How to Sell Like a Six Year Old & Exceed Your Goals

Services for Real Estate Pros with Suplari, Inc.

Thin Mints SignYes, it's that time of year.  Young girls across the country are descending on doorsteps to sell Samoa's, Thin Mints, and Do-Si-Do's.  That's right.  It's GIRL SCOUT COOKIE season.

My daughter just turned six and is a Daisy (Girl Scout in training).  This is her first year as a Daisy.  She was really excited and very motivated to sell cookies.   I am not sure if it was a curse or a boon to be the daughter of the CEO of an Internet sales & marketing company.   I know some of you are rolling your eyes at this, but I truly believe that "selling" is one of the great skills that EVERYONE should know, understand and embrace.  (I believe in life and this economy, you are either creating value by making things like engineers or you know how to sell - products, services, yourself, your company to customers and investors).   We spent the last two weeks learning about creating lists, cold calling (relatives & friends), leaving compelling messages to get call backs, and going door to door (to neighbors accompanied by parents).   She hit her goal.  i am very proud.

Thin MintsThese are the key sales lessons I learned from my six year daughter:

1) Have a Very Clear Goal:  She wanted the stuffed animal giraffe at the 155 cookie box level.  She saw that giraffe in the Girl Scout brochure, she didn't really understand what she needed to do to get it, but she knew she wanted it.

2) Be Tenacious & Make Sacrifices: Once she decided she wanted the stuffed giraffe and knew it took selling 155 boxes, she decided she she would do what it took to get it even if it meant sacrificing play time, skiing, and TV time.  Every free moment for the past several weeks was spent selling cookies.

3) Make a Targeted List:  Before she started, she created a list of "targets" of relatives, friends and neighbors.  We started with an initial list of obvious friends and relatives.  We then used online services like FaceBook, LinkedIn and Evite to brainstorm other "friendly" faces and warm, receptive contacts she could contact.

4) Create a Script & Practice:  She developed a really simple call script and practiced with me and my wife.  She then started calling relatives.  She then moved to family friends and neighbors and kept working on her presentation. (She had a 100% close rate if she could get someone on the phone.  People were surprised to get a call from a six year old.)

5) Optimize Your Voice Mail: She tested one or two voicemail scripts and got some reasonable call backs (who wouldn't return a call from that voice).

6) Be Fearless:  This is a funny one.  I think we learn fear and embarrassment as we get older.  She may not know better, but she was fearless in making calls and selling door to door to neighbors.  In fact, she was SO EXCITED by the giraffe that she was dragging my wife or me out to go door to door everyday that the sun was shining.  Weird to be that motivated, but six year olds have energy and are motivated by stuffed animals.

Giraffe7) Get Referrals from Friends, Family, and Customers:  Sarena hit a roadblock at about 100 boxes.  We didn't think she would get to her goal of 155 boxes.  She ended up getting some really good referrals from family friends who helped put her over the top.  Of course, she wasn't afraid to ask for a referral.  Also, some friends of friends saw her selling cookies and just walked over and purchased as well. 

8) Be Enthusiastic:  When you are excited, your prospects and customers will be excited for you.  Most of us sell the same product or service every day and can lose the nervousness or excitement of that first sale.   Generally if we are tired or bored with our products, services or jobs, it will show in our voice, posture, and presentations.  Stay fresh and excited when you pick up that phone or enter the room.  Being nervous is a good thing as it shows that you care.

Of course, it helps to be six years old and it helps to be selling Girl Scout cookies. 

But be it selling cars, real estate, securities on the stock market, or yourself in job interview, there's a lot you can learn from the fresh eyes of a six year old.     

Posted by

Nikesh Parekh

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  1. Cheryl Ritchie 02/17/2012 01:41 PM
Diary of a Realtor
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Gina Chirico
Lattimer Realty - Fairfield, NJ
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey

My daughter (now a Brownie) has sold the most cookies in her troop in the last 4 years!!  I think I can learn a thing or two from her about sales too!  Great post!!

Feb 17, 2012 11:14 AM #31
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I sold Girl Scout cookies . . . they pretty much sell themselves.  The secret is . . . they only sell them once per year.  Only once.  That's the gimmick.  It's a good one.  

Feb 17, 2012 01:33 PM #32
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

I have no local Girl Scout who has asked me for a cookie order yet. 

I was second in troop sales from memory. 

All  you have to do is take the order and then ask how many more for the  freezer to enjoy later or to give as gifts all year long!

Feb 17, 2012 01:38 PM #33
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Sounds as though she did way way better than the little children who come up and say "you don't want to buy any cookies do you?" Sounds like she was a real go getter for that giraffe.

Feb 17, 2012 01:46 PM #34
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

That is so cute! Now, I must ask, while she was dragging you house to house, did YOU drum up any business? What better time than with an adorable six year old in tow? lol

Feb 17, 2012 02:18 PM #36
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Niki--I am delighted that your daughter has learned a valuable lesson about setting and achieving goals.  Good reminders for those of us who aren't selling those delightful products.  If one doesn't set a goal and work it it won't happen.

Feb 17, 2012 04:06 PM #37
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

Wow!  Thanks for all the great comments.  I did not realize this post got featured (as I wrote it a little while ago).

The skill of selling is a great life skill.  I hope she picks it up.

Regardless, if she can set goals and achieve them, I will be a proud papa.  I am already a proud papa.


Feb 17, 2012 08:23 PM #38
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

My 8 year old is selling as well. . and I taught her to say. . "would you like to order  2 or 4 boxes today?"  after ending her small presentation that we practiced as well. . I love it! 

Feb 17, 2012 08:24 PM #39
Alan Gross
PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, Equal Housing Lender - Bethesda, MD
Loan Consultant

That's good advice for anyone in sales. I particularly like Be Enthusiastic. Like what you do and let people know it!

Feb 17, 2012 09:07 PM #40
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Great blog Nikesh!  Very well said and a lot of great tips there.                                                                        

Feb 17, 2012 10:11 PM #41
Ron Cooks
The Real Estate Marketplace - Killeen, TX
Texas Real Estate, Ft Hood/Killeen Homes for Sale

Hi Niki - Congratulations on hitting her goal, is Sarena available to do some consulting? :o)  I love the tenacity of a child, we can all learn from it.

Feb 17, 2012 10:58 PM #43
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Niki, congatulations on having a such a smart, clever young person. You still have some years left before she starts using all these fine skills on her parents when she wants what she wants!

Feb 17, 2012 11:56 PM #44
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Niki, nice that you were able to help her develop a plan and scripts - bet most kids don't get that at home! Of course, the motivating stuffed giraffe is the key, isn't it?

Feb 18, 2012 03:09 AM #45
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Niki -- Looks like you taught her well!  What a great sales plan. Now just where are my do-si-dos?

Feb 18, 2012 08:46 AM #46
Amber Boyd
Novus Real Estate - Wylie, TX

This is a great post! I love it! Now I am craving some good ol' girl scout cookies. This is motivation to get goinging on my SOI and bringing in those new clents and start booking appointments etc.


Thanks. :)

Feb 18, 2012 08:59 AM #47
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

I love thin mints and 6 year olds definitely know how to do it.

Feb 18, 2012 09:55 AM #48
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Niki - It amazes me what we can learn from watching our kids.  Their enthusiasm is contagious.  And, as you say, it's hard to pass up the Thin Mints.

Feb 18, 2012 11:19 AM #49
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

You better be careful, she will be recruited to sell ocean front property and you'll be left behind! ☺

Feb 18, 2012 11:32 AM #50
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I have a granddaughter, who is a Girl Scout, so you know I love your sign.  But I'm also hooked on Thin Mints, so I find some dark humor in Cameron's #4 label of ingredients:-)

Feb 18, 2012 06:25 PM #51
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

Bookmarked!  Thanks for a GREAT post.

Mike in Tucson

Feb 18, 2012 06:46 PM #52
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