Girl Scout cookie season starts this Sunday! My little missy loves cookie season! I am not sure why she loves it so much, she just loves to accumulate the orders and deliver them! She doesn’t personally make any money from selling them but that isn’t the driving force. I think she just enjoys the feeling of sharing something she enjoys with someone else! (I can’t wait till I can share direct selling with her and have her join my Thirty-one team someday!!) “Sales” skills are simply great people skills and if they are developed well, they will be valuable for a lifetime.
Both my kiddos have worked my business with me and little businesses of their own. For years they were each very successful at selling doughnuts at our community garage sale! I shared these same tips with them then even at the young age of 3-4-5+ years of age! My son recently completed his BSA Eagle Scout requirements; in requesting help from others he used these exact same tips. Often, my friends will ask me to share ideas for building enthusiasm for their events, parties or business events and I always encourage them to master these very basic ideas – they go a log ways in good personal presentation and sales! When my family come out to help me with events for my business I am confident that I can walk away for a few minutes and they have got my booth covered because they are conscious of, and working on these simple steps. These tips can help anyone who is passionate about sharing their products or cause or services.
- Put a smile on your face! A cheery smile, a ‘happy to see you’ smile, make it genuine. Give people someone happy to look at! Even before you begin talking with them, face your audience so they can make eye contact with you. Don’t look down, away, past them or turn your back to them. That also includes getting your nose out of your electronics/ books or other projects. For cookie sales, instead of phoning friends and asking if they would like cookies, we send out a 20 second video of little missy talking about how excited she is to deliver cookies so customer can see her face. Even if you are phone contacting, a smile on your face will make your voice happier. Someone once encouraged me to channel an “excited little puppy dog that is happy to see you” when I talked on the phone. I explained it to my kiddos when they were young, as their “cuteness factor.” Who can resist a cute kid! When “my guy” worked on his Eagle Project I always encouraged him to ask people for their help in person whenever he could, so that he could show them on his face, his happiness for their willingness. I always told my doughnut sellers to smile and wave at the passing cars, acknowledge people whether they are ready to do business with you or not. Sometimes it takes them a minute to decide if they want to engage with you and you have to have set the tone for the interaction. I always think that even if they don’t buy from you, at least you have given them a happy moment in their day and an intangible “Sprizzie” for a moment. To have to be authentically happy to see people and want to engage in conversation with you, a cheery smile is a great start.
- Be ready and willing to talk. Be the first one to say hello. Show interest in them. Have a few different ideas for what to say next. While you have been looking at them, notice something about them and comment on it: compliment them, comment on what they are doing, who is with them, the event or activity you are engaged in – heck even the weather if you have to resort to that!! Just open you mouth and start a conversation!
- Make it about THEM! In general people actually love to talk about themselves, to get acknowledged, be invited to share about themselves. Listen for clues they tell you and figure out what you can do for them, what need they have that you can fill. Ask open ended questions, not questions that you only get a yes or no answer. And then LISTEN. If they say chocolate is their favorite flavored cookie – ask them which of the chocolate cookies they like more, if they mention their wife or husband ask which flavor their Valentine would like the most, or each person in their family. If they mention family ask them about family, if they mention work, ask them about work, if they mention sports, hobbies, travel, cooking, eating, dogs, shopping, ask them more about those things!
- Ask, ask, ask. ASK them to buy. “Close the deal” in proper business term! Asking can be hard, we fear being pushy, annoying people, and being rejected. Years ago I remember reading a story called “Ask, Ask , Ask” in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. It was about a little girl who was selling Girl Scout cookies and because she pushed though her fear of being rejected, she asked a prison warden that she happen to meet, to buy enough cookies for the whole prison. Not only did she get the sale, but she also won a trip around the world for her and her mom for selling the most cookies that year! My Boy Scout got 6x the amount of eye glasses he set out to collect for his Eagle Scout project because he kept asking for help and was able to get enough canvassers to cover a huge area. I am successful at building my Thirty-one team because I am not afraid to share the benefits with friends and ask them if they want to join me in buying their own item s at a discount and share the products with their friends themselves. “Will you support our Girl Scout troop and buy some cookies?” Would you be willing to help me canvas for eye glasses?” May I show you how to get your purses and bags and gifts at a discount and make a little money at it too?” When you share, make it easy for people to say yes! Let people make the decision for themselves; don’t take away their opportunity to decide by not actually asking if they want something. Don’t ever assume you will know what they want – ask!
- This is a fun tip! Be a walking billboard. Wear it, share it, gift it, live it, act the part. Find a way to visually share what you got! Girl Scouts – wear your Girl Scout gear, t-shirts, buttons and bags when you are out and about! I often wear a Thirty-one shirt when out running errands! Give people something to talk to you about! That is why both Boy and Girl Scout s wera a uniform, so you can identify them and what they are about, what they value, and to some degree, what you can expect from them. In my business, I am always sure to carry an eye-catching bag – never something subdued. The idea is to catch some attention! In the case of little missy, I made her a new shirt this year, it is cute and glittery and catches attention and questions when she wears it! (It is not actually for when she is selling cookies, she will wear her uniform then.) She wears her cookie shirt as a way to start conversations. Both I and my Girl Scout and gift our product. If there is a reason to give a gift , give what you got! That is how I got started with Thirty-one actually – to be able to buy gifts for Christmas and Mom’s day and birthdays etc. at a discount. Now people love them and they buy them from me to gift to people. I do the same thing with t-shirts and custom cards, I started by gifting them and now people ask me to make them to gift to their friends and family. Little missy told me just this morning that she thought Girl Scout cookies would make great Valentines Day gifts and she as going to start asking people if they wanted to buy them as gifts!
Developing these basic people skills will help you sell Girl Scout cookies or Thirty-one or Scout projects, but these basic skills will do you good in whatever you do if you are human and breath and talk and make friends. They seem like basic skills and common sense but watch people around you, they aren’t so common. Put a smile on your face each time you look at someone, when you pass them in the mall, great your kiddos after school, walk into a room at a get-together! Be ready to talk! Put your chin up, your electronics down and have an idea of how to start of a conversation and what you can talk about. Make conversation about other people instead of talking about yourself, listen to what they say and take a genuine interest. If there is something you have to share or ask, be direct and just ask. Give them the opportunity, to decide if they want what you’ve got or want to help or be involved! Don’t assume things for another people. Wear it, share it, gift it, give it, act the part and it shows your enthusiasm for what you do and who you are. People want to be involved with and interact with enthusiastic people!
What is your favorite tip? Which one do you need to focus on? Who will you share these tips with? I don’t have any of them mastered, I work on them continually!
PS if you need some Girl Scout cookies, a Thirty-one tote, help from a Boy Scout, an original shirt or some custom made cards – I can hook you up! 😉