This past weekend I went with my wife and daughter to sell Girl Scout Cookies door-to-door. While they did most of the selling I sat in the background observing all the different aspects of one of the purest forms of selling. If you’ve never done door-to-door sales, you should give it a try. It’s a humbling experience and puts the pains of B2B selling in perspective.
We spent two hours walking around the neighborhood and here are my takeaways:
1. Set goals
We set a specific goal to sell 20 boxes in an hour which was an increase in our previous outing where we sold 15 boxes. This was our short-term goal which aligned with the larger goal of selling 750 boxes so my daughter could earn enough points for a beach towel. With this goal we knew what we had to do and ended up crushing our goal with 40 boxes.
If you’re not setting goals in sales and in life then you’re letting someone else dictate the path. By setting SMART goals you have something to strive for which helps you push and measure your progress. Set a life goal for 5 years out about the lifestyle you want to be living and then back into what you need to be doing on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis to hit that goal.
2. Practice makes perfect
On the way out the door we practiced her pitch to make sure she had a strong intro, value prop and call to action that she could deliver in a short period of time. As she practiced she got more and more comfortable with it and by the 3rd or 4th door she had the delivery nailed.
It’s important to practice in sales. We can practice all aspects of the sales process: voicemails, live calls, presentations, objection handling, closing. Whether we do this through a quick role play with our manager or teammate, or by calling a few of your Tier 3 accounts, we need to practice to get it right.
3. Be proactive about handling objections
Even though it’s hard for anyone to deny the power of a 7-year-old girl selling delicious Girl Scout Cookies, we knew we would get some objections so we planned for them. We knew the main objection we would get was “we already bought some from someone else.” By knowing this was the main objection we were able to come up with a great response which was “Did you know you can freeze them, so you can have them in the summer when you can’t get them anymore?” This got a few people to buy more than they would have.
The key to objection handling is being proactive about dealing with them. Too often, reps just react to objections as they come. Most of us know the objections we will face on a day to day basis. We should identify them, come up with specific approaches and responses to each of them and then test to see which ones work best.
4. Be opportunistic and keep your eyes open
The main approach to selling the cookies was going door to door but we also saw people walking buy and ask them if they wanted to buy some as well. Surprisingly we sold almost as many boxes to a kid walking buy, a guy on a bike, and our dry cleaner as we did to the 20+ houses we visited.
A big part of being successful in sales is being opportunistic. We need to have an open lens and not get tunnel vision in sales. Sometimes we miss out on much larger opportunities if we don’t pick our head up and see the bigger picture.
5. Try multiple channels
After going door-to-door we looked for other ways we could sell cookies to help my daughter achieve her goal of 750 boxes. My wife and her had already set up a booth at a local mall the week before and sold 150 boxes. The other obvious channel was online so we went to the Girl Scout’s website where we could create our own page and link to sell cookies. With the link we now had to find a way to promote it so my daughter put together a video. Just like going door-to-door, she practiced her pitch with the intro, value prop and call to action and then we recorded it. Check out the video here.
In Sales you need to try different approaches and use different forms of communication to engage with prospects and clients. It’s not email OR phone OR social, it’s all of them. If we stay single threaded, then we’ll miss out on a large part of the audience that might not like to communicate that way.
It was great to watch my daughter learn about sales through this experience while being reminded of some important lessons myself along the way. I’ve always said this is the greatest profession in the world when done right and it’s great to see it done right from the start.
P.S. If you liked her video and want to support her entrepreneurial efforts along with our Troops overseas we’d really appreciate any support.