What You Can Learn About Sales from Girl Scouts

Michele Warg
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Annually since 1917, members of the Girl Scouts of America (GSUSA) sell a wide variety of cookies from February through April. The cookie sales are the largest fundraiser for local Scout units, and as part of the organization's sales techniques, girls who take part in the cookie sales earn prizes for their efforts. The GSUSA also offers incentives, such as free trips to local conventions, to the units who reach certain sales targets. As a whole, the Girl Scouts sell over 200 million boxes each year, which equates to approximately $800 million in sales.

According to Real Business, a digital magazine sponsored by Xerox Corporation, 80 percent of female business owners in the US are former Girl Scouts. Keeping this in mind, salespeople can learn a great deal from looking at the motivation and tactics of top cookie sellers. First, the Girl Scout cookie business is a relationship business. The majority of cookie sales each year come from buyers familiar with the brand. Former Girl Scouts also make a habit of buying cookies because they like what the company stands for, and they are familiar with the company policies. To succeed in sales, build relationships with your customers—get them to believe in you, trust you, and commit to you.

Top sellers with the Girl Scouts agree that their key to success is in the pitch. Come up with a good pitch, and improve upon it regularly. Instead of simply trying to generate a sale, create a story that helps sell your product. One Scout from Manhattan, who consistently sells over 1,000 boxes annually, came up with a sales pitch with her father. When approaching a customer, the girl offers customers the opportunity to make donations if they prefer not to buy cookies, and the donations go to purchase cookies for soldiers overseas. As a result, a big portion of her sales comes from donations to soldiers. Having a pitch that people can believe in is an excellent way to increase sales, and most top Scouts have them.

As part of their sales techniques, Girl Scouts make it a habit to announce in advance when they will be starting sales, and many sales now come from announcements on social media. While you don't have to try to sell your business products to your friends on Facebook, it's always a good idea to focus on new marketing channels to let customers know about company developments. You'll reach a lot more people in less time.

Girl Scout cookie sales are successful each year because of the Scouts' business savvy and marketing techniques. With sales strategies that can net hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in just a few months, the Girl Scouts have created a business model that every company can follow.



(Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net)


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