When you were a child, were you told to avoid talking to strangers?

Were you confident in approaching people or were you shy?

What causes this?  Do you think we are born either confident or shy, or is it a result of how we are brought up?  Or a combination of both?

I witnessed something extraordinary on the weekend.

Myself and 3 other mentors have been involved in a non for profit company called Club Kidpreneur

Over the past 8 weeks, we have been helping children aged 8 to 11 learn to run a business.  On the weekend they were at the markets in Brisbane selling their products.  It was so much fun watching them.  All of them made a profit which was exciting.  It was also extremely rewarding watching the kids learn lessons I would have loved to have learnt at that age.

There was one girl that really stood out from the rest.  Her name was Isabella.  Over the space of 2 hours, Isabella would have approached a stranger walking past every 2-3 minutes.

She would bowl up to the stranger and invite them to come over to her stand and asked them if they would like to buy her chocolate chip biscuits.  I would guess that 2 out of 3 people she approached came over to the table and about 90% of those would have bought something.  Her sister stood behind the table and took care of the money side of things.

What was so extraordinary, was Isabella didn’t stop.  She didn’t allow the people that rejected her to slow her down.  She kept up for the full 2 hours she was allowed to run her store.  AND – she made a lot of money (more in the space of 2 hours that I see some business owners make in a week).

And that was when I realized that apart from having an ok product, this is the ONLY skill you need to run a great business.  At the end of the day nothing else matters.  If you can approach people, handle the rejections but keep going – then you will do really well.

The problem is – so many people get stuck with the approach part.  Why is this?  Two reasons:

1. Beliefs. A belief is something that we hold to be true.  Many people have formed a belief (sadly from an early age) that it’s       wrong to approach people and interfere with what that they are doing.  We get the feeling that we are being like a second hand car sales person or a telemarketer-  Interfering with people and what they are currently doing.  This belief system sadly has an extremely big detriment to many aspiring entrepreneurs and their companies.

2. Fear. The fear of rejection is possibly the biggest fear that holds business owners back.  They simply don’t like it when people say no, therefore will do what ever it takes to avoid situations that could result in a no.

So what is the solution to all of these?   Well – I see there are two things we can do:

1. Be careful with how you train your children. Are you drumming into them to avoid approaching strangers? What are the long term consequences of this? Maybe teach them to be very wary of when strangers approach them, but you could teach them how to approach strangers?  I still don’t know a better skill.

2. Overcome the beliefs you may hold and the fears you may have by taking action. There is no better way to beat fear than running at it.  When you run at a fear or a negative belief system, it will run away.  Action is the only way to combat this unfortunate disease that sends so many business owners broke.

Have a great day and remember – get on the phone or go and approach someone.

You never know what might happen.


P.S. If you are interested in being involved with club kidpreneur, please email me at Andrew@andrewroberts.com.au

Comments 6

  1. Brilliant article Andrew. I talk a lot about this with my clients who are thinking about having their own business and the ability to intitiate contact with people. It’s a skills that I find alot of people are afraid of, yet there are so many people out there who would like to be interrupted.

    Me, I love being sold to. If someone looks after me in a store I always buy more things because I value the skills they have and I like the experience. Lazy sales people miss sales from me easily.

    To learn this from a young age is totally invaluable because it creates more choices for us later in life. It’s so much harder to draw on a skill that you have never used at a later age in life, so to learn this skill, cognitively in the longer term totally pays off when you’re feeling like you have a business in you to get out there and have a real chance at it being successful!

    Thanks again, I hope you don’t mind but I have shared your link and story. Thank you for sharing it!

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  2. Great article Andrew.
    Rejection – or the fear of is the biggest loss of potential business in the sales arena.
    I conducted a sales training session on Wednesday, and as always I stressed the importance of “going for the NO” – then you can explore the “why not” and uncover objections.
    Always remember “maybe” is a deferred “no” – if you’re not on the train it goes without you.

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  3. Brilliant, brilliant , brilliant. Am preparing a speech today and will borrow the findings from the kidspreneur club. Would love to become involved at some stage when out kids get a little older. Sam

  4. Nice Article…….so many people hesitate to talk to strangers be cause of mind conditioning from childhood n fear cripples the m further ………would like to read such useful information n implying in my own life …Julie…love the solutions.

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