Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kaitlin McDade, Top Seller of Girl Scout Cookies in Memphis, Sets, Attacks her Goals AND CAN HOOP

I ran across this awesome story in the Commercial Appeal. Then I found out that the young lady played basketball at Colonial. Then I found out she made All Tournament Team for the MLK tournament this season. Congrats Kaitlin! Keep it up! You are doing Awesome!

The gray Honda arrived in front of Midtown’s CashSaver grocery at 4 p.m. Friday, loaded to the hilt with cases of Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils and other Girl Scout cookies.

Eighth-grader Kaitlin McDade of Troop 10606, her mother, Sonya Johnson, and brother Korbin McDade scrambled with the efficiency of a NASCAR pit crew: Unfolding the green card table, stacking the cookies atop and below it, placing side-by-side a wood box for the cash and a plastic bag for coins, and leaning three folding chairs against a column.

Those chairs — as if symbols of mediocrity — would stay folded and unused for two hours.
The Mid-South’s record-breaking seller of Girl Scout cookies stood smiling in front of the table, making eye contact and greeting each passer-by with a: “Hello, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies today?”

That’s the technique of a 14-year-old Colonial Middle School student who sold 3,013 boxes of cookies last year, 223 more than second place in the 59-county Heart of the South Girl Scouts Council.

It’s hard to turn them down and harder still to avoid them this time of year. Like a late-winter harbinger of the spring, nearly 7,500 of the council’s Girl Scouts post themselves in front of businesses for four consecutive weekends. Friday will kick off Weekend No. 2, and March 16 is the last day.

The kindergarten through 12th-grade girls in the Heart of the South Council sold an average of 211 boxes last year. That’s among the highest council averages in the nation.

Kaitlin’s goal is to sell more than 3,100 boxes this year. She has to. Her mother is on the hook for the $10,850 worth of cookies they ordered. What does not sell they must eat, literally or figuratively.
Kaitlin pre-ordered 1,100 more boxes than any other Scout in the council.

That’s the kind of can-do goal-setting that impresses Pam Routh. The Commercial Appeal asked the former president of the Sales & Marketing Society of the Mid-South to observe Kaitlin selling cookies and offer any analysis.

Routh, vice president of sales for Start 2 Finish Event Management, did one better. She approached Kaitlin’s cookie table as a potential customer. Kaitlin had never met Routh.

“I’d hire her,” Routh said after buying three boxes and then observing Kaitlin for an hour.

“You’ve got good eye contact,” Routh told Kaitlin. “You’ve got a nice smile, and I notice you get in front of the table. You’re moving and you’re approachable. The table is not between you and the client.’’

Tables, chairs, even arms crossed on the chest, can be barriers between a seller and potential customers.

“Also, you do great in saying ‘Thank you,’ ’’ Routh told Kaitlin.

The Girl Scouts say they owe huge ‘‘thank you’s’’ to businesses like Kroger, Wal-Mart, Petco, Hollywood Feed, Huey’s and others who allow them to sell in front of their doors.

“Without the support of local retailers and store owners we would not be able to be successful,” said Kristen Posey Russell, spokesman for the Memphis-based Heart of the South Council.

Cookie sales are vital to Girl Scouts, funding 80 percent of the operating budget, Russell said. The council sold a record 1,689,959 boxes — $5.9 million worth — in 2012, the Girl Scouts’ centennial year, and nearly 1.6 million boxes — nearly $5.5 million worth — last year.

Selling cookies teaches girls five key skills, she said: Goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Kaitlin has also learned the value of hard work. She’s sacrificing her entire weekends from mid-February to mid-March to sell cookies either in front of stores or on the busy corner of Park at Semmes.

But she takes them everywhere she goes throughout the week. When her family took her grandmother to the hospital last week, Kaitlin sold 15 boxes to a nurse.

This is her sixth year to sell. “She always wanted to be the top seller. They get to go have lunch and get a prize,” said Johnson, her mother. “This year she will get an iPad mini. Last year she got a Google Nexus tablet.”

As she sold cookies in front CashSaver, Kaitlin told Routh that she didn’t like coming in fifth place in sales for the first few years, adding, “I told my mom I wanted to be in first place.”

“You like winning?” Routh asked.

“Yes I do,” Kaitlin said.

“You’re very competitive,” Routh said to the girl who plays basketball, volleyball and runs track. “That’s a very good thing to have in sales, actually. Because you want to be the best.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.