That time of the year is upon us. You know what I’m talking about, Girl Scout cookie season. This year, your favorite little cookie salesperson is offering up classics, like Trefoils (Shortbread) and Thin Mints, plus newer offerings, like Adventurefuls or Toast-yay cookies, depending on their council’s baker.
Written by Stephanie Greenwald and Ashely Toler, Indy with Kids
If your scouts are anything like ours, they have some lofty goals for this season. No need to rack your brain on ways to help your cookie entrepreneur hit her intended mark. We did the work for you, and have put together more than 50 ideas on how to make this cookie season one for the books.
Always Be Prepared
Like a good Girl Scout, you should always be prepared. A cookie parent in our troop ALWAYS has cookies on-hand, because the cases never leave the back hatch of her vehicle. She always has stock readily available for the entirety of the cookie season, and it makes selling a breeze when people can get their cookies immediately.
Know Your Product
Thin Mints are dairy-free and vegan. Toffee-tastic and Caramel Chocolate Chip are gluten-free. Make sure your girls are well-versed on the cookies they are selling, because dietary issues will come up often and customers may not know these options exist for them.
Dress for Success
Represent your brand when you are selling, no matter the situation. If you are going door-to-door, make sure you are dressed in something representing Girl Scouts. Even if it is super chilly during your cookie booth shift, put your sash on over your puffy coat.
Create the Perfect Pitch
We have sisters in our troop who write their own skit every cookie season to record and upload. Each year it gets more elaborate, with costumes and storyline, and they always use it as their main marketing tool. Make a video pitch of your own. Maybe write a jingle, and definitely use props!
Make Regular Social Updates
Share your scout’s sales goal and Digital Cookie link on social media, and make it a priority to update progress on a weekly basis. Post about your in-hand cookie stock, how close (or far) they are from their goal, and reminders as cookie season draws to a close. Those posts can be the last push your scout needs to reach her end-of-season goal.
Practice Makes Polished
Role-play different scenarios and responses your scout may encounter during their selling season, so they have a chance to prepare responses. Knowing what to potentially expect means there are fewer surprises, and allows your scout to sell with confidence.
Build a Customer Base
Form a relationship with your customers. After a sale or after the season, send out thank you notes. Reach out to buyers when cookie sales start the next season mentioning how much you appreciate their business. Next year, be sure to remind them cookie season is coming.
Do Your Research
What did Tom Smith buy last cookie season, five boxes of Do-si-dos? When you call to inquire about this cookie season, be sure to use that as your pitch. “Mr. Smith, I know you ordered five boxes of Do-si-dos last cookie season. I was wondering if you would like to repeat that order this year?” The likelihood is, they will either accept the repeat order or be so impressed by your savvy seller, they add boxes to it.
Personalized Thank Yous
Anytime my scout gets a sale, we do a personalized thank you video to that friend or family member. Throughout cookie season, these are all added as new comments to my original post announcing the opening of cookie season and linking her sale site. This way, not only do we make sure everyone gets an immediate and tagged “thank you”, it also continues to boost the post, making it more visible.
What can your scout do to set their delivered cookies apart from everyone else? Unique packaging, like tying boxes together with curly ribbon or packing them in gift bags with fun tissue paper are fun ways to go. Including something special, like handwritten notes, photo thank you cards, or a drawn picture can also help make it a unique experience.
Aim For an Add-on
Another thing you can do when delivering cookies is add a flyer or postcard about the “Care to Share” opportunity to every order you deliver. These are cookies that will be donated to military, community helpers, and essential workers. This offers the opportunity to get even closer to your goal, if your customer decides to add on a donation after purchase. Make sure to include all of your ordering information for Digital Cookie, since donated cookies ship for free.
Run a Cookie Booth
Hotspot Cookie Booths
These are cookie booth locations set up by your council, so all the work securing a location is taken care of for you. Make sure you see when your local sign-ups open, to get the best times/ locations possible for your troop and sign up for as many as you can. If you miss out on desired locations or times, be sure to sign-up for the waitlist so you can be notified if cancellations occur and spots become available.
Have a Successful Booth
Happy scouts have happy customers, so it is important not to overwhelm them with too many responsibilities or shifts that are too long. You also don’t want them to have too little to do and get bored. Finding the perfect balance by assigning and rotating jobs in a manageable time frame will keep your girls focused on the task at hand. Positive attitudes creating a positive atmosphere is the first step to a successful cookie booth.
Make The Booth Creative
Make sure your table is very noticeable and neat. Stack your cookies so people can see them clearly. Check out Pinterest for some fun themed-booth decor ideas.
Use balloons to make your booth more visible and noticeable to potential customers. Or, tie balloons to a wagon as you walk around the neighborhood.
Make awesome signs for your booth. Use creative signage, bright colors, and catchy sayings, as well legible font and proper spacing to be easily read. Hold a sign or wear a signboard at the entrance of the parking lot or a street corner where your booth is set up to attract drivers and direct them where to go.
Create a Jingle
Girls can sing together, over and over, attracting customers. Write a jingle to the tune of “Jingle Bells” or a rap to the beat of Run-D.M.C.’s “Tricky”. “It’s cookie (cookie) cookie (cookie)”
The best thing to come out of the last couple of years is curbside pick-up. I don’t want to get out of the car to shop for anything and now I don’t have to. Hosting a drive-thru event so people can buy cookies from the convenience of their cars, is the perfect opportunity to sell to folks who feel the same.
Set Up Your Online Website
Selling cookies is easier than ever, with the free Girl Scout Digital Cookie website. It’s a great way for out-of-town family and friends to support your girl.
These “booth” locations can be signed up for online through your council. This opportunity is typically for older scouts, and everyone who signs up to participate needs to attend training prior to attending the event. Great opportunity to add a chance for extra sales, if you can!
Accept Multiple Forms of Payment
It’s advised that you always check with your council to verify all rules and best practices. Most councils offer some sort of credit card payment option. You can also accept checks made out to your troop, and of course, cold hard cash. Previously, you could also accept Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, and more as additional options, but those are being advised against for this cookie season due to tax law changes.
Create A QR Code
Have it link directly to your scouts ordering site, and go big, small, or anywhere in-between. Options are endless. You can use it to make a sign for your front yard, a window cling for your car, or even tape it to boxes you sell, so customers can snap and reorder easily. Free QR code creation sites are easily available with a quick web search
Ask for Email Addresses
Send emails to previous customers and make a social media post asking for new people to share their email addresses for the purpose of your scout reaching out. The Girl Scout Digital Cookie platform is a great resource, allowing you to send automated emails once your cookie shop is open, as a reminder to order before cookie season ends, and as a thank you, if cookies are purchased. Bonus, your scout will earn a patch for submitting a certain number of emails to potential customers.
Use Video Chat
Reach out to family and friends ahead of time to make sure they are okay with your cookie entrepreneur reaching out, then once they agree, schedule a block of time to call and which method is preferred. Younger girls may need to spread this out over several days, to avoid burnout and keep up their enthusiasm with their sales pitch, while older girls may be able to get it done in one fell swoop.
Cookie Booth Finder App
Make sure any booth you participate in is listed on the cookie booth finder app, by submitting paperwork and getting it approved by your Girl Scout Council. This gets you even more free publicity, and takes little effort on your part in the long run.
How to Appeal to the Anti-Cookie Customer:
Educate about Cookie Sales
Many hesitant customers may be more apt to buy or donate if they know where their money is going. Share how your troop intends to use the funds earned from cookie sales. Share your own sales goals and tell them what you have learned during this experience. Tell them what the contribution means to you specifically.
Promote Donating Girl Scout Cookies
As the Girl Scout saying goes, “If you can’t eat them, maybe you could treat them?” People who cannot eat cookies (or aren’t quite willing to give up on their New Year’s resolutions just yet,) may be more inclined to donate a box of cookies to the Care to Share program. We always offer the option when selling door-to-door, and have a decorated drop box at our booths for donations. In year’s past, these donations went to our military, but newer options include community helpers and essential workers.
Use Donation Jars
Maybe they don’t really want cookies (gasp) or medically cannot have cookies due to health or dietary restrictions. Maybe they don’t have the money to spare to donate a box, but still want to contribute in some way. This is when a donation jar at your booth can come in handy for whatever charity your troop chooses to donate to. Change can add up quickly. Our troop did this one year and raised over $100 in change for a local charity.
Practice Good Rejection Etiquette
The worst thing that can happen is a “No.” That’s it. When your scout is prepared for a “No” response and handles it politely, it can make a huge impact on a prospective customer. “Thank you anyway! I appreciate you letting me practice my speech with you!” I have witnessed this first-hand turn into a sale or troop donation.
In Your Neighborhood & Around Town:
Restock Your Customers
Contact all of your early season cookie customers before the season ends to see if they need to stock up again, before cookies are gone for another year.
Have a cart, wagon, or even a bookbag? Load it up with a good variety and walk around your neighborhood. Make sure to bring change and a credit card swiper, to make things easy on your customer.
Print a Map
If you are breaking out on foot for sales around the neighborhood, print off a paper copy of a map of the area you will be walking. We print off our neighborhood and color-code the houses after we stop by. Red is for declines on no soliciting signs, green is for purchases, black is if it is the home of a fellow scout, and yellow is if they weren’t home and we should try again another time. This helps stay organized on houses to return to, as well as areas to avoid, so you don’t encroach on a fellow scout’s neighbors.
Place Door Hangers
If you don’t plan to walk around again to hit up the houses you missed the first time, be sure to print off door hangers with all the ordering information listed for your scout. You are already walking up to the door, so make every step an opportunity for an order. Include your custom QR Code for easy ordering.
Break out on your own and sell at other businesses, like your parents’ office building or church. Ask your teachers and school staff, coaches, and aides.
Look for Everyday Opportunities
Going to the hairdresser, a frequented restaurant, or even your doctor’s office? Almost anywhere can be an opportunity to sell cookies, and you can’t sell them, if you don’t ask! Check out nursing homes and assisted living facilities for additional opportunities.
College Kids Crave Cookies
Head to a college campus. Go door-to-door down the frat row. Mid-week snacks and weekend treats are always welcome. Research busy times on campus and set up shop outside the student union or in front of the library. Have a credit card reader or QR code ready to take payment.
Connect with the principal or teacher friend and hiit up a high school sporting event to collect orders. Park your wagon outside a concert venue or see if you can set up shop at a local theater or dance production.
Partner up with another scout in your troop to have a “sell-off.” Set up a board as a visual of weekly “cookie matches”. If you pair Thin Mints and Trefoils, and Thin Mints outsell the other cookie during that week, they move forward in the tournament. Make it a 4 week deal, encourage sales of specific cookies during that time frame, and crown an ultimate cookie when the time frame is up.
Carry Extras During Delivery
When dropping off deliveries, always take extras with you, in case they want to add to their order. It is easier for both of you, if you don’t have to schedule a second delivery time.
Bundle Them Up
Create bundles for those customers who aren’t quite sure what to order. Offer a “Peanut Butter Lover” bundle, “Choco-holic Choices”, “Classic Mix”, “Top Sellers”, or something all your own creation. You could even have your scout offer a 3-pack of their favorites, something like “Sarah’s Super Selections.” Not only does it personalize your seller, it makes them memorable for new customers.
Offer the option to deliver donations outside the standard online offerings. Someone wants to buy for all the teachers at school or all the CNAs in a retirement community? Let it be known your scout will gladly deliver and distribute those donations for them.
Ask the Family for Help
Everyone can help support your scout. Parents and grandparents can help by bringing order forms to work or social events, siblings can help walk around and knock on doors.
Check with your local council to see if there are cookie costumes available to borrow, buy your own, or if you are feeling crafty, fashion your own out of fabric, poster board, and ribbon. Truth be told, a scout parent can do almost anything with a hot glue gun. *pic
Capitalize on the Holidays
Set up shop for Valentine’s Day near a flower shop or drugstore. Who wouldn’t love flowers and cookies? We think it would be a sweet surprise for any valentine to receive.
Valentines Day Cookies
only stand outside the flower shop on Valentine’s Day but promote the cookies as great gifts for other holidays. Thin Mint boxes are green, making them perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day, and who wouldn’t want to get cookies in their Easter basket?
Sell Cookies for the Big Game
Someone is already preparing sliders, wings, seven-layer dips, and more for Super Bowl Sunday. Be sure to suggest saving some time and energy by just making a Girl Scout cookie platter to have something simple and sweet to go with all that savory.
Make Printable Tags
There are tons of free and paid printable tags available online, to help market cookie sales for a specific niche. Our favorite tags last year were meant for boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas, with sayings like “Thank you for your encourage-MINT” and “The world needs “Samoa” people like you!”
Tie-dye, vinyl, freezer paper applications, and puffy paint are all fun ways to decorate shirts to wear as a walking billboard for cookie sales promotion. Look for fun sayings, like “Cookie Boss”, “It’s Cookie Time”, or “Eat More Cookies!” would be fun additions to your design.
Go the Extra Mile
Suggest ways to use the cookies all year long and include fun recipes with your cookies when you deliver them. Chocolate is always better frozen, and Girl Scout cookies are no exception! Think of things like a Thin Mint chocolate cake, Samoa truffles, and Tagalong brownies. Or, recommend stocking up and stashing a case of Thin Mints in the deep freeze for a sweet treat that lasts all year.
Try any or all of these ideas and have a super successful cookie season. Whatever your Girl Scout does, always be safe. Follow your local council’s codes and never go anywhere without a trusted adult. Let us know which ideas worked best for you or if you have any ideas we should add to the list!