Lessons from a Girl Scout

I recently watched as a client was distributing Girl Scout cookies to members of his office who had recently ordered them from his daughter. It reminded me of a story I once heard while working for Tony Robbins about a girl who had set the world record for selling the most Girl Scout Cookies. I wanted to share this story with my client as accurately as I could, so I went to the Internet to see if I could find the details. While I couldn’t locate that particular story, I did stumble across a fascinating article on the Little Brownie Bakers website (www.littlebrowniebakers.com/girls/how-to-sell-more). This article contained the Top Ten Cookie Customer Facts and proposed that when you know more, you can sell more. In other words, a girl scout — who knew these facts — could increase her capacity to sell more cookies.

I wondered if, by reading this article, my clients and I could similarly increase our capacity to increase our businesses. And while I won’t be setting forth all the facts from this article, I will touch on a couple to see if they have an impact.

Fact 1: The number one reason people don’t buy Girl Scout cookies is that they were never asked!

How often have we found ourselves talking to a potential client about our products or services and never actually got around to asking them to take an action? It was almost as if we were waiting for them to cut us off in the middle of our conversation and say, “I’ll tell you what; give me twenty of those widgets,” or “Let’s start working together right now.” Here are some specific actions you may want to practice asking people to take action: scheduling a meeting with you so they can learn more about what it is you have to offer; making a commitment and actually buying some of your product or hiring you or your company’s services; introducing you to somebody that they know whom they believe could benefit from the kind of work you provide.

So remember, the next time you’re in front of a potential client: Ask them to take an action. The number one reason people didn’t is that they simply were never asked.

Fact 2: Customers buy cookies because they love the taste.

Give your potential clients a “taste.” Give away your best ideas for free. That’s what one of my mentors once taught me. He said, “Move the free line.” In other words, whatever you typically give people once they’ve actually hired you, see if you can give them some of that before they hire you.

Now I can already hear some of you asking, “Why would I do that?” It’s simple. If what you’re offering really does taste good, guess what? People are going to want more — which ultimately means they’re going to make a purchase. If they don’t make a purchase, then either they didn’t like the way your services tasted (which could be valuable feedback), or they weren’t actually qualified in the first place. So, give them a taste.

Let them see how delicious your services are. Then, when you’ve given a taste to someone who actually IS qualified and his mouth begins to water, refer to Fact №1 and ask him to make a commitment.

Lastly, a lesson that didn’t come from the article I’m referring to, but was contained in the story I shared with my client about the record-setting Girl Scout. Use the power of contrast.

What this girl did was, after a homeowner came to a door that she knocked on, she wouldn’t start out by trying to sell them cookies.

Instead, she would ask them point blank to make a donation to a charity that she represented in the amount of $200. After they said “no” to this rather large request, she began to hammer them — literally asking them three or four times to “Please make a $200 donation!”

Finally after receiving a series of “no’s” she would take a step back on the homeowner’s porch, let out an audible sigh of defeat, and then say, “Alright… well if you’re not going to make the donation for $200, could you at *least* buy a few boxes of these cookies I have for sale? They’re *only* two dollars each.” Relieved to be free of this little girl’s relentless pursuit of their $200, many of these homeowners happily placed orders for 10 to 20 boxes.

Now I don’t know where this girl got her sales training, but I believe she is someone from whom we all can take a lesson.