Every January, I dutifully bring the Girl Scout cookie form to the office and set out on a mission to sell as much as I can for my two daughters’ troops. Each year, my daughters end up being top sellers (OK, I did the selling if you want to get technical). And I’ve lovingly earned the nickname “cookie pusher” by my co-workers.
Why am I able to sell so many boxes? It’s because I make it a business to sell those Girl Scout cookies, and it becomes apparent how important networking and communication are to running your own business.
1. The personal touch. I made it a point to approach each of my colleagues. My “competitors” at the office had their forms, too, but they posted it in common areas and waited for people to order. Their mission may not have been to sell a ton, but the point is that if you have a goal, interacting face-to-face will boost your success.
2. Know your customers. After being a “cookie pusher” for several years, I’ve gotten to know what some of my co-workers’ favorite cookies are. For example, one man loves the lemon kind, so when I asked him to buy I pointed out that they are still carrying his favorite. He was pleasantly surprised I remembered. This shows how important it is to listen to your target market and cater to their needs.
3. Who cares if they say no. In other words, just ask! I am bound to hit people who don’t want any cookies. That’s OK because I’ve just weeded out the “nos” and can move on to all the “yeses” ahead. And please, in business, we can’t take no personally. They’re weren’t saying no to me, they just may be on a diet!
4. Move fast. Here’s what I learned not to do: Wait to start my sales campaign. Other parents at work had their forms out before I did, which meant sales lost. A few people said they had already purchased from someone else. That will not happen again next year!
The key to success is building relationships. Use your communication and interpersonal skills. People buy from people they like and know. That is what will set you apart from your competition.
P.S. Thin Mints are awesome out of the freezer!
(Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts)