Organize a Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sale
Booth sales are a great way to get rid of cookies, spend some time with your troop, boost the girls' cookie count, and make lots of people happy. Unfortunately, its not as simple as "Set up a table and sell". There is a lot more planning involved. Proper planning will ensure a successful and fun booth sale.
Before the Sale
- When cookies come in, order what the girls need for their customers, as well as plenty of extras for the booth sale. If you know that nobody sold many Thin Mints this year, you may not want to buy as many so that you don't have tons of extra thin mints afterwards.
- Have your troop create a poster (or posters) that tell the price of the cookies and include large, colorful pictures of the cookies. You can also include nutrition facts. You can also have the posters saying what your goal is and how many boxes you want to sell
- Educate your troop. Make sure each girl knows which cookies contain nuts, chocolate, etc, and which cookies are healthier (usually, there is at least one type of cookie that is fat free or low fat). If possible, obtain samples of each cookie so that each girl can offer their opinions on a particular cookie if a customer asks.
- Make sure that your girls can tell customers what their GOAL is. Customers will buy more cookies if girls can clearly describe what the profits will be going toward - ie. camp or a trip, etc.
- Train your girls in POLITE selling. Nicely asking for support is not enough. ALWAYS say, "Thank you anyway." or "Have a nice day."
- If your troop plans to donate cookies to a cause, make a sign that indicates who you are donating to and that you are accepting cookie donations for this group. Make sure your girls KNOW what this group is and why they chose it.
- Make thank you notes. They can be fancy, personal notes, or just pieces of paper that say "Thanks". These will go in the bag with the cookies for the customers. Make sure your troop writes lots of them!
Finding a Location
- This will depend on your council. Find out if there is someone centrally arranging booths before you start calling around as this can lead to double-calling of businesses which is bad etiquette.
- Ask the scouts' parents if they have "connections". If they work at a store like Kmart, Walmart, a local grocery store, or another place of the like, they may be able to get your troop a spot selling by the door.
- Call around. Place phone calls to local businesses that you might be able to sell in front of them. You might ask other leaders what stores they've had luck with in the past. Another tactic would be to find a store that isn't as big or common as the ones previously mentioned, but still gets a lot of customers, because the waiting list for these stores won't be as long.
- When you find a location, visit it and get an idea of where you can put your booth, where you'll keep your extra boxes/cookies, and what kind of bathroom and food facilities will be available.
- Speak with the manager. Ask how long you can stay, if you can use furniture or tables (as opposed to bringing your own), and whatever other questions you may have.
Setting Up the Booth
- Set up the table. Set some of the cookies (maybe 4-5 boxes per cookie) on the table. (Customers often purchase in even numbers. Placing 5 boxes out ensures that you'll still have at least one box on display if the customer purchases up to four.) Organize the cookies on the table in rows or piles. You may want to put them in a specific order. Color order (Red to Purple - in the order of colors on a rainbow) and Cookie Sheet order (the order in which the cookies are listed on the order form) are the most common. You may also want to put the most popular cookies (Thin Mints and Samoas) to either end so customers must scan all the boxes looking for their favorites.
- Decorate and set the scene. Most Girl Scout offices sell posters, car window flags (that can also be attached to shopping carts or taped to walls), and other things of the like, and you may even be able to get cookie costumes - you or your girls can dress up as their favorite cookies and attract attention.
- Store the extra inventory. Put the rest of the cookies behind or under the table where they can easily be reached. If you are at a grocery store, use a couple of carts/buggies to hold your cookies. Just keep them together so its easy to open up a new case. Store empty cartons and coats under the cart/buggy.
- Get your cash box ready. Get out a pencil box, can, or other small container with a lid, a notebook, and a pen. The container will hold the money. Some leaders use a fanny pack or a bank money bag so the cash can be kept safe with them at all times.
- Keep track of sales. On an empty sheet in a notebook, write the names of all the cookies, with at least one line per type. Every time someone buys a box, make a tally mark next to the kind they bought to keep up with your sales. You might use a copy of a follow-on order form to track each booth sale. This isn't always necessary. You can use simple match with your booth tally sheet to determine total sales using inventory counts both before and after the sale.
- Keep track of donations. You may also want to write down what you get in donations, if any. Some people will give donations
Dealing With a Customer
- When someone walks by, have a girl say something like "Hello Sir (or Madam). Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies from Troop (Insert troop number here)?" If they say no or that they've already bought some, say "Thanks anyway. Have a nice day." If they say yes however, go on to the next step.
- Stand nearby as they examine the cookies and try to make up their mind. Do not hover over them, but be ready in case they ask which cookies are the best or which are healthiest. Answer truthfully, and help them make their selection.
- Put the cookies in a bag, along with a thank you note. Wait for the customer to hand you the money they owe you, then hand the cookies to them and say "Thank you, and have a nice day."
- Always answer a customer's questions truthfully.
- It's always handy to have a calculator nearby, just in case you need to make some change and you're having a bit of trouble. Or create a "cheat-sheet" with prices from 1 to 12 boxes on it and tape this to your table.
- To advertise, try renting or making a "cookie suit" that you can wear or purchasing a picket sign. You can also buy a sticker for your car or T-shirts that say things like "Got Cookies?".
- When you're looking for a place to sell, see if any of the girls' parents work at big businesses such as K-Mart. You may get a good deal and some inside help.
- You may try to make "small talk" with the customer. This just may enhance their decision to buy cookies. You should always try to keep the conversation on Girl Scouts. This is a good time to talk about goals and what the girls did with the profits last year.
Remember to thank them.
- When buying cookies to sell, it is always better to overbuy than run short.
- Try buying cookies beforehand and waiting about 2 weeks after cookie sales have stopped, you will sell more that way because people will be running out of cookies.
- Obviously, you will need a place to sell. Most businesses (Target, Walmart, K-Mart, etc) will allow you to sell, though some will want you to pay. Before accepting an offer, make sure you can sit by the main door. You aren't going to sell much if you're off to the side or near the garden department in the wintertime (when nobody will be shopping there).
- If you want to help charity you can put a jar that says charity.
- Do not hand the cookies to the customer until they give you the money. They may try to take the cookies without paying.
- Make sure you keep an eye on the money container and cookies. Some people will sneak up behind you and steal themselves some free cookies when you have your back turned (this is why you should keep extras under the table), or may try to take your money.
- If somebody asks what the cookies taste like (such as 07's little brownie bites or 08 and 09's sugar free chocolate chips) be honest but don't say they taste like dirt, even if they do.
- As the leader, you may end up buying any cookies that don't get sold. Prepare to spend tons of money on cookies that you may not eat - NOT. Good planning and coordination with other troops in your area can reduce the amount of cookies that EVERYONE has left over to a minimum.
Things You'll Need
- Girl Scout troop
- Pencil box or other small container
- Notebook or Tally Sheet
- Something to keep the girls entertained
- Bags for cookies (preferably with GS logo on them)
- Thank You notes
- Lots and lots of cookies
- Extra money for making change
- First Aid Kit
- Become a Peddler
- Make Girl Scout SWAPS
- Make a S'more
- Become an Eagle Scout
- Join the Boy Scouts
- Form a Small Youth Club
- Sell Homemade Cookies