Sales Secrets I Learned From My Son: Selling Popcorn

Sales skills in your business can be a challenging skill to master.  Many of my coaching clients and entrepreneurs out there struggle with sales in their business. Mostly because we have learned too many bad habits and absorbed too many negative thoughts about selling and the nature of sells.

Today however, our children have the opportunity to learn about sales as soon as they hit elementary school….it comes in the form of fundraising.

Let’s face it, fundraising is a part of childhood now.  And no matter if you love it or not, it actually can teach our children some valuable lesson.

For my boys, every fall means fundraising for Cub Scouts and POPCORN!


Last year was the first year for both boys to sell popcorn and both boys wanted to sell $500 worth of popcorn for the prizes.

Being HIGHLY competitive with each other, I divided the streets up so one would knock on doors for one side of the street and one would knock on doors for the other side of the street.

It seemed like a good split.

But after each sale, they would celebrate – “I got one Edwin.  I got one Christian.”


Then by the end of each street they would still compare –

“How much did you sell?” “What are you at?”

And something interesting came about.

Christian sold more items than Edwin.  But Edwin sold more in total dollars.

Christian was broken hearted.  He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t in the lead. He was selling to more people! In Christian’s mind, he was working harder.

Digging into it, it became clear.  Edwin had half the sales, but sold more of the Chocolate Lovers Pack, the most expensive item available, $55 / per sale.

Christian sold a lot of the ‘Cheese Lovers Pack’, but it was only $33/sale.


When Christian asked his brother how he was selling so many, Edwin simply stated.

“When they ask me what I like, I tell them the Chocolate Lovers Pack.”

What was interesting is that even if they chose not to buy the Chocolate Lovers Pack, Edwin average sale was still larger than Christian’s.

Why is that?

Well, it is a bit of good ol’ psychology.

By offering the most expensive option first, Edwin had a higher likelihood to selling that option.  But the power of suggestion also moved people to spend more than they might have otherwise, thus boosting his average sale.

Let’s be honest – who needs $55 of popcorn?  The price was supersedes the tangible value.

dont sell yourself short motivation he and she

But Edwin sold them on the value that everyone loves chocolate, so will you AND you get the added benefit of helping out the scout pack.

Edwin and Christian both were putting forth the same effort, telling similar stories – the difference was in the price & product that they offered.

So here’s your business coaching moment:

  1. Offer the highest price, highest value first.
  2. It’s not about working harder, often times it is about selling smarter.
  3. Celebrate each win.
  4. A little competition in sales can be good.
  5. When someone is selling more than you, ask them how they are doing it.

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