How to Teach Youth to Sell – Close

figure_at_finish_line_13179This is a final article of a six-part series on how to teach youth to sell. While we are using Boy Scout Popcorn Sales as the example in this series, these steps can be used in any sale.

Part 1 – Discover the Goal
Part 2 – Know your product
Part 3 – Create a Sales Plan
Part 4 – Create a pitch (Marketing)
Part 5 – Overcome Objections
Part 6 – Close

The ‘close’ of the sale is an often overlooked portion of the sale. There are four elements of the ‘close’ every youth should use when selling and item.

1. Ask for the sale

My wife and I were at a grocery store a couple of months ago where a table was set up with Girl Scouts selling cookies. We have a rule in our house where any youth in uniform who asks us to purchase an item for their fundraiser we will buy something. When purchasing our groceries I made sure we had cash on hand to buy a box of cookies. We left the store and walked toward the table. The young lady smiled and said hello. I replied with a hello and waited for her to speak. She said nothing. My wife and I looked at each other and walked to the parking lot. She never asked us if we wanted to buy cookies.

It is important to ask the customer what you want them to do. Think of getting volunteers to help in your unit. Most people will not offer their time unless they are asked. Once asked they often go above and beyond what is needed.

It is equally important the way in which youth ask for the sale. When creating our initial sales pitch in Part 4, we closed with “You will help us, won’t you?” instead of “Will you buy popcorn?” People are much more willing to ‘help someone’ than ‘buy something’.   In addition, when someone has an objection like those listed in Part 5, the response is an open-ended question. It prevents the person from saying no right away. The reason for the youth giving a response to the objection is to gather more information and find a way in which the consumer would say yes to their ask.

2. Upsell

Upselling a person is more than just ‘asking for more’. Upselling is finding out if you are truly meeting the consumer’s needs. Once you get the initial sale, ask the customer if they have someone else for whom they would like to purchase popcorn. This simple statement could double the sale with this customer. Another option once the sale is made is to ask if they would also like to make a donation to send popcorn to troops overseas. Many times the customer will add the change they received to this donation pool.

Second, Upselling is asking if they know of someone else who would be interested in your product. I teach Scouts in my son’s unit when they go door-to-door and make the sale to ask them if they know of someone else in the neighborhood who would want to support me as well by buying popcorn. Often they will mention a person in the neighborhood. You will be amazed at the number of sales your youth has when they say, “Hi my name is Joe Scout. Mrs. Smith down the street suggested I ask if you will help me pay my way in Scouting by buying some popcorn.”

Finally, Upselling requires knowing all aspects of your product line. If the customer is buying two items it may be to their benefit to purchase a pre-bundled package. Understand customers who purchase a pre-bundled package will purchase the same product the next year 78% of the time. My son takes the first day of the popcorn sale and calls all of the people who purchased pre-packaged items. Over the years this is typically $600-700 in sales the first day. In addition, the consumer feels like you are looking out for them by giving them more than what is expected.

3. Follow up

Follow-up is the step which is often overlooked. In the Salesmanship Merit Badge, Requirement 2b is “Follow up with customers after their purchase to confirm their satisfaction and discuss their concerns about the product or service.” How is this done? Ask. I instruct Boy Scouts in my son’s Troop two weeks after delivering the product to ask their customers three questions.

  1. How did they like the product they purchased?
  2. Would they purchase this product or a similar product in the future?
  3. (if they say yes to Question 2) Would they like to purchase additional product for themselves or another person.

I understand getting follow-up information from people who purchase product at a store front is difficult. However, I know of units who place these questions on paper taped to the product with a phone number and web address to fill out the form. It also gives the customer the ability to buy more popcorn online from their home.

4. Say Thank You

Finally, it is important to say thank you. Follow up by going around and placing a thank you card at all of your door-to-door customers. This can be done in coordination with the follow-up survey. This works well if the person is not home to answer the survey. Do this one thing and see your repeat business next year soar.

I hope this six-part series on teaching youth to sell was valuable information. If you have any questions or comments regarding this series, please leave them below.


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