When leaving work yesterday, I drove past a home with a giant sign in the yard that read “COOKIES SOLD HERE.” Now, I assure you that since a young age, I was taught not to take food or candy from strangers. But this sign was HUGE. And it had a picture of Samoas and Thin Mints on it. Can you blame me for slamming on my brakes and narrowly missing the mailbox in front of me? Cookies?! Sold here?!
I’d be lying if I said I hesitated, because frankly I didn’t. I pulled into the driveway and sprinted to the door that I hoped led to a land of deliciousness. I was right. A cheery, bright-eyed, badge-filled, sash-wearing Girl Scout and her mother opened the door. With cookies in hand and her sales pitch perfected, she won me over. I left happily with 6 boxes.
After killing one box on the drive home, I opened a second as I sat down at my computer to do a little research on today’s Girl Scouts. Turns out, just as I suspected, they’re amazing sales women. And not just because they post signs in their yards and (did you know this?!) often carry business cards with a parent’s contact info, just in case you want to buy box #7…which I do. They no longer just go door-to-door and setup shop outside your local grocery store. These little girls are sales geniuses.
Here are 5 tips on how you, too, can sell like a Girl Scout.
- Get your selling material in order. Girl Scouts, true to their name, are prepared for anything. They don’t just go forth with cookies in hand, they have “cookie sheets” (elaborate charts with nutritional information), a prize sheet to track their own progress, data pages to capture buyer information and, believe it or not, some even have business cards. When that little girl opened her door, she was ready and waiting to impress me. Do you have extra applications, fact sheets, fliers and extra business cards on hand, at all times? Is your sales script perfected?
- Look the part. We’ve all seen the tiny vests, filled with merit badges and pins. I even read on one blog, “Even if your daughter is long past the pigtail stage, wear them. Never underestimate the power of cute.” While I think that might be a bit overboard, I do think you can’t overestimate the power of professionalism. Do you meet your clients in jeans or a suit? You have your license, but are there any other designations to your name? Certifications and licenses are like merit badges and pins—earn what you can!
- Join a “Cookie Club.” The Girl Scouts of America have a strict rule about young girls using email and social media, so in their place, they’ve created the Cookie Club, a kid-friendly site where they can share information with friends and family about their goals, track sales and, of course, sell cookies. There’s no rule stopping you from utilizing social media and doing exactly what they’re doing. Share information, sell your product, and use analytics to track your progress.
- Create a sales video. Along with using the Cookie Club, many Girl Scouts today are making their own sales video for their parents to post on Facebook or email to their friends. They include nutritional facts and information about their troop and goals. Along with posting a video to social media, you could put a video on your website, or send one to your clients. Offer facts, product information and give satisfied clients a chance to forward your information as a referral. Viral videos are the new door-to-door sale.
- Create customer loyalty. Girl Scouts create a loyal customer base by taking care of each and every client. They write thank you notes, hand deliver products in a timely manner, and follow up each year. The house I stopped at had posted a sign to alert their neighbors that she was available at all times to meet their cookie needs. Are you a 9 to 5 agent, or do you make yourself available after hours? Do you send thank you notes and follow up each year to go over your clients’ needs? Have you ever hand delivered a disability insurance policy to a local client?
Maybe you’re not quite ready to stick a giant sign in your yard saying “FINANCIAL SECURITY SOLD HERE,” but as the Girl Scouts say, “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.” So, are you prepared?