Baby Bull and I went to the store around 11:30 am today (Saturday) to buy some ham and cheese (since he told me that’s what he wanted; when you have a non-verbal child and they use their words in context to communicate, you fucking listen and provide!) to make sandwiches for lunch.
We pull up to the store and, lo and behold if the doors aren’t flanked with tiny little girls hawking their cookies…little
drug dealers angels that they are. See, back when the Dark Lord (my oldest son, almost 20…he loves metal and has long, luscious locks) was a Boy Scout, we went through the popcorn thing. We even got accused of somehow cheating because he (in his first year) sold the most tins of popcorn than anyone. We didn’t cheat, by the way, we worked our butts off. I sold at work. He sold at school. We went to places and sold…so, seeing these little girls – I knew I had to buy.
From my perspective there are a few things that all new freelancers and new work at home business folks can learn from Girl Scouts (and Boy Scouts during popcorn season).
Know Thy Market
You’ve all read the stories in the news about Girl Scouts setting up outside of some interesting places…that includes marijuana dispensaries. Why? Because they know where to go to sell. Do you know where to go to sell your service? Get creative.
Be a Problem Solver
When the Dark Lord was but a wee tot, we had cell phones…but we didn’t have card readers that hooked up to them. Today, the girls not only took cash, but had giant signs that advertised how they could process debit and credit cards. You can’t lie anymore and say, “I don’t have any cash.” You just have to say no. They’ve solved the biggest objection they hear without ever hearing it.
Get Out There Even at the Risk of Rejection
No one likes rejection…adults don’t like it. Little kids damn sure don’t like it – and yet here those girls were today pushing cookies. I watched some of them get told no (mom had to restart her cell phone to process my debit card on her card reader). They looked momentarily hurt and then set their eyes on the next set of legs heading in or out of the store.
Always Plan for the Follow-up
Several shoppers would say, as they headed into the store, “I’ll buy some when I come out.” Now, their only other option to leave the store without detection was at the other end. And there was another small army of Girl Scouts down there. They still would have needed to cross back to go to the parking lot. These girls were told when someone would buy and they could prepare to follow-up. Not sure if anyone told them, but you must be prepared to follow through on the follow-up. You can’t always rely on the other party to remember or do what they said they would do.
As I looked at the cookies, I moved Baby Bull almost behind the table because the Girl Scouts were really close to the parking lot. All it would take is one really loud truck for him to take off if I weren’t holding his hand. He’s almost 9. I doubt he always wants to hold my hand. So, I told mom, “You know how it is – one loud noise and he’s liable to take out your table!” The mom totally understood what I meant and the little Girl Scout who reeled me in was like, “I get where he’s coming from. I hate loud noises.” She’s likely just being honest and trying to be part of the conversation (she was MAYBE six). Yet, what she did proves an important point: identify and be personable with your target market. Your audience wants to buy from people they like.
Get That Email Address
Once we had our cookies and planned to go put them in the van so we could go in and get our lunch stuff, the little girl asked me for my email address. I raised an eyebrow. The mom said, “It’s for her email list.”
Holy shit. She sells once a year and she has a fucking email list. Did I really want to give her my email address? No. I don’t want spam…did I do it anyway? Yeah…I didn’t really get anything for it (except the cookies I bought), but I did it because I was asked for it. She is building her email list for this year AND the next selling season. How’s your email list looking?
Know Thy Products and Prices
When the girl escorted Baby Bull and I back to the table, she first asked me my favorite cookie. (I wasn’t buying for me…but she had a good plan!) She then told me about the classic cookie flavors, the new flavors, and was able to tell me the prices on all the boxes (they have a gluten free one that’s $5 a box). Are you ready to answer questions about your products and services and your prices or do you constantly deflect? People want information. Be ready to give it.
Show Some Enthusiasm
I don’t like sales. I am not a natural sales person. I’m a freelancer and so I have to sell who I am -and- my skills. Yet, when I go through the process, I don’t talk into my proverbial (online) hands and act like I’d rather be anywhere else. This kid didn’t either. Not only was she happy I made eye contact and came to look at her cookies…she lit up when I included her in my conversation with mom. She was over the moon when I gave up my email address. I bought one box of cookies. I’m sure she’s sold a lot more to one person…but she still showed enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is important because it makes your audience believe you WANT to help them.