Ask, Ask, Ask

The greatest saleswoman in the world today doesn’t mind if you call her
a girl. That’s because Markita Andrews has generated more than eighty
thousand dollars selling Girl Scout cookies since she was seven years
old.
Going door-to-door after school, the painfully shy Markita transformed
herself into a cookie-selling dynamo when she discovered, at age 13, the
secret of selling.
It starts with desire. Burning, white-hot desire.
For Markita and her mother, who worked as a waitress in New York
after her husband left them when Markita was eight years old, their
dream was to travel the globe. “I’ll work hard to make enough money to
send you to college,” her mother said one day. “You’ll go to college and
when you graduate, you’ll make enough money to take you and me
around the world. Okay?”
So at age 13 when Markita read in her Girl Scout magazine that the
Scout who sold the most cookies would win an all-expenses-paid trip
for two around the world, she decided to sell all the Girl Scout cookies
she could—more Girl Scout cookies than anyone in the world, ever.
But desire alone is not enough. To make her dream come true, Markita
knew she needed a plan.
“Always wear your right outfit, your professional garb,” her aunt
advised. “When you are doing business, dress like you are doing
business. Wear your Girl Scout uniform. When you go up to people in
their tenement buildings at 4:30 or 6:30 and especially on Friday night,
ask for a big order. Always smile, whether they buy or not, always be
nice. And don’t ask them to buy your cookies; ask them to invest.”
Lots of other Scouts may have wanted that trip around the world. Lots
of other Scouts may have had a plan. But only Markita went off in her
uniform each day after school, ready to ask—and keep asking —folks to
invest in her dream. “Hi. I have a dream. I’m earning a trip around the
world for me and my mom by merchandising Girl Scout cookies,” she’d
say at the door. “Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen
boxes of cookies?”
Markita sold 3,526 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that year and won her
trip around the world. Since then, she has sold more than 42,000 boxes
of Girl Scout cookies, spoken at sales conventions across the country,
starred in a Disney movie about her adventure and has coauthored the
bestseller, How to Sell More Cookies, Condos, Cadillacs, Computers …
And Everything Else.
Markita is no smarter and no more extroverted than thousands of other
people, young and old, with dreams of their own. The difference is
Markita has discovered the secret of selling: Ask, Ask, Ask! Many
people fail before they even begin because they fail to ask for what they
want. The fear of rejection leads many of us to reject ourselves and our
dreams long before anyone else ever has the chance—no matter what
we’re selling.
And everyone is selling something. “You’re selling yourself everyday—
in school, to your boss, to new people you meet,” said Markita at 14.
“My mother is a waitress: she sells the daily special. Mayors and
presidents trying to get votes are selling. . . . One of my favorite
teachers was Mrs. Chapin. She made geography interesting, and that’s
really selling. … I see selling everywhere I look. Selling is part of the
whole world.”
It takes courage to ask for what you want. Courage is not the absence of
fear. It’s doing what it takes despite one’s fear. And, as Markita has
discovered, the more you ask, the easier (and more fun) it gets.
Once, on live TV, the producer decided to give Markita her toughest
selling challenge. Markita was asked to sell Girl Scout cookies to
another guest on the show. “Would you like to invest in one dozen or
two dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies?” she asked.
“Girl Scout cookies?! I don’t buy any Girl Scout cookies!” he replied.
“I’m a Federal Penitentiary warden. I put 2,000 rapists, robbers,
criminals, muggers and child abusers to bed every night.”
Unruffled, Markita quickly countered, “Mister, if you take some of
these cookies, maybe you won’t be so mean and angry and evil. And,
Mister, I think it would be a good idea for you to take some of these
cookies back for every one of your 2,000 prisoners, too.”
Markita asked.
The warden wrote a check. – Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen

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