With every Girl Scout selling the same cookies, it takes ingenuity and an entrepreneurial spirit to outsell your fellow Scouts. Some of the top sellers have used tried and true business strategies to boost their sales — and every small-business owner can learn a thing or two from these Scouts and their success. If you want to kick your business into high gear, here are some of the lessons every entrepreneur should steal from the Girl Scouts of America.
Tap Into Trends
Thanks to the popularity of “Aquaman,” actor Jason Mamoa is having a moment. And Charlotte Holmberg, a fifth-grade Girl Scout from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, decided to capitalize on the trend by pasting shirtless photos of Mamoa on boxes of the popular Samoas cookies and re-branding them as “Mamoas.”
Holmberg and her mother shared a photo of the boxes on social media and were met with many positive responses.
“The moms are getting really excited and they’re saying that they need them,” Holmberg told Denver’s 9News. “The girls will want to buy some because he’s on the front. And the boys will also want to buy some because he might be their favorite character.”
Seek Out an Audience That Would Be Interested in the Product
One entrepreneurial Scout set up shop outside of a marijuana dispensary in San Diego. Her targeting of munchie-prone customers worked out — her father told San Diego’s ABC news affiliate that she sold 300 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in six hours.
Get an Endorsement From Someone Who Is Respected or Admired
A 10-year-old Girl Scout named Kiki created a kid-friendly remix to rapper Cardi B’s “Money” and made it all about selling cookies. Her adorable skills got the attention of the artist herself after the Girl Scouts tweeted out the video on their official Twitter page. Cardi B retweeted the video and responded, “I want all the cookieshhh [sic].”
“Be prepared” is the Girl Scout motto, and top cookie-selling Scouts stick to it. Leah Takahashi, the digital marketing specialist for Girl Scouts of Northern California and a thousand-box cookie-seller herself, advised in a Trailhead blog post to be ready to sell before the cookies are in stock. For Scouts, this means having their uniform and vest ready to go, creating booth decorations and signs and scheduling booth sales.
Cultivate Relationships With Customers to Keep Them Coming Back
Another top cookie-seller, Sabrina, a Girl Scout from Indiana, told Fatherly that one of her best strategies is keeping track of her buyers and contacting them as soon as cookies go on sale the next year to see if they want to buy from her again.
“I leave them emails, messages or get to them the best way I can, and I say ‘It’s that time of year again,’” she said. “I make specific calls and I say, ‘Hey, John Smith, you bought five boxes of Do-si-dos from me last year. Would you like to repeat that order?’ More often than not, they will say, ‘You know what, add another one on there. I ran out early this year’ or ‘That is perfect.’ I have repeat customers. I have people who just come back to me, and I think that’s a great connection to have.”
Takahashi also recommends giving repeat customers special treatment to make them feel appreciated and keep them coming back to you. For example, she puts name tags and ribbons on the boxes of her long-time cookie buyers.
Know Your Product
Sabrina makes sure she is able to offer personalized recommendations by really knowing about the product she’s selling.
“This year, a guy […] said to me, ‘My wife is pregnant, and she’s vegan.’ I said, ‘Thin Mints are vegan,’” she told Fatherly. “He bought them.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Succeeding in business often means doing things that might seem daunting — but Sabrina said this is par for the course, and that putting yourself out there gets easier the more you do it.
“It’s like tying your shoes,” she told Fatherly. “The first time you do it, you’re like, ‘Okay. I can’t make a knot, apparently.’ But then, the 10th or 11th time going around, you’re completely cool with it. This year, by the time I hit the first or second person [selling cookies door-to-door] I’m like, ‘We’ve established this. We can do this.’”