Selling Cookies

Being able to sell is important.

Being able to sell is important.

It’s been a while since I posted on an “off” day (an “off” day, in case you haven’t noticed is any day that’s not labeled Tuesday or Friday).

I just got to Seth Godin’s Wednesday blog post on Girl Scout cookies. I wanted to weigh-in because what he wrote was that important and resonated with me.

The lesson of his blog post was universal (don’t ask “no” questions, especially in sales), but he picked something that most everyone was familiar with—selling Girl Scout cookies. Good God! Who doesn’t like Girl Scout cookies?

Here’s my message to you over in the corner with your hand up—“loser!!”

Btw, I am also aware of the dust-up about the parent organization, The Girl Scouts of America and the politicization of a box of freakin’ cookies. Enough already, all right!!

Maybe it’s my own experiences delivering newspapers and being pushed by my mother to get outside of my comfort zone and shyness at the time and try to win a subscription contest for the old Lewiston Evening Journal that makes Godin’s post on selling so appealing. Rather than regale you with the details, let me quickly get to my point.

Whether you believe the world is ending next week; next month; or next year—or if you believe that technology and the 21st century has us marching towards bigger and better things—teaching our kids some transferable skills that allow them to make it in whatever world they inherit is one of the most important tasks of being a parent.

Sales and being able to look a stranger in the eye, introduce yourself, shake their hand, and then, get to the point of your interaction is something I’ve used so many times in my life I’ve lost count. That skill has kept me going, gotten me to reinvention, and then allowed me to walk the talk for more than a decade.

It all came from having a mother who pushed me out the nest and said, “Jimmy, you need to sign up some new customers.”

I didn’t want to and she knew it. Instead of going out and doing it for me, or making calls to her friends (actually parents back in the day didn’t do those kinds of things—this is a new, Boomer parenting construct), she did something that I’m sure was tough on her, too; she pushed me, knowing my own level of discomfort.

Thanks mom for knowing that sales and the skills that come with it, matter.

3 thoughts on “Selling Cookies

  1. Good on St Helen.

    Boo-hiss on Girl Scout cookies. I bought some this year because the little neighbor girl actually knocked on my door and asked. I did it because it was neighborly. Shrunken, miniscule, grotesquely overpriced packages of corporate greed, containing nothing but sugar. Right now the program is surviving by a myth, by some carbo-muddled memory of the good old days.

    I bought them because the little girl actually knocked on the door and asked, something that hasn’t happened to me in decades. I put her in the same spot as you were when you were sent out in search of new subscriptions (wouldn’t want that task now, would you?), and I hope it has good fruits in her life, too.

    • Yes, good on St. Helen, indeed!

      You’re probably right about the GS cookies–although I have a weak spot for the Thin Mints and could eat a box in a sitting, so it’s best that I don’t keep them around.

      Wow! It is exceedingly rare these days that a young kid is allowed to knock on the door of a stranger. Sadly, most have bought into the fog of fear that plagues our country and keeps children indoors and beholden to their screens and devices. Is it any wonder why the little tykes are getting fatter by the year?

      Pitching freelance assignments reminds me a little of my door-to-door subscription trudges, up and around Huston Park. Luckily, the customers seem to be in a buying mood of late.

  2. It’s unfortunate that “Girl Scouts” have been much politicized as of late. I don’t even know what the latest “kerfuffle” is, are they having a bachelor auction to raise money? That seems to be the direction many “women’s organizations” are taking as of late. I keep a copy of the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Laws from a vintage handbook by my work desk. It’s an enjoyable throwback. Some of the laws are interesting, such as number 6. “A Girl Scout is a friend of animals.” Number 7 is difficult, “A Girl Scout obeys orders.” But things like being loyal, courteous, and thrifty, well, who can complain about that?

    Your greater point, about being unafraid to approach strangers and to reach out our hands in an unsure world is a good one and “good on Helen.”

    I, too, could mow down a box of Thin Mints in one sitting.

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