What ‘Sesame Street’ Can Teach Us About Selling

What ‘Sesame Street’ Can Teach Us About Selling

On Nov. 10, 1969, Joan Ganz Cooney debuted a new children’s program on public television. Up to that point, she’d been a documentary filmmaker. However, her true love was education-based television, and she wanted to create something that would resemble the highly popular “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In.” She hired a gentlemen named Jim Henson to create puppets – “Sesame Street” was born.* 

Many of us grew up with Jim Henson’s characters, and they still resonate today. “Sesame Street” probably taught you about letters and numbers, and could also teach you a thing or two about selling. The show’s success can be attributed to several of Joan’s strategies: 

  • Segments were short and to the point – it layered education and leveraged repetition 
  • They used various media – animation, human actors and puppets
  • Shows were generally upbeat and fun

When working with clients, think how you can use those elements to be successful: 

  • In today’s world of distractions, we have to be to the point. We’re trying to build long-lasting relationships, but our clients think in short bursts of attention. Let things build with time and repetition. 

  • Find ways to best communicate with each client or prospect. The options are endless – emails, letters, phone calls, brochures, handouts, slides, videos … the list goes on. You have to be prepared because clients are doing their research before they ever meet you.  

  • We must remain positive. While we have a responsibility to discuss the “not so pleasant” realities of life, there’s no reason to be negative about any products, services or circumstances. During periods of volatility and economic uncertainty, our clients want someone to look them in the eye and tell them, “It’s going to be OK” or, “This is what we need to do right now.” No website or robo-advisor can do that for them. 


Bottom Line

Simple usually wins. Think about making things “Sesame Street simple” for your clients to understand. It will improve your communication and your impact. 

 *Morning MoneyBeat Factoid, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10, 2015

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.