I am happy to announce the winner of my 2015 Girl Scout Cookie Challenge: Vivi Hirschfield!
Vivi, age 9, learned about the challenge through her mother, a friend of a friend. Vivi called me directly and made an excellent sales pitch, describing her goal to sell 3,000 boxes this year. She explained why she enjoys selling cookies, what skills it helps her hone, and how profits from cookie sales enable her troop to go on fun excursions. She even described her troop’s philanthropic work with local nonprofits like Austin Pets Alive.
[Sales tips: when making a cold call, mention who referred you, get to the point quickly, focus on benefits and highlight philanthropy!]
After our call, Vivi delivered cookies across town to my house via her personal delivery service (her father). My Thin Mints were in a cheery gift bag, and Vivi shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said thank you! We had a delightful conversation.
[Sales tip: delivery and packaging go a long way!]
All told, Vivi sold 1500 boxes and donated $307 dollars to the US troops for Operation Cookie. Her mother Michelle says Vivi demonstrated her future in sales with smooth pitches at cookie booths: “You seem nice, so I’d like make you a special offer: today only I’ll sell you 5 boxes of cookies for $20.” Whether her customers believed they were getting a better deal or appreciated her shrewd approach, Vivi sold 300 boxes in one hour and then helped three friends sell theirs.
[Sales tip: Humor and charm work every time. Unless your customer has a cold, hard little heart.]
As the winner of my challenge, Vivi sold me an extra 10 boxes of cookies. And as icing on the cake (cookie), a few days later I received a creative hand-written thank-you note, a great sales follow-up.
[Sales tip: listen to your mother and always write a thank-you note. Bonus points if you make the recipient feel super special: “You deserve a badge!”]
I have to give a special shout-out to the other girls who emailed me and delivered cookies: Hayley, Sylvie, Sarah Grace, Ella, and especially my adorable neighbor Sadie, who knocked on my door with four boxes of cookies in her wagon, unaware of any cookie challenge at all.
[Sales tip: Old-school sincerity is often the best sales tactic.]
Thank you to all these budding entrepreneurs! My children, neighbors, mail carrier, teachers, and anyone else on whom I could foist a box of Thin Mints thanks you too.