Gina Roberts-Grey over WalletPop says if you couldn’t resist buying a box or two of Thin Mints or Samoas from a Girl Scout recently, don’t feel bad.

These pint-sized dynamos have honed sales skills that rival those of some of the most savvy adult professionals. If fact, some Scouts sell thousands of boxes per year.

Want to know how they do it? Here’s a look inside the minds of some of the most successful cookie sellers in the country.

Network, network, network
Erica Kendrick was the first black girl in the Chicago area to wear the crown of top-seller. At age nine, Kendrick built her cookie empire on a basic principle: “I made a pyramid with my grandma at the top, and her marketing/distribution arm was something fierce,” she explains. Kendrick says using all your network contacts, whether they’re from church, the drill team, your school, the local beauty shop or your carpool is essential.

Perfect your sales pitch
“Practice the elevator speech in the mirror until you can recite it in your sleep,” says Kendrick. “I stood in front of mine and used my teddy bears as prospective customers.”

Forgo friends
Shannon Leary, 15, the top-seller last year in Quincy, Mass. with a grand total of 2,254 boxes sold, drops off the social radar during cookie season. “Cookies are my life from early January through mid-March,” Leary admits, “but it’s worth it.”

Plant the seed
“If someone seems unsure about buying cookies, engage them by asking what their favorite cookie is,” advises Leary. “Once they start thinking about the cookies, they often buy them.”

Be professional
Donna Ceravolo, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Nassau County, New York, suggests girls create business cards. “They can use resources from the CEO Tools web page at LittleBrownieBakers.com to create business cards with their first name,” she says. Ceravolo cautions that to be safe, girls shouldn’t include a personal address, phone number or their last name.

For five more cookie selling secrets, go here.

Photo by democratandchronicle.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on February 8, 2010 in Ideas.

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