WHAT ARE WE TEACHING OUR KIDS?
I came across this scene in our garage one late spring day...
Since the weather in Ohio had FINALLY taken a positive turn, my
youngest son, Ian (9 at the time), and a friend had set up a lemonade
And, in case you need a translation, it says, “Fifth customer gets their
As I read this, I had two thoughts:
1. “Great thinking, kid. That’s my boy – following in his dad’s
2. “What in the world are we teaching our kids?”
At first, I was proud of his creative thinking and marketing prowess.
At such an early age, to figure out that creating an “offer” often helps
to drive sales is pretty impressive, I think. (I may be a little biased!)
And, it’s true, offers like this can generate interest, give you something
specific to focus on, and ultimately increase sales.
My second thought was this: while there’s nothing wrong with special
offers, discounts and teasers, depending on them for the long run can
be detrimental. (Okay, maybe not so much for my son, but for
businesses, in general!) I realized that “we” – society – are teaching
our kids that FREE, DISCOUNTED, BUY-ONE-GET-ONE, or
any other offer is the ONLY way to get people to buy our stuff.
We’re teaching them that “salesmanship” is all about providing your
product or service at a discount (or even free) in order to get
someone to buy.
So, what if Ian had done the opposite?
What if, instead of offering the fifth customer a free lemonade, his
sign said, “Nana’s Old-Fashioned Lemonade” and with every cup
sold, they gave away a little notecard with Nana’s Old-Fashioned
Lemonade recipe on it? Then, I bet they could charge $1.00 rather
than 50 cents. They wouldn’t have to give anything away, and they’d
double their revenue!
Instead of discounting, they’d be providing added value.
Rather than cheapening their product, they’d be increasing its value.
Free, discounts, and other offers DO work sometimes.
But, what if you didn’t HAVE to give away your products or
What if you could actually charge full price...or even increase your
What if you offered so much value through your product or service
that people would be willing to pay almost anything for it? When you
educate, inform, and entertain, beyond just producing a great
product, you build credibility and increase interest.
So, let’s stop discounting our products and services. Instead,
let’s offer more value, more information, more help.
Maybe I’m being a little tough on Ian; he was only nine!
But, just so you know, I did NOT take away his iPad because he
focused too much on discounting his product and not enough on
It just got me thinking...that’s all.