Give Me a Little Credit

Girl Scout cookies should be listed as an addictive substance requiring a prescription from a medical professional.

Or at least it seems that way.

At certain times of year it seems that enterprising Girls Scouts are as ubiquitous in my neighborhood as coffee shops and yoga pants. They’re in front of my supermarket. At the entrance to the mall. At sporting events. You name it.

So the Girl Scouts are doing a great job getting in front of customers. They’re also smiling and proudly showing off those boxes of Thin Mints that seem to have an otherworldly appeal, especially right before lunch. And clearly it’s a good cause.

But (and there’s often a but), there’s a problem: The Girl Scouts I see only take cash. (*) And most of the time I don’t have any cash on me.

What this means is that I have to take an extra step or two to get cash before I can buy any tasty cookies. If I’m really feeling motivated, I’ll get cash back at the store and buy some cookies on the way out, but sometimes I either forget or don’t want the cookies enough that day to take the extra step.

And, judging by the number of wistful glances I see on the faces of other people walking by their folding tables and handmade signs, I don’t think I’m alone. We’re moving more and more to a cashless society, after all. We don’t carry checks or cash, at least most of us.

Of course what this means is that the Girl Scouts are losing money by making it just inconvenient enough to buy their cookies. If they accepted credit, they’d sell a lot more cookies.

The lesson here is obvious: The more you understand what’s holding potential customers back from doing business with you, the easier it will be to add a little more grease to the skids. So pay close attention. It may be something you can easily fix that doesn’t require a huge investment of time and money.

And once you gain that understanding, you’ll probably sell a whole lot more than a few boxes of cookies.

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(*) Yes, I know a few do accept credit, but haven’t seen them in my area. One Girl Scout mom told me they’d tried taking credit but couldn’t get it to work, so they gave up on the idea — seemingly forever.

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