Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Millionaire Businessman's Way of Motivating Children (and the Child Inside All of Us!)

Motivate your children!

What child doesn't want to feel like a winner?
What adult doesn't have a child inside?

Yesterday's post about being a good salesman and selling by taking the time to find out what people want and thereby motivating them to talk to you and buy your services. In that post: Good Salesmen Do Not Sell Their Product... They Sell Solutions For Customer's Problems please refer to:

Whether with an introduction or none, the good salesman will always be able to open doors and start conversations when their approach is totally geared upon providing a solution to the prospective customers needs.

The client is not interested in what you want to sell. The client is only interested in finding a solution to their problem.

If you can be a part of that solution, you will be a great salesman and make big money. So remember to always think of your prospective customer needs first. Never meet a new client and start discussing your product. Always start discussions on their problems and needs. Sell people what they want to buy. Sell them a solution to their problems.

Marc Sheffner, a great blogger and teacher, wrote to me and said: 

Seriously, tho, tomorrow morning I have this particularly difficult class of young people. Reading your post, I wonder if I have not focused a little too much on what I want them to buy, and assumed that what I'm selling is (of course) a solution for them, one that they want (otherwise they wouldn't be in my class, right?).

Perhaps so, Marc. May I also recommend to you (everybody!), once again, to read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnagie? Please don't take my rcommendation as my foolishly thinking I am wise enough to give any sort of advice to anyone... Trust that I have and need to continually read this book. In fact, I even bought this book for someone who is much smarter than me... My wife! And I gave it to her just a few weeks ago! (OK... Maybe she ain't all that smart. After all, she married me, right? Chuckle!) 

Why did I buy this book for my wife? Well, let me give you some back ground. Take a moment to allow me to indulge in what we called in Japan "馬鹿親" Baka Oya (Stupid parents). I am a baka oya. Baka oya are parents who like to brag about their kids too much. So, I guess that means, that all parents are stupid because what parent doesn't want to brag about their kids?

My son plays classical piano. He got a late start and started at 5. (Trust me folks, for the classical piano world, that's a late start). Even though he started late, last year, he won a prestigeous award from the Japan National Piano Teacher's and Instructor's Association. That award put him in the top 20 seven to nine year old piano students in the entire country. We were, of course, so proud! 

My son practices, and has always practiced with his mom at least one hour a day, everyday, seven-days-a-week, 365 days a year. Sometimes they practice twice a day for an hour or two hours!) No misses. He does this religiously. Every day. Over and over. There's no stopping.

Now, consider, my friends, what it takes to get a 5 ~ 7-year-old to sit down at a piano and practice hard everyday? Most parents have a hard time getting their children to sit down and be quiet for five minutes! How does one motivate a small child to do something like this? Surely, we all know that yelling and threats do not work. There must be a secret to motivating children. 

My wife has been excellent at it!

Recently, though, there's been a trouble a brewing! At least twice, after piano practice with his regular teacher, my wife complained that he figeted and didn't pay attention. On three occassions, recently at home or during practice, either he came down crying or my wife came downstairs and angrily flopped on the sofa in total frustration.

The other day, when this happened for the second time, I asked my wife, "What's wrong?"

She then started complaining and reciting again the troubles I just listed. Ironically, I had been rereading "How to Win Friends and Influence People"... In one chapter in the book, Carnagie refers to getting children to do something they don't want to do. In that chapter he speaks of finding the child's motivation and finding a way to spark that.

Carnagie recalls an interesting story in the book. A woman complained to Carnagie that her sons at college would never write back to her no matter what she did. She had tried pleading and begging, even threats didn't work. Carnagie bet her that he could get the sons to write back to him immediately. 

In Carnagie's letters to the sons (I seem to remember that the boys were his nephews) he wrote something like, "I am proud to hear that you are doing well in college. Please find, enclosed in this letter, a check for $10 to spend on whatever you wish." He then intentionally forgot to enclose the check. Within a few days, both boys had written back "Thank you" notes and politely mentioned that there was no check.

Talk about finding a college student's motivation!

I ordered the book, in Japanese, for my wife. When it arrived, I gave it to her. At first, she seemed insulted. She said,

"I read this book long ago! I know all about it."

Yes. I was sure she has. It would have taken someone quite versed in this knowledge to have gotten a 5-year-old to sit down at a piano for an hour a day - and have that child actually enjoy it! I have read this book too. From reading it, I learned a thing about how to respond to a defensive comment like this one from my wife. I politely and calmly responded.

"Yes. I figured you already know everything in this book. But, since we have been having a small bit of trouble with our son's discipline recently, I reread the book and thought, perhaps, you'd enjoy reading it again too. I thought, perhaps, that maybe we were doing something differently than we were doing before and that, if we thought about it, perhaps we could do things a little bit better."

That totally disarmed her and with a kiss on the cheek, I went off to work. 

A few days later, I received an unexpected email from my wife. It said,


I read the book. I know almost everything in it as I have read it before. But sometimes, I see that I have been forgetting to do things this way. This book is so very useful to me. Thank you."

Thank god I reread that book. Had I not, my wife and I might have gotten into a fight about the way things were heading. If I hadn't applied what I learned in that book, here's what probably would have happened:

1) Our son would still not be practicing diligently  
2) My wife would be getting angry and frustrated
3) Piano practice would have started turning into a very unpleasant experience for all involved (which might end any future piano dreams)
4) I might get angry at my son and shout at him
5) I might have gotten frustrated with the entire situation and my wife and I would get into fights
6) Nothing positive would have been accomplished.

But, as it turned out, I kindly and politely gave the book to my wife with the words, "Perhaps we could do things a little bit better." Here's what happened:

1) My wife and I have a closer relationship and understanding
2) My wife was reminded of the magic she used to get her son to practice diligently and seriously before
3) Practice has been going well
4) My son is happy because, instead of anger, he gets praise
5) Only positive things have been accomplished.

What a relief. And it's all so simple.

I highly recommend "How to Win Friend's and Influence People" by Dale Carnagie whether you are dealing with clients or staff or even your own kids... Because, after all, we all ARE children inside.

Learn to motivate that child and you will prosper! Learn to motivate that child who lives in all of us and you will be extremely successful! 

NOTE: My son's most popular video on Youtube has over 7,000 views! It was made when he was only six! See it here

children, coworkers, happy family, positve, practice, sales, worker, Dale Carnagie, happy, business, How to Win Friend's and Influence People, motivate, motivation, piano, 

1 comment:

Marc Sheffner said...

How do you persuade someone who is convinced that nuclear power must be scrapped and the only alternative is alternatives, so to speak? Prof. Lenz takes a tip from Dale Carnegie.

Lenz likes the book so much he recently re-typed it.