay, you’ll be home by midnight, right?” “Right.” So you’re trying to get that yes that you want, but the way you get it is by getting them to listen and say, “Oh, you know what? Yeah. My dad was listening earlier. He didn’t just hear that I wanted to go to the movies, he listened. He knew that I wanted to go to the movies with John in Winter Park and see the Avengers.”
Chris: That’s a different level of listening. And so when I come into the conversation and say, “Hey, so earlier you said A, B, C and D, right? okay, cool. Well, here’s what I’ve come up with.” That makes them feel like you heard them. Think of like in a restaurant, when you eat out and you have a server, let’s say you’re at a party of eight at a steakhouse and the server’s like, “So what can I get you?” And you’re like, “I want the filet medium rare with this.” “I want the T-bone well done.” And if the server is not writing down what you’re ordering, you start getting worried. Like, “Are you going to remember all of this?”
Andy: Totally, yeah, yeah, yeah. Right.”
Chris: [crosstalk 00:14:07] remember everything. So what a great server does, is they’re like, “Okay cool. So you want the steak, medium rare with a side of asparagus. Got it.” They repeat the order back, so that sort of [inaudible 00:14:19] with the five yeses. You’re just literally repeating back what they told you earlier.
Andy: Yeah. I was listening to you. I totally, I got it all. And then it also has the added benefit of conditioning them to that yes response in that, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes until you get to the thing.”
Chris: [crosstalk 00:14:38] Up and down, and it’s kind of hard to switch to a, “No.”
Andy: Yeah. There’s all those studies showing that. Yeah. Yeah. Just by getting someone to physicalize it or getting them to smile or getting them to nod that does make them more … puts them in a state of acquiescence and makes them more likely to capitulate later on in the process, which is cool. So even this example is pretty simple. Your kid wants to go to the movies and see the Avengers this weekend. So how deep would you dig in that? You know what I mean? We’re trying to uncover the subconscious motivations leading your child to seek seeing the Avengers, or are we just trying to uncover what time they want to go or how deep do we dig?
Chris: I think it’s a little bit of both. The way I try to explain it is you want to uncover the logical and emotional reasons, right? So the logical reasons are, “My friends are going.” Or, “It starts at 11.” Or, “It’s not rated R.” That’s the logics. The emotion is usually, “If I don’t go, my friends are going to make fun of me.” Or, “I’m not going to be as cool because I don’t go.”
Andy: And then when they’re talking about it tomorrow, I won’t be in on it because I won’t have seen it, and I’ll miss out on that.
Chris: Exactly. That’s where their head’s at. It’s not just that they missed the movie, it’s that they missed the time with their buddies. They missed the experience and now they feel inferior on Monday. My parents were always really strict growing up, and they wouldn’t let me watch certain TV shows. They wouldn’t let me listen to radio stations. I was never allowed to listen to rap music with cursing. I was never allowed to watch rated R movies, and it wasn’t that I really missed out on anything. It was more just that I would get made fun of by my friends that I couldn’t do those things.
Andy: You feel like an outsider a little bit. So we try to dig deep to uncover the logical and the emotional reasons behind why they want whatever the thing is. And then is that the main focus of the first 20 minutes? Or then is there anything else that we do during that time to get them to open up?
Chris: You know, part of it is you want to build trust, that’s one of them. There’s a technique that I use called one plus one equals trust, where you don’t want to go too deep. It’s your kid, or if you’re a company and you’re trying to build trust, could imagine that if you over explain how trustworthy you are, then you don’t sound trustworthy.
Andy: Yeah, right. You’re trying too hard.
Chris: One thing you can do is … We use a statistic and a co-brand right. So in this role play or in this example, I would say something like, “ell, the last three times you asked if you could go to the movies, I did say yes. And I let you go to Disney with your friends. So it’s not that I’m not open-minded.” So it’s sort of using statistics or examples of when you said yes in the past. “And the last 10 times you asked me to do something, I’ve told you yes most of the times.” So it’s just trying to quantify the trust.
Andy: I like that. Yeah. Yeah. And then the co-brand is just the fact that you mentioned Disney in there?
Chris: Well, the co-brand is more what they’re doing to you. They’re saying, “I want to go see the Avengers. It’s the number one movie in America.” they’re not really saying, “I want to go to the movies to watch a movie.” They’re saying, “I want to go see the Avengers.” That’s them co-branding. “It’s the number one movie in America.” That’s them trying to build trust.
Andy: I see. It’s statistic. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chris: So it works kind of both ways in this example.
Andy: Yeah, interesting.
Chris: Yeah, it’s almost like, “Well, I let you go to prom so I’ll probably let you do this too, but I still want to think about it.” Or when you ask me [crosstalk 00:18:38]. “I got you the Ford you asked for, so I’ll think about this.” You don’t want to make it about, “Do you trust me right now?” It’s more about, “You should trust me because of our history together.”
Andy: We’ve got a preexisting thing here. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s really cool. And that’s a great way to do it. It’s nice because I hadn’t thought about this. Because in your book, you’re really talking about making a sale to someone who just submitted on your website or someone who you’re talking to pretty much for the first time, but I hadn’t thought about it, but it’s cool that what you do with your teenager, since you have this relationship is that statistic doesn’t have to be, “Oh, these are our numbers.” It can actually be something between the two of you. It can be about your relationship and about your past performance with this person. And that just makes it so much stronger to build that trust. That’s really cool. So.
Chris: Let me give you one other little trick that folks can use at the beginning. There’s a thing called gaining control. In every interaction, usually one person is going to end up being in charge and one person’s going to be the listener and the talker. Right? And so one thing you can do is when you tell someone to do something and they do it, you’re sort of the one that takes the lead. When I walk my dog, my dog takes the lead, right? I don’t walk my dog, my dog walks me. So what you can do, and specially every kid has phones, right? So what you can do is before you even start being like, “Hey Maya, grab your phone and bring it over here. I want you to write something down.” And in telling them to do something. And they come over, “Hey, pull up your note pad. I want to give you a note that you don’t forget later.”
Chris: And just by that, because they’re going to do it as a kid. So they grab their phone, they go to the notes, “What do you need me to write down?” So by you telling them to do something and them doing it … you could even say, “Oh, you want to go to the theater, grab your phone for me, pull up the movie and the theater that you’re going to go to. I want to see it on the map.” [crosstalk 00:20:40]. And it’s just a small, subtle thing, but the concept is, if I tell you to do something and you do it, that’s good. Because at the end I want to tell you to do something and you’re going to do it.
Chris: So when we call the lead over the phone, a lot of times in the first minute, as soon as they pick up it’s like, “oh, hey Andy. Well, do me a favor man, I’ve got some information about my company. Can you grab a pen and paper and let me know when you’re ready?” And then they start looking for that pen and paper and [crosstalk 00:21:11].
Andy: Yeah, totally.
Chris: And that’s called pattern interrupt. It’s sort of like they think you’re about to have a conversation with them, and you kind of throw them a curve ball and ask them to go grab something or ask them to go do something. And that’s a good way to start the tongue. It’s even as something as simple as like, “Hey Maya, come here. I want to talk to you.” And then she has a light on in her room. “Hey, go turn your light off before we talk. I want to talk about something serious.”
Andy: Ah, yeah. It doesn’t even have to be related. And it’s small, something that seems as unobtrusive as possible so that they’ll do it and feels natural. But yeah, it just like subtly establishes that power dynamic, I think in a cool way.
Chris: Exactly. Like a lot of real estate agents, they’ll use a trick where let’s say they’re going to somebody’s home to do a listing appointment. They get invited over. And one of the tricks they’ll use is as soon as they get, they’ll say, “Hey, I came from across town. Would you mind grabbing me a water?” It doesn’t sound unnatural, they’re probably thirsty, but it’s like I one minute in the door, I’m telling you to do something and you’re doing it, that’s a good indicator that when I tell you to sign the contract, you’ll do it.
Andy: So where can people go to find out more about you and these techniques that you’re teaching and it sounds like you’re working on another book too, which sounds great. So yeah, the way I found out about you was by reading your book, The Conversion Code, which I loved. Is that the best place for some people to-
Chris: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:22:38] check us out, man. Audible, Amazon, anywhere you buy books, you can find it. Each of these little techniques is in the book. We talked about feature benefit, tie down, and the science of sales, it’s all in there. Just some beautiful graphics and visuals that go along with it. I have a thing here called the closers creed. And I actually think it’s really relevant because this was not meant to be … I never even thought about this for parents until right now, but let me read the closures creed to you because I think it applies and I never even thought about it. But the first part of the closers creed is that, yes, it’s not an accident. Yes. It’s happened on purpose. The next one is that conversations create closings. So what that means is that if it’s not a conversation, if it’s a monologue, not as dualogue, I can’t convinced them buy, right?
Chris: Here’s another one, dig deeper or go to sleep. If you’re not willing to really go deep with your kids’ true goals and true motivations. You might as well not even wake up and have the conversation with them. The other one is you’re in charge. Let’s be honest. These are your kids, you’re in charge. A lot of times it feels like they’re in charge and you have [crosstalk 00:24:10]. You’re in charge. The last one is, every word counts. And hopefully that’s what I was able to convey today, is that if you’ll be a surgeon and you’ll be surgical with your approach, you’ll get better results than just hacking and using an ax and kind of spraying and preying. So hopefully The Conversion Code can create some better parents and some better teenagers.
Andy: Because like you say, every word counts and you matter. And I think that’s a great takeaway is just that parents really can have some serious influence. We’re finding it in our research. And I think these techniques that you lay out in your book and that we talked about here today are a great framework that people can use to have more impact. And I really hope people go and check out your book to get more information about it and really excited for your next book as well. That sounds great.
Chris: Thank you. I appreciate it, man. Yeah, my first book was called People Work. That’s about how to put people first in a digital world. So that one I think could help a lot of people. My latest book is just called … it’s an eBook. It’s just a little side project called Death of a Salesforce. And I just talk about how much of a grind it is to be in sales, to get told, “No” all the time, how it impacts your health, how it impacts your marriage, how it impacts your mindset and … there’s a very famous play called, “Death of a Salesman.” And there’s very famous company called Salesforce. So we wrote a book called, “Death of a Salesforce.” And it’s going to be good. So people can go to curator any time to check that out. Curator.com.
About Chris Smith
Chris Smith is a USA Today bestselling author and the co-founder of Curaytor, a social media, digital marketing and sales coaching company.
In less than four years, Chris used the blueprint in his book, The Conversion Code, to grow Curaytor to over $10 million in annual, recurring revenue. His work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine and many other publications.
Prior, Chris worked for two billionaires (Dan Gilbert and Lou Pearlman), a near billion dollar publicly traded company (Move Inc.), and a startup (DotLoop) that was acquired for $108 million (by Zillow Group).