Advice From the World’s Best Salesperson

An article in the New York Times Magazine featured an interview with the best salesperson ever – for Girl Scout Cookies! Katie Francis, age 13, offered her perspective on how she sold 22,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in one eight-week campaign season. Here’s her advice:

  1. Smile, “No one wants to buy from a person who is frowning.”
  2. Look and act like a professional, even if you’re just a kid. When making the rounds in Oklahoma City, Francis wears her troop uniform and passes out business cards.
  3. Don’t waste time trying to convince naysayers. Instead move on and find the yesses.
  4. Invest enough time. On school days, Francis works past dark and she logs 12-13 hour days on the weekends.
  5. Size up potential buyers. A saleswoman cannot know the heart of consumers at first glance. Whatever it takes, secure their attention first. When she sets up a booth in heavily trafficked areas – outside of a Walmart, say – Katie sings songs from the movie “Frozen” with lyrics adapted to praise the virtue of Girl Scout Cookies.
  6. Your pitch should appeal to multiple motivations simultaneously; their hunger, impulsiveness, pity, inner philanthropist, sweet tooth. “There is more than one way to sell a cookie,” Francis says.
  7. Know what you’re selling. Francis can rattle off lists of ingredients and point out which cookies are gluten and nut-free.
  8. Don’t neglect your behind-the-scenes support crew. Francis’ mother stores up to 10,000 boxes at a time in their garage during the two-month cookie-selling season. At night, she helps Katie count money and load inventory into the family’s SUV.
  9. Go where the customers are. Prime selling locations change with the time of day. When her mother is not available, Francis has recruited other adults willing to shuttle her around.
  10. Don’t eat the product! As for snacking on cookies while on the job, which some Girl Scouts do, Francis disapproves. “It’s better,” she says, “not to eat your product!”

If salespeople for Early Stage companies followed only this advice, sales would likely improve!

Source: NYTM – 150705, p. 23.