Lessons I learned to apply to car buying or anything
By Cathy Droz –
Did you ever wonder why Girl Scouts are so successful at selling cookies? Is it because Girl Scouts are empowered at a very young age? Is part of the Girl Scout experience – learning to be confident enough to walk up to the front door of a stranger’s home and ask them to buy thin mints?
I believe being a Girl Scout helped build my character, and I will never forget their motto “Be Prepared.” All major purchases in life should be approached the same way. Conducting the appropriate research and being prepared beforehand can help you achieve the best results; whether it’s buying your first car or selling cookies door to door.
My experience selling cookies in the 1960’s was life changing. I was very shy and didn’t want people to buy cookies from me just because I was the freckled faced neighbor or the daughter of my dad’s business associates. Because I was nervous, my mother would walk 100 yards behind me on the sidewalk reminding me to be polite, look the mom or dad in the eye, smile and never sell at dinner hour, as that was rude.
It was my father who showed me how to be a successful cookie salesperson through proper preparation. He had me walk around my neighborhood a week before the cookie drive with a notepad to find out a number of things. Here are some examples of his “sales preparation” techniques.
I was to canvas the neighborhood and write down all the homes that had Girl Scouts living there. Those homes, he said, would be eliminated from my route.
He had me write down how many of the homes had children that were under 18; believing that several children in a family meant they would be inclined to purchase more cookies.
He had me prepare on an index card the cost of multiple boxes of cookies so I could quickly tell them the total price, as well as the value in ordering more than one box.
I was to tell them that they only had to pay for the cookies when delivered and how they were helping a worthy organization. In addition, I was to describe the flavor for each cookie.
I was to drop off a handwritten thank you card the next day, thanking them for their order with my phone number saying if they wanted to order more before a certain date to call me.
During the cookie drive, I was picked up at school rather than taking the bus so I could be the first one in the neighborhood. In the 60’s Girl Scout cookie selling was a bit different, with more restrictions, but the experience still showed me how to be a good salesperson and customer service representative.
This same kind of preparation can be used when looking for the perfect car dealership. As I say in my book, your pre-purchase research is the biggest part of the puzzle…knowledge is power.
By the way, I was never the top Girl Scout cookie salesperson…many of my friends would have their parents sell cookies for them in their office or to their golf buddies. My father was trying to teach me about life. He showed me how to sell by doing it on my own merit and being prepared. It made me clearly understand how I wanted to be treated in the sales process and how I would treat my clients.