It’s Girl Scout Cookie season! It’s the 102nd anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and as I’ve been helping to sell these delicious baked treats, I’ve also thought about the lessons the girls learn every year while selling their cookies. It’s more than just being able to earn badges… selling Girl Scout cookies actually teaches valuable life lessons that impact far beyond the here and now.
Girl Scouts teach important lessons about responsibility, business, networking and life through the sale of the brightly-colored boxes of delicious cookies.
Be Fun to Have Fun. As the band Harvey Danger says in their 1997 song, Flagpole Sitta, “If you’re bored then you’re boring,” and this has stuck with me ever since. Easily one of the most difficult parts of the cookie season is having to sell outside a store for hours at a time trying to stop customers as they go in or out to buy a box (or 10) of cookies. It’s fun at first, but after 3 hours or more, it gets pretty mind-numbing for the girls and for the parents.
Some girls will complain they’re bored and my automatic response is, “If you’re bored then you’re boring”… and that’s when I realized we need to exude fun to have fun. Once we started playing games, jumping around, singing and more, it helps to pass the time, but it also grabs people’s attention. We sell way more cookies this way.
This is an excellent lesson to learn for life and the workplace. People love and react to optimistic and fun people. If you’re dealing with a particularly difficult customer or client, try smiling. The results will likely be the same as a Girl Scout dancing while selling cookies in front of a grocery store – positive!
Network to Your Advantage. This year fewer girls are selling door to door, due to safety concerns, and many no-solicitation policies in neighborhoods. Instead, they have to use their networks – church friends, grandparents and their friends, friends, friends’ parents, parents’ friends and coworkers, and so on. Thinking beyond the immediate family and first line of best friends will help expand your network. Also, girls that make the most sales are the ones that carry their cookie sales sheets everywhere. They take them to school, sports events, church, volunteering, parents’ workplaces, grandparents’ workplaces, great-grandparents’ nursing homes and more.
To win the cookie selling game, the scouts must think outside the box (no pun intended) and not be shy about selling their cookies. This is the same as owning your own business or excelling at entrepreneurship. Creating and following through with a network is important and you must put yourself out there without being afraid of being told “No!”
Learn To Accept No’s. Speaking of no’s… while selling Girl Scout cookies, we discovered there are a huge number of people that don’t like either Girl Scouts themselves or their amazing cookies … how is that possible?! Also, many people don’t carry cash (this is becoming more and more common), and others already ordered from their neighborhood scout. These discreet or straight “no’s” are a disappointment, but the more the girls hear, the less they sting.
While running a business, this is a difficult lesson to learn. The no’s seem to always sting and can bring more frustration every time. No’s are never fun, but with every no, adults need to take it the way these girls do – in stride. Don’t let them get you down.
Take a deep breath and move on to the next client. There is no sense in stressing over one no when there are potentially hundreds of yes’s out there waiting for you!
While you’re out buying your weight in Girl Scout cookies this year, remember, you’re teaching these girls life and business lessons that will last their entire lives. Now, go buy those Samoas without an ounce of guilt!
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