I had an interesting talk with a Girl Scout the other day. She was quite the hustler!
You see, I’ve never really given Girl Scout cookie sales tactics much thought before.
I just assumed that because the cookies are only available once a year-- like the McRib--that people wait for them. And when they see a Girl Scout who has their favorite cookie, they buy a box.
But then I got to thinking, is there more to it than that?
That same day, I heard about a Girl Scout who sold over 20,000 boxes of cookies in one month!
So I HAD to know. How did she do it? And can we use the same techniques to increase sales too?
So I did a little research, and what I found will astound you.
In this article, you’ll learn the 7 tactics the Girl Scouts use to sell more cookies. And how you can use the same techniques to sell more of YOUR products and services, in ANY industry.
I’ll show you EXACTLY how to use this to your advantage...so you can take this information, apply it, and increase YOUR sales and conversions too.
Twas mid February and, the snow in Pennsylvania was deeper than James Earl Jones’ voice.
My stomach growled as I hopped out of my car. I made the transition from sidewalk to slippery parking lot.
Then I noticed a little girl dressed in green from head to toe.
She looked about 10 years old. She was behind a card table, which was piled high with cookie boxes, stacked like little Jenga towers.
A colorful handmade sign told me that she was selling Girl Scout cookies.
She wore her red hair in two ponytails. Her uniform was covered in badges. She wore a named tag that said Desiree.
The first thought that ran through my mind was this: “Corporations using little girls to sell junk food using scarcity tactics.”
But then I decided I was going to do what smart people do: I pushed my assumptions aside and tried to learn a thing or two from this pint-sized salesperson.
I made eye contact to see what she would do.
“Excuse me sir, do you like cookies?” A smile spread across her little face. Desiree practically squealed. She was EXCITED about what she was selling.
Not only is she ENGAGING with me before attempting to sell (People SKILLS for the win :-D) but her excitement was contagious.
Studies show that strong emotions are actually contagious. The real name for this is actually “Emotional Contagion” 1
So you better be pretty damn excited with what YOU are selling. Because if not, how do expect your customers to get excited about it?
After Desiree asked me if I liked cookies, I thought, “Who doesn’t like cookies!” Then I realized what she was doing.
If I say, “Yes, I like cookies,” I will act like it...and buy a box of cookies.
Because I don’t want to look like a liar!
This is known as the principle of Commitment and Consistency. Robert Cialdini talks about this is his book, Influence: Science and Practice.3 This principle states that “once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment."
We persuade ourselves we made the right choice. We do this by acting in ways that are consistent with it.
We do this because consistency is a valuable trait. Being inconsistent is seen as a negative trait. If we’re inconsistent, we’ll be banned from the tribe. We’ll die alone, surrounded by cats.
So it’s HUMAN NATURE to want to be consistent.
Now, I’m a generous guy, and cookies are cheap. But I wanted to see what Desiree would say when I gave her a soft no.
So I said, “Listen, I love cookies. But I’m watching my figure.”
In response, Desiree gave me two alternatives.
And she turned my “soft no” into a YES!
This is how she did it:
“Well sir, do you know of any friends who might need some cheering up? I bet they might like a box of cookies. I’m selling them so that I can go to camp. Because I’m paying for it all by myself.”
Oh man! Showing the benefits AND helping out friends. I really liked this Girl Scout!