sell something, anything

Robots don’t make very good sales(wo)men.

And that’s a strong signal we need more time in school practicing to be good sales(wo)men.

Do we need more used cars on the roads? No.

But it takes an undeniable degree of courage for the guy at Ray’s Used Car Emporium to say, “hello.” Especially when 8 times out of 10 there’s no sale to be made.

And that same sort of courage is useful when we’re speaking up in a meeting, organizing a rally or running for office. It helps us overcome the voice in our head when it’s loudest (aka right before we say “here, I made this”).

So, how can we help students practice selling? Here’s an idea to get the ball rolling.

Break students up into groups of 4. Have them bring an object in from home that their parents don’t mind them selling. As a group, have them practice their sales pitch. What’s the pitch? What questions should they anticipate? Why should someone buy it?

Once they’ve practiced let them loose on Ebay/Craigslist/Door to door (with supervision). After a week, ask them to report back to the class on what happened. What worked? What didn’t? What would they do differently next time?

Note: this activity doesn’t require material objects. Selling someone an idea in exchange for an email address, pledge, signature can be just as difficult/intimidating…

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