Marketing Lessons from Girl Scouts

As a parent, I’m in the middle of girl scout cookie selling season, and I couldn’t help but come up with a few marketing lessons from the girl scouts. I’ve had some good conversations with my Brownie aged daughter, and I can tell that she is definitely learning from cookie sales.

Limited Time Offer

One of the big draws of girl scout cookies is that they are ONLY available one time each year. We use that as a selling point to encourage customers to “stock-up,” reminding them that cookies can freeze well, so they can be enjoyed until it’s time to order next year.

This concept of a limited time offer or limited supply can help boost product sales. It creates a sense of urgency to place an order or buy a scarce product on the spot.

For example, in my former life at a generator company during a power outage, customers would buy whatever portable generator was in stock at the store. Stores could easily run out of generators during an outage.

Relationships Matter

At the urging of other girl scout parents, we save the cookie order form each year to remember who bought from us last year. Many customers are loyal ones – especially our family members, and we call or visit them each year to see if they would like to buy girl scout cookies.

This year, I’m encouraging my daughter to do more. She’s talked with some of my business connections on the phone (after I introduce her) and has left messages too. She is gaining confidence while talking on the phone and selling door to door. Some neighbors have wanted to confirm that we live in the neighborhood, which I can understand because you are more likely to support local kids.

Similarly, I know that in my work people buy from those they know, like and trust. It takes time and effort to build effective relationships. I’ve earned business and referrals from people I have known for at least several months if not years. Meeting someone is simply planting the seeds for potential opportunities to help one another someway, somehow, sometime.

Know the Decision-Maker

As we walked around our neighborhood selling cookies door to door this week, one neighbor a few houses down initially declined to buy. Then his wife overheard us, and chimed in, “You have to ask me!” She then changed her husband’s mind, and he decided to buy some from my daughter.

It’s easy to accept “no” and simply move on, but someone else in the organization may hold more decision making power than your initial contact. I have a friend in sales who interprets “no’s” as “maybe later,” and that’s so true – sometimes it does come down to timing and getting in front of the right person.

Similarly, my daughter has heard several “no’s” as she’s been selling cookies. While it is hard to deal with rejection, she just keeps on going to the next house or next person. I’m proud of her hard work and positive attitude throughout it all. I try to model that same behavior when I’ve had a difficult work day that might have included some rejection in my own sales efforts.

Supporting a Good Cause

It’s hard to resist a girl scout or boy scout selling anything! My daughter and nephews are so sweet and very persuasive when they ask someone to buy. My daughter LOVES girl scouts. She’ll tell you that she wants to continue girl scouts to the highest level. She’s made wonderful friends and has learned a lot through the many activities, field trips and day camp experiences.

When you buy girl scout cookies, it’s more meaningful than just buying cookies from the store because you’re supporting a worthwhile cause in your community. You’re supporting their troop in funding their yearly schedule of activities with topics ranging from first aid and painting to family history and STEM activities. You’re helping kids learn and grow as individuals and collectively as a troop.

As I read in a recent Milwaukee Business Journal Article, Girl Scouts help create tomorrow’s female leaders, important life lessons are learned through the many girl scout experiences, as Kira Lafond, Market President/Publisher of Milwaukee Business Journal shared.

Similarly, Dr. Vicki Martin, president of Milwaukee Area Technical College writes Risk-taking girls become leaders in the Biz Times Milwaukee Biz Blog, as she reflects on her own girl scout memories and writes:

It is my hope that our future female leaders will look back on their own era-defining cultural touchstones and use their Girl Scout experience as problem-solvers, confident leaders, and courageous thinkers to change our world for the better.

Dr. Vicki Martin, MATC President

I truly hope my daughter does just that with her own girl scout experience.

Would you like to buy some cookies?

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