Hearing ‘no’ when selling Scout popcorn can be worth something, too

Not all of Scouting’s lessons are included in the handbooks.

Case in point: Boys who hear “no thanks” again and again when selling Scout popcorn are actually learning something important.

That’s the theory of Scouter Trey Tompkins, who wrote a LinkedIn post called “Thanks for not buying popcorn from my son.”

The headline makes it sound like Tompkins is being sarcastic. But he’s serious.

True, those noes are no help to the Scout’s fundraising efforts, but they do offer something almost as valuable, he writes. They teach a lesson in sales and achievement.

In sales, no matter how good your cause is (or no matter how cute you are in your little Scout uniform) people don’t owe you anything. They have to have a reason to want your product or “service.” Most people who donated or bought popcorn told the kids that they wanted to support the Scouts because they themselves or their children had been Scouts. My guess is that they knew the good works that Scouting does for kids and it made them feel good to make a small investment in that.

I agree with Tompkins’ theory. Even if the Scout doesn’t go into sales as a career, he’ll still hear “no” a lot in life. But he’ll have the strength to keep his chin up and keep pressing for that “yes.”

Tompkins already sees evidence of that concept in his own son.

Over dinner, he told me that selling is hard work because you have to let so many people tell you “no” before you ever get someone to tell you “yes.”

You can read his full post on Scouting Newsroom.

What other lessons does selling Scout popcorn teach?

Share your thoughts below.

Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Peter Self for the blog post idea. Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by CDavisWI

About Bryan Wendell 3217 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.