Asking for the Order at the Girl Scout Cookie Table Leads to Success in Business and at Work
My husband Joel accompanied our 12 year-old son Noah and his friends to see the new movie Divergent last night, leaving me with a rare Saturday night on my own. I decided to head over to the Shop-Rite near our house to pick up a quick steam-table dinner.
After grabbing my cart, I walked past the Girl Scout cookie table. I’m sure that you’ve noticed the ubiquitous cookie sales tables in most supermarkets and even restaurants during this year’s Girl Scout cookie-selling season. The Girl Scout with dark hair, glasses and a quick smile immediately made eye contact with me. “Girl Scout cookies for sale!” She got my attention. I stopped. “I’d love to buy some cookies, but we just picked up two boxes of Samoas yesterday from another Girl Scout troop selling at the Price Chopper,” I replied. Samoas are my absolute favorite – I wish they had a sugar-free version of Samoas. Even my heretofore coconut-averse son could not resist the Samoas’ siren song, and is currently a huge Samoas fan.
The Girl Scout’s mom started nodding in understanding, but her ambitious daughter was not taking no for an answer. “Well, if you have enough cookies, you can still just make a donation,” she asserted. The Girl Scout’s name was Serena, and she had me at hello. “Serena, you did such a beautiful job of asking for the order, that I have no choice but to give you a donation,” I replied, pulling several bills from my wallet and placing them in the fishbowl full of bills on the cookie table. “I was a Girl Scout until I was 18 years old, and that experience unquestionably helped me in my career. And I must say: I think you’re a great saleswoman, and I think you have a great career ahead of you.” Serena smiled even more broadly, if that was possible.
I then asked Serena’s mom if it was okay to take a picture of the two of them for this blog post. Serena’s mom tried to get her fellow Girl Scout to join the picture, but she was too shy. “We’ve been here all day, and they’re a bit tired,” Serena’s mom said. Serena, however, wasn’t too tired to proudly have her picture taken. Another sign of a natural-born sales / business woman.
As I wheeled my cart around the store, I marveled at Serena and her mom. Serena’s early opportunity to develop her business and selling skills. The dedication of her mom, spending an entire Saturday into the dinner hour, supporting Serena’s scouting / learning / sales / business experience. Even richer than my own cookie-selling experience decades ago, when we were expected to sell cookies door-to-door, no parents involved at the time – my family ended up buying almost all of my cookies, anyway, but it was still a great career-building experience. The wonderful improvement of Serena’s experience is that her mom was there, by her side, encouraging her to reach her sales goals. That parental time investment took Serena to the next level, fostering the ingenuity and the confidence to ask me for the order of just making a donation, without expecting cookies in return.
How will you muster your resources and your confidence to ask your prospects (internally and externally) for the order and make the sale, in business and at work?
Tags: appreciative inquiry, business, candidate, career, ceo, coaching, customer, engagement, entrepreneur, evangelist, goals, gratitude, leadership, marketing, mentoring, networking, parenting, recognition, recruiting, reputation, resiliency, sales, selling, service, strategy, success