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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

In Market: Can you sell better than an eighth grader?

Learn from the best

A cookie sales champion

Caitlin Edwards wants to be an actress when she grows up.

However, instead of waiting tables in restaurants waiting for her big break, Caitlin may own the restaurant. Given the pace at which she sells Girl Scouts cookies, the eighth-grader at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts could amass a small fortune in business by then if she turns her mind to it.

When she was 5 years old, Caitlin joined Girl Scouts and sold 400 boxes of cookies in the six-weeks selling season. The next year she sold 1,000, then 1,200, followed by three consecutive years of 2,000.

So, here’s some advice from a champion Girl Scout cookie salesperson:

“The one thing you have to do is be nice,” Caitlin said. “Show respect. Always say ‘thank you’ and ‘have a nice day.’

“And have patience. They may not buy at first, but they may come back and buy from you.”

Ironically, Caitlin said she was a bit shy before she joined Girl Scouts. And when they asked her to sell cookies, she was hesitant at first.

But now…

“When I started Girl Scouts I wasn’t very social, but this made me an outgoing person,” she said. “And it helped me sell cookies. Once I got started, it was fun.”

Caitlin’s dad is an accountant and her mother teaches math. Big numbers are nothing new to her, and she’s certainly gathered her own share of big numbers in recent years.

“So many people say, ‘Wow, that’s a ton,’ and it is hard work, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like hard work because it’s so much fun,” she said.

Caitlin’s mother has watched her not only become a better salesperson but also learn a lot about people, too.

“She’s persevered through weather and some not-so-nice people,” said her mother, Rachel Edwards. “It teaches her an eye-opening perspective on people about accepting ‘no.’

“She’s learned goal-setting, money managing, thinking outside the box to sell those last boxes.”

Rachel said Caitlin’s creativity is a big reason she has been such a prolific salesperson. For example, a number of boxes are sold to folks who send them to members of the armed services.

“We’ll reach out to family members of the military,” she said. “The great-grandfather in California who may not want some, but will buy 25 boxes to send to the troops.”

Caitlin has also learned to adjust her goals and be happy. This year she is involved in competitive swimming, which takes up the majority of her weekends – and weekends used to be when she would do the most cookie selling.

So, her goal this year was to sell 500 boxes – which she did with over a week to go in the season. She was on pace for 600 boxes, still an average of 100 boxes a week when her prime selling time was being taken up in the water.

But Caitlin said she has gotten much more than huge sells out of her Girl Scouts cookies experience.

“It’s opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” she said. “I’ve been able to speak to big crowds, which I never would have done before.”

And, while she wants to act, she also wants to be involved in a variety of other show business aspects such as directing and producing.

“I’d like to do all I can,” she said.

In the meantime, how about some Girl Scout cookies?

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