Profiting from Your Local 9 Year Old (Guest Post by Sharon Livingston)

Here’s a little something you can profit from which my wife felt inspired to write the other day after an intriguing interaction with our 9 year old niece…

I have to tell you a story about my adorable niece Sarah. She’s 9 and very active, bright, fun, but whenever you ask her what she wants to do she says, “I dunno.” Or if you ask her what she wants for her birthday, she says “I dunno.” Or if you ask her where she wants to go, she says “I dunno.” AND, she’s been doing this since she was 2.

It was her birthday a few weeks ago and she and I got to spend the day together. I took her to my favorite place for a mani/pedi. We went to pottery place and painted pottery and then I asked her what she’d like to do next – what was I thinking – and she told me to call her Mother [my sister in law] and ask her what we should do. Of course, Sis, said, “whatever the two of you want to do!” Now we know where she got that from.

So, I’ve been strategizing how to help Sarah tell me what she wants. Last week Glenn and I were scheduled to babysit Sarah and her 11 yr old Brother Ben. Before we went over, I again asked Sarah what she’d like to do. Duh! She said, “I dunno.” Well, at least she’s consistent.

Then I had a brainstorm. Sarah, on a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is something you’d really like to do and 1 is something you really wouldn’t want to do, how much would you like to stare at a bowl of goldfish? She said, 2. Woo hoo!! I got an opinion. Then I asked her, and how much would you like to go to the movies? She said “9” OMG!!! Could this be working? And, how much would you like to stay home and work on a puzzle? “10” Wow!!! And how much would you like to go play miniature golf? “9”

We stayed home and made a puzzle, as well as danced, read Harry Potter outloud [again] and watched the Mets lose in the background.

So, research techniques REALLY do work!!! What took me so long to figure it out!!!

Then last night, Glenn and I and Laurie and the kids went to Good Karma Cafe for dinner in Exeter. Dad Sam was busy with his buds. We ordered our organic vegan fare and were about to sit down. Glenn and I like to drink a fizzy probiotic Kombucha. I got two bottles, Strawberry Serenity and Passion Fruit. I asked Glenn which he preferred. He said “either one” I said “really?” On a scale of 1- 10 where 10 is the highest and 1 the lowest what number would you give Strawberry. “6” And, Passion Fruit? “9” Ha! It works in lots of places I’ll bet.


So how can we profit from this as marketers?

  • First of all, remember that consumers HATE to make decisions, so don’t make them think!  (“Thinking is the hardest work there is, that’s why hardly anyone ever does it” – Henry Ford)   I see website all over the place which require customers to “do the math”, but nobody wants to do math when they’re in a buying mood.  They’re (hopefully) entranced by your emotional appeal and swept away in their impulses.  If you make them think, they’re probably gonna say NO!
  • Second, and this might be obvious but I’ll say it anyway, when you’re doing surveys and opinion polls and you DO want your research participants (prospects and customers) to think, don’t force them into excruciating choices.  Give them an “out” by letting them express LEVELS of interest or concern.   “Which would you prefer?”, asked on it’s own, is kind of the equivalent of playing those torturous games we all used to in college where you ask someone to choose between two impossible alternatives.  (“Which would you prefer, drowning in a pool of camel urine or being repeatedly poked in the eye by an oaf with dirty finger nails?”  The answer, of course is “Neither, I’ll just slap YOU, thank you very much!”)
  • Third, don’t force yourself to write three major points for every significant essay.  If there are only two, say there are only two.  Otherwise you’ll just look silly 🙂

That’s it!

Dr. G 🙂

PS – Just a few hours until the price goes up on the Coach Certification Academy.  (Sharon and I are STILL personally teaching at this price, but not for much longer)