An Uncopyable Seller of Girl Scout Cookies
Meet Christine. As the daughter of one of my best friends, I had the privilege of watching her grow up. Among other accomplishments, Christine became a top seller of Girl Scout Cookies. She won awards for selling more cookies than anyone else in her troop and her Service Unit. In fact, she became one of the top sellers in all of Western Washington! She was rewarded: besides making a tidy profit, she got to go to Girl Scout Camp for FREE. (Who doesn't like FREE)?
There were, and are, a lot of girls who sell Girl Scout cookies. How did Christine become so successful? How did she become, in my mind, Uncopyable? Full disclosure - I personally contributed. I bought - and ate - a bunch of cookies (according to my bathroom scale, I may have overdone it). But, it took a lot more than my own trunk load of cookies (!) to get her to the top. Here's what I saw:
Christine was determined. Before the selling season, she had to commit to the number of cookies she believed she could sell. She set her sights high. She wanted to be the best, and pushed herself by ordering A LOT of cookies.
She worked hard. She stood outside local grocery stores in the cold and the rain for hours at a time (according to her mom, who accompanied her, many many hours.)
She was creative, and different. Check out her sign. $4 a box, or 5 for $20, it reads. Okay, that’s not really a deal, right? But her suggestion to buy in bulk resulted in her getting plenty of 20 dollar bills..and orders for not one, but FIVE boxes of cookies.
She separated herself from the competition by being unique. She let her customers know she was donating a portion of her profits to a cause she was passionate about, called “Dress a Girl Around the World.” She used part of the money she earned to buy dresses for underprivileged girls. Buying cookies from Christine meant you were not only supporting Girl Scouts, but also another charitable organization.
She overcame her fear. She proved she was one bold cookie. (Pun intended.) Once, I kept Christine company while her mom did some errands. One potential customer told Christine he couldn’t buy cookies, because he didn’t have cash. There’s an ATM inside! Christine volunteered. He got the cash and bought cookies.
Christine learned some great lessons by Selling Girl Scout Cookies - lessons that will last a lifetime. In the process, she became an Uncopyable salesperson - one we can all learn from.
How can we use her experience to make more sales? Christine's Girl Scout Cookie experience ties into many of the lessons I share in my book, Uncopyable Sales Secrets (link below).
Be determined to succeed. Mindset, attitude, and perseverance are critical to success in sales - and life. When you need encouragement, use the success of others, like Christine, to inspire you to do what it takes.
Be willing to work hard. An excellent work ethic gives you a huge advantage.
Be creative. How can you look at things differently? How can you offer your own $5 for $20? Think about ways to offer more value to your customer, even if that value is convenience, (I bet Christine's customers were glad they had more cookies once they finished the first box. I know I was)!
Separate yourself from the competition by being unique. As a salesperson, focus on reasons to buy - beyond your product or service. Christine had a mission, and every sale supported it. Other reasons to buy include your personal branding promise, the relationship you have with the customer, and the way you listen to understand - and solve - their problem. Position yourself differently. As Steve Miller says in his book, Uncopyable - How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition (link below), "Don't just get out of the box, build your own box. Create your own rules of competition, ones that are difficult - or impossible -to copy."
Get uncomfortable by overcoming fear - be bold. As salespeople, you don't know until you ask. And, like Christine (who suggested visiting the nearby ATM), challenge yourself to remove real or perceived barriers to making the sale.
Christine's Girl Scout cookie experience is a valuable lesson to all of us, and an Uncopyable inspiration. Follow her example, and get more of your customers to buy!