Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold Calling, Girl Scout-Style

It's that time of year again, when the girl scouts come calling to ruin your New Year's resolutions with boxes of cookies. Actually, the order form says that if eaten in moderation, the cookies can be part of a healthy diet. That is, if you can resist the temptation of downing half-a-box of Samoas in one sitting.

That's it pretty tough to resist, even for the strong willed.

I got my daughter off to a good start by ordering 14 boxes of cookies, including half-a-dozen boxes of Samoas. (Well, you know, they freeze well.) (Not that any of these cookies will actually be around long enough to make it in to our freezer.)

If you don't know what Samoas are, they are these fiendishly tasty confections, covered with caramel, chocolate and coconut. It's like a triple threat, highly addictive. If you haven't tried one yet, I would advise you to consider the decision carefully, since one cookie will probably alter your eating habits for the rest of your life.

Whenever there is anything to sell, my daughter is more than determined to meet and exceed her quota. Her troop wants every girl to sell 25 boxes or more. In this case, she decided that her personal goal was to sell 233 boxes of cookies.

"Whoa," I said. I want to support Girl Scouts as much as the next parent, but I know selling cookies, lots of cookies, means I have to be right behind her at every step along the way. "How about you try for 100 boxes? Then if you meet that goal, we can reassess and see if you want to increase it?" Fortunately, she agreed. The Girl Scouts suggest that this is a good exercise in goal setting, and I think an important part of it is learning to set a goal that is challenging but not unattainable.

Before we went out, she wanted to practice. She knocked on my bedroom door. When I opened it, she said, "Hello, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" She also made her own visual aide- a poster with cut-outs of the different cookies pasted on it. Once she had rehearsed some more and was fully prepared, we set out down the street.

I hung back a little at each door, letting her have a chance to run the show. She knew her stuff: how to fill out the order form, when the cookies would arrive. She was determined to make a sale at every door.

When one lady said, "I'm on a diet. I am really trying not to buy cookies," my daughter responded, "We have sugar free cookies." She ended up selling that household 2 boxes of cookies. As we walked away from that house, my daughter said, "I did not want to loose another customer!"

A lot of people did order, because my daughter was the first Girl Scout to come around this year. Some people were out, and there were a few who declined. I could tell it took a lot of gumption (though my daughter has plenty) for her to knock on each door.

She did get a little discouraged when she was turned down, but I counseled her if she stays positive and keeps her activity level up, that she will be able to meet her goal. I saw a few opportunities to tweak her presentation a little to increase the average sale. (Can you tell I interview a lot of sales people or what?)

She sold 17 boxes yesterday. A good start. I did not expect that she would meet her goal in one afternoon, but in time I am sure she will.

No comments: