What’s the best way to celebrate the start of this year’s Girl Scout Cookie program? With a troop cookie kickoff, of course! In honor of 100+ years of Girl Scouts selling cookies, here are 7 fun ways to get your girls excited (and prepared!) for the cookie program.
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1. Set Cookie Program Goals
The best way to set goals is to start by asking your troop, “What do we want to do with the money we earn from the Cookie Program?”
If you have a younger troop, it’s helpful to bring along some concrete examples of activities to choose from, such as going to a water park, camping, or completing a service project. (Need some inspiration? Check out our Activity Finder for tons of cool Girl Scout programs and events!) If possible, it’s also best to provide the girls with some visual aids that can help them understand each activity – an explanatory YouTube video, brochure, or website can be an easy tool to get girls inspired.
Once the girls decide on a few activities, work with them to figure out how much each activity costs. Then, plan backwards to figure out how many cookie boxes each girl needs to sell in order to earn enough money to power her adventures for the year! Use the cookie goal tree or tracking sheet to help each girl track her goals and progress along the way.
2. Earn Your Cookie Badges
The beginning of the year is the perfect opportunity for your troop to earn their cookie-related badges – just in time to put their new skills to work during the cookie program! The badge activities, which can be found in each grade level’s Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, are comprehensive and easy to follow, and are a great way to teach your girls critical business, marketing, and communication skills.
Break the badge activities up so that you focus on a handful during each meeting, or gather the troop for a half-day cookie badge workshop where you complete them all in one fell swoop.
- Daisy Cookie Business leaves: Count It Up, Talk It Up
- Brownie Cookie Business badges: Meet My Customers, Give Back
- Junior Cookie Business badges: Cookie CEO, Customer Insights
- Cadette Cookie Business badges: Business Plan, Marketing, Think Big
- Senior Cookie Business badges: My Portfolio, Customer Loyalty
- Ambassador Cookie Business badges: Research and Development, P&L (Profit & Loss)
3. Plan and Decorate Your Cookie Booth
Cookie booths are a great way to step up your cookie sales and give your girls the chance to interact one-on-one with customers in a safe environment. During the booth sale, money is collected on the spot and customers take their cookies with them immediately!
If your girls are interested in participating in booth sales, use your cookie kickoff to discuss possible locations and decoration themes. Well-decorated, visually interesting booths are proven to attract more customers and produce more sales! Build in enough time for your girls to get creative and start making signs, customers, and any other booth decorations they might need. For ideas to get the creativity flowing, check our cookie booth Pinterest board!
Finally, don’t forget to sign up for booth sales! Check out the Troop Cookie Manual for instructions on using the Booth Scheduler in eBudde or follow the instructions provided by your Service Unit’s Cookie Manager or Booth Coordinator. For more information on Cookie booths, refer to the Girl Scouts of Northern California Booth Info & Etiquette tip sheet.
4. Get Ready for This Year’s Cookie Pro Challenge
Are your girls barrier breakin,’ challenge crushin,’ lead takin’ cookie entrepreneurs? This cookie season, show the world how the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world prepares girls to lead, learn, succeed, and shine—not only for today but also for the future—by entering our Girl Scouts of the USA’s Cookie Pro 2018 Contest from January 2 through April 30, 2018. Every girl who enter earns this exclusive patch!
5. Practice Your Sales Pitch
The sales pitch is a tried-and-true standard of successful sales people and gives your girls the confidence they need to be prepared for their sale and meet their goals!
A good sales pitch includes the following components:
- Greet the customer and introduce yourself
- Share your goals
- Ask customer if they would like to buy cookies
- Recommend your favorite cookie and/or suggest cookies as gifts
- Close the sale
- Say thank you and goodbye
Every customer your girls meet will have different needs, interests, and experiences with Girl Scout cookies (AKA a “customer persona”), so it’s important for your girls to practice handling all of the different customer personas they might encounter! Here’s a fun game to get your girls warmed up and ready to tackle even the toughest of sales this year:
- Write down a few different customer personas, fold them, and put them into a bowl.
- Next, have your girls pair up so that one girl is a customer and one girl is a seller.
- The customer should then pull a persona out of the bowl – they’ll be acting out this persona with the seller. (For older girls, it’s more challenging to keep the customer persona a secret so that only the customer knows what the solution is. Otherwise, the customer can read her persona out loud to give the seller a chance to prepare some talking points!)
- Then, in front of the troop (or in smaller groups, if that’s more comfortable), have the pair act out the sales pitch between the customer and seller as the seller tries to persuade the customer to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies.
- The goal of the activity is for the seller to practice tailoring her pitch to the customer’s unique persona. For example, if the customer says they don’t eat cookies, her pitch should include the option to donate cookies to the Gift of Caring program.
- The round ends when the sale has been made (or after 2 minutes, if you have a stubborn customer! J).
Some example customer persona’s include:
- A man who says that he doesn’t eat cookies
- A woman who has a Girl Scout at home
- A woman who says she’s in a hurry but was a Girl Scout when she was younger
- A man who doesn’t have any cash on him
- A woman who already bought 3 boxes from another troop
6. Bake the Original Girl Scout Cookie Recipe
Did you know that Girl Scouts used to bake the cookies they sold? Help your girls get into the spirit of the cookie sale by baking this original recipe that was used in 1922, together!
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- additional sugar for topping (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired.
Bake in an oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Yields about 6 dozen cookies.
7. Test Your Cookie Product Knowledge
Knowing your product is the #1 key to making a sale! In order to equip your girls with everything they need to know to succeed during the sale, try your hand at creating a trivia game out of these basic cookie sale product facts:
Q. How much does a box of cookies cost?
A. At Girl Scouts of Northern California, Girl Scout S’mores and Toffee-tastic cost $6/box. All other cookies cost $5/box.
Q. What is the top-selling Girl Scout cookie in America?
A. Thin Mints
Q. Which cookie tastes like chocolate, coconut, and caramel?
Q. Are any of the cookies gluten-free?
A. Yes, the Toffee-tastic is gluten-free.
Q. What payment methods can troops accept?
A. Cash, check, and credit card.
Q. Which Cookies are for sale during the 2017 sale?
A. Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Toffee-tastic, Girl Scout S’mores
Q. Which cookie tastes like lemon zest and powdered sugar?
A. Savannah Smiles
Q. If people want to donate their cookies, where do they go?
A. The Gift of Caring program allows customers to donate their cookies to the military or a local food bank.
Q. What is the last day to sell cookies?
A. March 5th, 2017
Q. Which cookie tastes like buttery shortbread?
Q. When should you collect the cookie money from customers? When they order, or when you deliver?
A. When you deliver; however, if the customer is only purchasing donation cookies, they can collect the money right away, since there won’t be anything to deliver.
Q. What are the 3 ways that a person can buy Girl Scout cookies?
A. Direct from a Girl Scout, a cookie booth, or online through Digital Cookie.
Q. How many boxes of Girl Scout cookies are sold each season?
A. Around 200 million boxes, according to ABC Baker.
Q. How many years have Girl Scouts been selling cookies?
A. 100 years as of 2017!
Psst – if you’re savvy with PowerPoint or Google Slides, you might try using a free Jeopardy template to turn these questions into a game of Jeopardy, instead!
No matter what you do to prepare for your cookie sale this year, we’re confident that you and your girls have what it takes to meet and exceed your goals with ease (seriously – you’ve got this).
Now, we want to know: how are you preparing for Girl Scout cookie season this year?
Marissa Vessels—Marissa is a lifelong Girl Scout, Gold Awardee, and Marketing Manager at Girl Scout of Northern California. Though she’s originally from Southern California (Yay, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council!), she moved to the East Bay to attend UC Berkeley and never looked back. One of her favorite things about Girl Scouting in the Bay Area is all the incredible hiking and camping options available to girls who love to explore the outdoors!