What I learned from selling Girl Scout cookies

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)


Raise your hand if you’re an overwhelmed mom

OK, both my hands are up, way up.

It’s the definition of being a mother these days: you’ve got school, after-school clubs, sports, laundry, food shopping, dinner, house cleaning — I’m getting a headache just writing this list!

If you work from home, are self-employed, a stay-at-home mom or just someone who needs some structure, here’s one way to be more happily productive.

Remember when we were in high school and we switched classes around every hour? Well, we can apply this schedule to our own households. For example, you have between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for all you need to get done. Say at 8 a.m. you do a gym workout and are freshened up by 9. Then the “class bell rings” and you work on your business until lunch at noon. Then from 12:30 to 1 p.m., you straighten up just one room of the house (then move on to another room the next day). From 1 to 2, put in some more work time plus look over what your day will be like tomorrow.

Carving out a block of time and designating tasks within that block will give you peace of mind. It also will help relieve guilt because I used to worry about the laundry while I was trying to work, but now I’ve set aside time for housework so that’s no longer a distraction.

Wake up and smell the … day’s potential

For 2011, let’s embrace change and  transformation. Here’s one way:

A fellow coach said something that really struck me: “I love to wake up in the morning and see what the day will have in store for me.” Wow, imagine starting your day off with that amazing attitude!

Each morning is another opportunity to transform, try something new, live adventurously, enjoy your blessings of family and friends — the list goes on and on. The energy surrounding my friend’s statement plays a huge role in how he treats himself, how he treats other people and how other people respond to him.

Now let’s try it on you: As a parent, your energy will help bring the hectic nature of the mornings down a notch. As a spouse, the feelings that come from a simple smile can have lasting power. As a boss, the energy that you radiate will show up in productivity — yours and your employees’.

So you get to choose the tone of your mornings: Set it on high energy and watch the transformation!

What’s your catchphrase for 2011? Here’s mine.

Only two more days left of 2010, and I’m really excited to get started with 2011!

Each new start is a gift, allowing us to wipe the slate clean. Here’s your chance to take charge of your life. No matter what 2010 dealt you, choose to set goals and move forward.

What are your dreams for 2011? Perhaps you’re going to look for a new job or career in 2011. Or you want to take your business to the next level. Maybe you’re after a promotion. Is it time to stop feeling overwhelmed and create more balance in your life? Are you after more peace and happiness?Is 2011 the year you move cross country or cross-continent?!

Now think of a catchphrase or a word that encapsulates your goal.  Here are some suggestions: Live with purpose or intention. I’m open to new things. The glass is half-full. I choose. Focus. Take leaps. Live my best life. Learn. Be healthy. Energy. Limitless. Take action.

When you’ve settled on your catchphrase, congratulate yourself: You just made the very important decision to start living your life as you decide and to stop just coasting along!

I know for some, figuring out a catchphrase can be difficult because there are so many things you want to do. Perhaps you are overwhelmed, making it hard to prioritize. You are NOT alone — I’m here for you. As a coach, I’m dedicated to partnering with you to get you to live your best life. Try a FREE 30-minute coaching session with me. We’ll work on your theme for 2011 together!

Last but not least, here’s my personal catchphrase for 2011: I AM FREEDOM! I’m free of any chains holding me back from going after my dreams. I’m free to chart my life. I’m free to surround myself with positive people. I’m free to do what’s best for me and my family.

What’s your catchphrase? Comments welcome!

I’m getting engaged in 2011!

That’s right — next year I am going to take the plunge and get intimately connected with LIFE!

January is the best time of year to wipe the slate clean and get moving on stuff you’ve been meaning to do. Instead of making resolutions that fall by the wayside at Week 3, I’m going to promise myself to be aware of who I am and what I do each and every day.

Yes, I want to lose weight. Yes, I want to create some fun for myself. Yes, I want to get more organized. But here’s the magic of LIVING WITH INTENTION: You can do all these things by really paying attention to your actions. When you go to the grocery store, be fully aware that you’re going down the ice cream aisle, and not just out of habit. Or at 2 p.m., when you’re feeling the afternoon doldrums, take 5 minutes to meditate and center yourself or take a brisk walk instead of fighting your fatigue in front of the computer at your desk.

Here are 3 tips to help you LIVE WITH INTENTION:

  • Use your senses. As I’m writing this, the wind is howling outside from the Northeast blizzard. I’m looking out the window at amazement of the giant snowdrifts. Using our senses remind us to be in the moment!
  • Question: “Why is this important to me?” Ask yourself that before you make decisions. This will help clarify your motives and zap you into the present before you take that next step.
  • Shed negative energy. Nowhere does it say that you have to live with negative situations or be surrounded by negative people. Change your mindset, get proactive and CHOOSE to be transformed!

In 2011, SAY YES to getting engaged!

And since engagement is a partnership, let me help you kick off the new year with a complimentary 30-minute coaching session! We’ll discuss what you want out of 2011 and start figuring out how you will reach your goals!

Comment on this blog with a contact email and we’ll set up your free session. Or send me an email directly to emailforcindy@gmail.com.

Cindy Chin,  Empowerment and success coach