Girl Scouts’ Recipe for Great Business

Today, Girl Scouts of the USA is counted among the WORLD’s largest leadership development organizations for girls. This year marks their 100th year anniversary. On March 12, 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low held the first meeting of 18 girl scouts in Savannah, Georgia. Daisy’s mission was noble—“all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.” A few years later in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the first Girl Scout cookies were sold, and they have kept selling ever since. Ever year in the United States, 200 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies are sold for a profit of about $760 million. Now don’t be fooled, Caramel DeLites may be delicious, but good services/products don’t just sell themselves—these young women have got a recipe for great business.

One troop, in particular, out of Danville, Virginia shares what makes their venture successful year after year.

Creative Marketing: Members of this troop dress in colorful bright clothing to be easily noticed by potential customers. As an added touch, they glue empty cookie boxes to the end of their headbands. Now I’m not suggesting you start gluing your product to your forehead, but you do need a creative and aggressive marketing strategy to make sure customers know you have something they want or need.

Ease of Access: Danville Girl Scouts hang up road signs to direct drivers where to go and buy cookies. After the driver pulls in, the girls rush to provide car-side service with a smile. Notice Girl Scout customers don’t have to jump through hoops to learn about the product/organization. And neither should your potential customers.

Customer Service: When a customer is unsure of what cookie to buy, troop members step in to offer up recommendations based on cookies have sold well in the past. They even give buyers suggestions on how to best enjoy the cookies, like freezing Thin Mints (the only way they should be eaten, of course).

Transparency: Seventy percent of funds raised by cookie sales go towards leadership development for the troop, as well as to other service projects. Danville Girl Scouts ensure their customers know this by including a smaller flyer showing a breakdown of how the $4 supports girls in the local community. The key here is transparency—what is the cost your product/service? Under what conditions would the cost change during a transaction?

Appreciation: The Girl Scouts play to their strengths and that is why, year-after-year, they solicit many of the same customers. For them, a smile and greeting goes a long way in showing these dedicated cookie-buyers they are valuable to the troop.  A smile and greeting should be standard in any business—go an extra step in letting loyal patrons know you appreciate their business.

With ideas like these, I am almost positive Girl Scouts will be selling cookies for the next 100 years, too.

Which are your favorite Girl Scout cookies?

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