Selling Girl Scout Cookies

A few weekends ago, I had the good fortune of spending 3 hours with my eight year old daughter at the local mall. This trip was different because our mission was to sell Girl Scout cookies.

I have sold many things in my life but never Girl Scout cookies. What happens before we arrive is where the story gets interesting. I could not help but notice her preparation for the day. She got up early, did a quick inventory of her supplies and then proceeded to pack the car. In many ways, it was remarkably similar to my early days as a wide-eyed rookie sales rep. I was going to light the world on fire! At least, I thought so.

During breakfast, she discusses her strategy for selling 40 boxes of cookies. WOW! At this point, it hits me like a sledgehammer. My eight year is laying out a plan for the day which includes her strategy, tactics and goal. I could not help but wonder where all this was coming from as I had not seen her so focused.

We proceed to the mall to set up our table directly in the center of the mall. I find myself a bit uncomfortable standing directly in the path of would-be shoppers. I feel exposed as I am not sure what to expect. I have been in sales for over 15 years and I am actually nervous about selling Girl Scout cookies. Ouch! I notice that I am tapping my right foot on the leg of table as I feel my anxiety level rising. I experienced this same feeling on a consistent basis my first year in sales. It was how I felt when I was tasked to make a sales call on that “buyer” who had a reputation for berating sales reps in public. I am sure many of you can relate to that feeling of helplessness.

In this case, I was lucky because my sales manager (my daughter) was there to provide a much needed pep talk. She came over to me, gave me a hug and told me to relax and just do what she does. A sense of relief comes over me and I settle into a nice rhythm. We anxiously wait for shoppers (prospects) to walk by so that we can ask them to buy a box of cookies. I am struck by how rude so many people are as some do their best to avoid making eye contact. Again, not much different from how many prospects treat sales people. My daughter keeps plugging away and just keeps asking people if they are interested in supporting the Girl Scouts. She keeps a smile on her face and stays at it to reach her goal. At certain points, I feel dejected until I look over at her and see that she is still smiling waiting for the next person to walk by.

The day was a wake-up call of sorts for me; it was a reminder of what it often feels like to sell a product, concept, idea and/or your brand. For many of us, we cut our teeth by making cold calls which was not that much different from selling Girl Scout cookies in terms of our approach. Instead of standing in the mall, we strategically placed ourselves in the hallway, outside an office or anywhere else so that we could see when “that buyer” was on their way and headed in our direction. We just happened to be in that particular area so we could introduce ourselves. It is funny what sales people will do to make contact with a prospect. In this case, we proceed to discuss our solution, its benefits and see if they would be interested in meeting with us in their office. I am not so sure it was the best way to facilitate a conversation, but it certainly seemed to work more often than not.

I suspect that there are plenty of brave souls out there right now waiting to make one more cold call. The uneasy feeling, unsure of what to say and when to say it is quite an experience. It certainly tests your psyche. Like my daughter, just keep smiling, keep asking and you too may reach your goals!

Prepare Yourself For The Powerpuff Girls Party

It’s party time, and the best way to make things easier on yourself is to decide on a theme such as a Powerpuff Girls party. If your daughter is a fan, a Powerpuff Girls Party is sure to be a success! Here are some easy hints and tips to make your party go off without a hitch!

Since the professor created the Powerpuff girls from sugar and spice and everything nice, it would be the perfect setting to allow guests are your Powerpuff Girls Party to create their own powerpuff girls out of premade cookie dough. Each girl could be given her own bit of dough (be sure to bake some yourself–perhaps even have them made ahead of time, just in case of a mishap such as a broken cookie) then, after the cookies are baked and cooled, each girl could choose their favorite Powerpuff girl and be given a picture to use to decorate their cookie to match! A good alternative if your girls are not old enough to decorate with that much detail, would be to have powerpuff girl cookies decorated according to character, but allow them to make one of their own and frost it in the color that coordinates with the character they like best.

Sleepover Powerpuff Girls Parties work very well as sleepovers. Just be sure to include any necessities such as sleeping bags or pillows in the invitations. You can even set up a tent in your back yard or living room to make it special. If you are planning a back yard tent slumber party, remember to have a back up plan in case of weather problems or scared campers, and consider including a flashlight with fresh batteries in loot bags for every guest. Another thing to remember with Sleepovers is to specify exact pick up and drop off times to ensure there are no mix ups later.

Girls’ Night In

I had the privilege of being invited to the home of my 86 year old neighbor. Her objective was to teach me how to make her delicious Scottish shortbread cookies. What fun we had measuring, stirring, chatting and baking. She is an incredible woman and I discovered that night that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to plan an enjoyable girls’ night in.

In this fast paced world, we often forget just how amazing simplicity can be. Some of the best moments in life are remembered fondly because they were spent building relationships, enjoying each other’s company, and discovering the histories that shaped us and the dreams that propel us forward.

So, the next time you’re searching for the perfect activity to share with your friends, why not keep it simple and invite them over for an evening of baking, cooking, scrapbooking or any other activity or hobby you all enjoy. Learn from each other and enhance the depth of your friendships.

I wish you could all meet my 86 year old neighbor, but since you can’t, I’ll share with you what she shared with me… her recipe for Scottish shortbread cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup fruit sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Instructions:

  • Cream butter and sugar together.
  • Add rice flour and stir to a creamy consistency.
  • Gradually work in the flour (using a sifter).
  • Knead the mixture till smooth.
  • Note: You may not need all of the flour. When there is about 1/4 of a cup of flour left, start kneading the mixture so that you will be able to feel when the dough changes from too wet to just right.
  • Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and pat each piece into its own 8 inch foil pie plate.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the dough about an eighth of an inch from the sides.
  • Precut the dough into the number of slices/pieces you would like to have upon completion (You will use these same lines to cut the cookies out after baking.
  • Prick each piece several times with a fork.
  • Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 275 degrees.
  • Bake for 25-40 minutes to complete (depending on your baking pans and oven).
  • Remove from oven, cut, cool and enjoy with a hot beverage and good friends.

Note: You can make these cookies in other pans and cut them into different shapes and sizes. What you MUST get right is the texture of the dough and the pierce marks before baking. Also, be careful not to overbake.

Keep it Simple! Make it Fun!