Yet another example of how good children are at using sales techniques. The Choice of Two Positives is a well-known technique in the sales world and it is also recommended by many parenting books when it comes to raising your children.
For example, ask your kids whether they want to put on socks with pictures of cars or planes; red or yellow pants etc. The goal is to convince the child to wear something a bit more suitable for the day ahead instead of the PJs with duck pictures which they believe to be a true fashion statement. This way they maintain the feeling of control over their wardrobe choices and the parents come away feeling victorious. Hey, we have to take the wins wherever we can get them 😀
Unfortunately, the apples of my eye do not fall for this technique. They seem to always prefer a choice that has never been on the table…insert eye roll. In fact, their choice is so far from the table one cannot even see it anymore. “Would you like pea soup or meatball soup for lunch, my dear son?” I ask. “Pancakes” he answers with the utmost determination and is already fishing out the pan and getting the flour out from the drawer.
Even though the technique of the choice of two positives does not really work on my sons, they have mastered the use of it for their own gain and use it on their dear parents with a great success rate. The students have become the masters and they put their skills to use just the other day.
We got in the Christmas spirit rather early this year. We had a Christmas tree brightening up our living room already at the end of November. The boys and I had a blast decorating the tree; we sang Christmas carols and my two little elves decided that the living room floor, the couch, and their dad needed a little more sparkle on them so it was glitter galore in the Tell household.
We had so much fun and my older son was absolutely ecstatic by all of it. He was adamant about sharing his early Christmas cheer with someone. However, since Santa’s elves were stubbornly sticking to their schedule and didn’t show themselves yet, we had to find solutions elsewhere.
“Mommy, when are we getting visitors?” he asked demandingly. “Hmm, maybe nanna will come over one of these days…” I replied. “Huh, but when are we going to visit someone then?” he kept asking. “I can’t really say… Not any day soon” I had to admit. “Hey, your majesty (at least I’m getting some kind of respect 😀 ), make up your mind. Either we are visiting someone TODAY or we’re inviting friends over. Which one will it be?” the little prince said while standing in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips and a stern look on his face. Talk about a power play. The only thing missing was stomping his foot as he made his announcement.
The choice of two positives is essentially an offer of two options but the outcome of either one is positive for YOU. As per this example, either we go visit someone or someone will come over to us. The positive outcome for the kids is that no matter what, they get to spend time with someone else besides their parents. In any case, you should begin with a wider selection of options and start narrowing it down as you go along.
The conversation could proceed by asking whether we should go now or in an hour. Should it be just the two of us or should we bring your brother and father along? Should we bring a cake or fruit?
By asking these questions, we keep directing them to the notion that we are definitely going for a visit and we’re just going over the details.
My little sales guru is rather direct and he knows that when the client is confused then you have to decide for them. “I think we will go and visit someone” he announced with an air of confidence and made his way to the front door where he was already putting on his jacket. As a side note, I should mention that we hadn’t decided who we were going to visit but that little detail didn’t seem to matter much at the time.
So there I was, slightly confused and sitting on the living room floor which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea due to the amount of glitter on it which was probably all over my backside now. I was surrounded by the newly decorated tree in all its glory; Jingle Bells was coming from the speakers and I had to come up with a way to pump the brakes on my little eager beaver. Luckily, I had a final ace up my sleeve – the car keys were still in my pocket. Aah the little victories.
Let me know if you have ever used this choice of two positives or maybe you now realize that someone has used it successfully with you?
You know the best time to act is now, right?
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