So You Want To Sell Girl Scout Cookies

Many new leaders and cookie managers are overwhelmed by the Girl Scout Cookie Program.  It seems like a lot of work for not a lot of reward.  It seems crazy, and not worth doing on first glance.  After all, what’s the point of selling a lot of cookies.  There are other, better ways to raise money for the troop.  You’re not sure you want to sell Girl Scout Cookies.  I understand.

It is worth it.  Whether it is worth it in terms of dollars and cents is open for discussion.  That’s not the only reason to sell cookies.  The real reason is that selling cookies is teaching girls business skills, and how to manage a budget, marketing, sales techniques, and about what it takes to run a business.  The girls who sell the most cookies, get the biggest bang for their buck.

So, how does a girl sell 1000, 2000, or even 3000 boxes of cookies?  If you look at the picture to the left, the girl in the middle is my younger daughter, Xena.  She sold 3041 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies this past year.  My older daughter who is in high school sold 1659 boxes this year.  It is really not difficult to do, it just takes time, a little bit of planning, and a girl who really wants to sell a lot of cookies.  Note that Girl Scouts is about the GIRLS, and not a question of how many cookies the adults can sell.

So, how do these girls do it?

I assure you, I am not the one selling the cookies, but I do help them with some good techniques.

 

  1. Set a Realistic Goal.  People who set goals are more likely to reach them.  In the case of Girl Scout Cookies, girls typically sell about 30% more cookies when they set a goal.  That does not mean setting a goal for 2000 boxes, when you’ve never sold before.  Try for 100, 200, or even 300.  You could go for crazy like Xena, and set a goal of 500 boxes as a first grader.  
  2. Create a Plan.  Contact local businesses and ask to set up a cookie booth in front of their business.  The best locations are those with plenty of foot traffic.  More people = more in sales.  Best yet- have the girls put in their vests, and go ASK to set up a cookie booth, and make sure if you do a booth, to write a thank you note afterwards, and give them a few boxes of cookies.
  3. Make Your Table Cute. Make nice, clear signs with big letters that are viewed from a distance.  Also, keep food, snacks, beverages, and other things AWAY from the table.  Girls should also stand up whenever there are customers.  In some instances where girls are working booths for 8-10 hours, we bring a stool, so that they can be at eye height, yet sit a little bit of the time.
  4. Ask People to Buy Cookies.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people go walking on by, until a girl asks them to buy cookies.  (Note it HAS to be the girls doing it to be effective) People will turn around and come buy cookies.  Lots and Lots of times.
  5. Wear Your Best Smile. Smile until your cheeks hurt, and wave at people, and say “Hi”, and “Please”, and “Thank you”.  Be super friendly.
  6. Dress For The Weather. We live in the south.  Winter is not as cold here as it is in other parts of the country.  My daughters have nice, warm ski pants, long underwear, and heavy duty winter boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and even hand warmers that they wear during cookie season.  40 Degrees isn’t too cold until you have to go stand in it for 3-4 hours at a time.

In general, I’ve found that it’s possible to get to 300 or so boxes with going door to door for a couple of hours, and 2-3 cookie booths.  To get to 1000 boxes, then we spend more time at booths, typically most weekends. 2000 requires all 6 weekends of the cookie sale, and a few week nights as well.  To get to 3000 boxes like my daughter did, pretty much required setting up camp outside of a store for the entire cookie sale.  When she wasn’t at TaeKwonDo, or Basketball, she was selling cookies.

Selling Girl Scout Cookies isn’t so hard – it’s a question of just choosing the right spot, and putting in the time, following the tips above.

— Haley Gray

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