What I Learned About Sales from Girl Scout Cookies

~by Haley Lynn Gray~

Everything I know about sales I learned from Girl Scout Cookies. Almost. Every January, the Girl Scout Cookie sale starts. But planning begins months before. We have to secure cookie booths, plan our initial orders, make signs, check our cash boxes, donation buckets and more. 

In December, we place our initial order, which requires figuring out how many boxes of cookies to order based on the numbers of boxes my girls say they plan to sell. We also have to guess how many of each kind of cookie to order. Some flavors, like Thin Mints and Caramel Delites, sell better than others, so we can’t just order the same number of each kind of cookie.   

SalesThen we start making our signs. We’ve learned the signs that work the best are the ones where the letters and the price are big and clear. We also like to use foam core because they have some stiffness to them and the girls can hold them up. That means they get more visibility and are seen from further away. We also use Sharpie markers and then wrap each of the posters in packing tape to make them last a little bit longer. (We can go through multiple rounds of signs in a cookie sale. We tend to do about 150 cookie booths as a collective bunch of troops.) 

During the sale, we’ve learned persistence pays. We have to ask almost 20 people for every customer who eventually buys Girl Scout Cookies. This just shows that even if you’re selling a $4 box of cookies, sales are still about getting the numbers. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you have a large stock of Thin Mints.)

The girls are masters of the up-sell. When someone buys four boxes of cookies, we ask them if they’d like to buy a fifth so they qualify for the Buy Five promotion, where they can win a year’s worth of Girl Scout Cookies. We also ask if they’d like to donate their change to buy cookies for soldiers overseas – Operation Cookie Drop. The donated boxes can add up to 3-4 cases in a single booth, just because we asked. 

We learned about overcoming objections. If someone says they’ve already bought? Well, the cookies freeze well. (And frozen Thin Mints crumbled over ice cream on a hot day are heavenly.)

The girls also learned a lot of other valuable business lessons, like budgeting and goal setting. Xena sets her goals each year based on what she’s trying to do. Since she is now trying to get to lifetime 30,000 boxes sold, her goal for this year is just over 3,100 boxes of cookies. If she sells 3,100 and a few boxes each year for the next year, she will reach her goal.

Planning is the best way to reach a goal, an important part of sales as well.

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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn Gray, Business Coach and Founder of Leadership Girl

Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

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