Are you ready to grow your business? Have you ever seriously considered the power of the pint-sized sugar peddlers that somehow manage to lock us in like clockwork every Spring? This tiny yet highly effective sales force moves 200 million units a year. Their products are not sold in stores and are available only during the spring yet sales revenue exceeds $700 million. There are a few lessons that every entrepreneur and small business could learn from the Girl and Boy Scouts of America. Believe it or not – if these tiny sales stars have a sales plan in place that includes strategic guidelines – so should you. Take a peek at 5 Girl Scout [GS] strategies and what every small business [SB] can learn from these tiny moguls.
FACT 1: The Number One reason people don’t buy Girl Scout Cookies? They were never asked! Nearly 95 percent of people say they will buy Girl Scout Cookies if asked, and 73 percent would purchase multiple packages.
- GS Strategy: You might already know that cookies sell well at groceries, malls and other high-traffic areas. Also consider partnering with a sorority to sell on a college campus, selling at sporting events and asking permission to host a “Cookies and Coffee” break at a corporation.
- SB Strategy: Small businesses lose thousands of dollars in revenue each year because of one simple mistake – they don’t ask for the sale. After you’ve invested in the catchy marketing campaign and given the rockstar presentation, do the one thing that could truly change your business – close the sale by asking for a customers’ business. Target your customer/client base effectively and keep consumer insights in mind. For example, customers that buy your products also have a higher propensity to engage in other complimentary activities. Engage customers and/or clients where they play.
FACT 2: Customers buy cookies because they love the taste.
- GS Strategy: When customers approach your cookie booth, offer a cookie sample before you ask them to buy cookies. Arrange an attractive sampler plate so customers can try your varieties.
- SB Strategy: Do your customers love your products and/or services? If not, give them a reason to. Sampling is a proven CPG [Consumer Products Goods] strategy that can drive sales revenue. Give before you expect to get.
FACT 3: Customers are ready to purchase because they can only buy Girl Scout Cookies once a year.
- GS Strategy: Suggest customers buy by the case. Encourage customers to stock up for the whole year by buying enough to freeze for later. Offer a large zip-top freezer bag with large purchases. Remind customers that the cookies make perfect gifts and party food.
- SB Strategy: Scarcity marketing tactics do in fact drive short-term revenue when done correctly. When people presume that a product or service is in high or limited demand they are more likely to act now during this limited time offer. I am sure you’ve heard this on infomercials, online advertisements and more. The reason is simple – it works
FACT 4: Customers buy cookies because they want to support the girls and Girl Scouting.
- GS Strategy: Always tell your customers about your goals. They want to help you succeed!
- SB Strategy: Make your goals known. If you operate a non-profit then this should be one of your key priorities when marketing to the general public – give it’s one of your core competitive advantages. If you own a product/service based business your immediate goal is to align with a cause that you care about to build support and credibility. Consumers are passionate about causes and we love to support organizations that pay attention to matters that are important to us. Consumers can’t support what they aren’t aware of.
FACT 5: The majority of customers feel it is important to buy directly from a Girl Scout, and they prefer to place an order at home.
- GS Strategy: Host a Cookie Walkabout for door to door sales… Consider giving small team prizes in categories such as most energy, most cookies sold, best manners, best decorated cookie car and best use of order card.
- SB Strategy: In today’s digital society, where efficiency is essential, there is a shortage of one-on-one communication. Certain industries still demand it depending on the length of the sales cycle or product/service complexities. Could this be your business’ point of differentiation? Stand out from the rest. Try following up with a “Thank you” phone call or a hand-written card. It is a simple gesture that can reap dividends in the long run.
Did you find these tips helpful? Next week we’ll take a look at 5 additional lessons every entrepreneur can learn from the Girl and Boy Scouts of America. Did you enjoy this article? If so, subscribe to YFS Magazine and never miss an update.
Source: 2009 Girl Scouts Cookies Consumer Insights Study
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