Submitted by Victoria Gigoux
It’s that time of year again. Cookies! We all know, for the most part, our beloved Girl Scout Cookies sell themselves. An adorable first grader in a little blue uniform simply bats her lashes and people are yelling “take my money!” But, as girls get older it seems to get more and more difficult to sell by traditional means. As a troop leader of Cadettes and Seniors, who have been selling for nearly 10 years, it’s also difficult to motivate when they know it isn’t going to be as easy for them now as it was before. But, I truly believe, there is ALWAYS a way.
Ironically, as it gets harder and harder for the girls to sell by traditional means, they are also trying to save for bigger and bigger things. Our troop has been saving for an international trip for a couple of years. I have three daughters selling, who are going on this trip. Older girls = more challenging plus the fact that I have three in my very own family. FUN….right?!? So, last year we sat down as a family to map out ways to increase our sales to help the girls pay off their trip, in addition to our already tapped out door-to-door, booth, and family-friends online “attacks.” Like my husband likes to say “we need death by a thousand paper cuts” (translation – hit them from every direction!)
The girls thought we should find ways to sell to local businesses in ways that were more than a package or two at a time. Who is going to need a whole package, or more, in one sitting? Immediately, restaurants came to the top of our list.
After verifying all rules we needed to adhere to through GSCO, the girls reached out to three, locally owned, businesses last year. We stayed local for many reasons, including no corporate red tape and the fact that it is easier to sit down with a decision maker. After the girls’ discussions, two businesses decided they could find ways to use Girl Scout Cookies in menu items during cookie season. One was so successful, this year we had an immediate multi-case order on day one.
The secret to this success…What isn’t to love about ice cream? Add in Girl Scout Cookies, and BAM! Our best, and now repeat, customer is Graff Dairy. Graff is a locally owned and operated, family friendly micro creamery. It has been an institution in the Grand Valley for many, many years and their product is divine. According to their website, Graff is “not just about the product. We are a place for families. A business that believes in our community and providing opportunities for our employees.” Making an impact on our local community is such a huge part of the fabric of our troop and of Girl Scouts in general. Shopping and engaging with local businesses is yet another way to make an impact.
While we have had a great success, it’s important to remember there is definitely work involved in creating partnerships like this. There is much more preparation and discussion needed, many more “selling skills” than just “would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?” But, sitting down, face-to-face, with a decision maker also enhances the skills we are teaching our girls every time we discuss cookies or leadership, or courage and confidence.
Parents and leaders alike, I want to encourage you to sit down with your girls and make a plan. Get creative! Think of just ONE WAY, each year, that you can do something DIFFERENT in your sales plan and I can almost guarantee you can’t fail. What our family has learned is that you can’t always go with the flow. Most successes in life come from thinking outside the (cookie) box.
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