Advice for First-Time Cookie Entrepreneurs (From the Pros!)

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the country, full of opportunities for your girl to gain important knowledge she can use all of her life! Girl Scouts who participate in the Cookie Program learn important business skills like goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. Girl Scouts look forward to cookie season all year long, but for first-time entrepreneurs, it can be uncharted territory!

We know that cookie season looks a little different this year, so we looked for advice from the people that know cookies best – Girl Scouts! We asked some of our Top Entrepreneurs for their best advice, and they had plenty to share with us on how they make cookie season a success!

Get Creative!

“When you can’t sell in person, try sending a text message with the link. It really helps.” – Catalina S., Junior

“I recommend writing notes to your customers to say thank you and let them know what you’ve been doing in Girl Scouts. It’s nice to let customers know what their money is going towards!” – Dylan Z., Senior

“During the Covid shutdowns, I made flyers with my phone number (which can be replaced with a parent’s number or an email address) and explained to people how they could get onto my selling website or just text/call me with their order. I included a photocopy of the product for the second option.” – Clara A., Cadette

This year more than ever, it’s important to think outside the box when finding new ways to reach your cookie customers! Luckily, we have plenty of resources available so you can begin marketing your business right at home!

How do you plan on spreading the word that cookies have arrived? For your friends, family, and repeat customers, try sending them a direct email or calling them over the phone. Calls may be a little nerve-wracking, but with everyone spending extra time at home your customers will be sure to appreciate you reaching out! Girls and their parents can also utilize social media to promote their sales, using graphics and personal videos to ramp up the excitement and tell your customers how they can order from you.

Want to reach multiple customers at once? Schedule a Zoom call to share more about the product, your goals, and how your customers can support you; just don’t forget to wear your vest or sash! While selling door-to-door may look different this year, you can follow social distancing guidelines by leaving a personalized business card or door hangers in your community. Be sure to include information on how they can reach you and place their order!

For online safety guidelines, downloadable graphics, Zoom invitation templates, and more check out the 2021 Cookie Program Digital Promo Kit!

Practice Your Pitch

“My top three strategies for selling cookies is to speak up, upsell, and be respectful.” – Ella W., Cadette

“Good eye contact and a bright smile are important when talking to your customers. And be sure to thank your supporters!” – Juliette T., Brownie

So, you’ve created your plan for how you’re going to reach your customers. But what is going to get you over the finish line to make your sale? Create an elevator pitch, or a short, practiced sales speech used by many successful salespeople! Imagine you are in an elevator with a potential customer. How will you quickly convince a customer to buy Girl Scout Cookies from you before the door opens and the customer is gone? In your pitch, there is some key information you’ll want to include:

  1. Greet the Customer: Introduce yourself! You can tell customers about your troop, how long you’ve been a Girl Scout or anything else you may want to share.
  2. Share Your Goals: It is important to let your customers know about your goals for the season, what your troop plans to do with your proceeds, or what you’ve achieved in the past!
  3. Show the Product: Tell your customers a little about the cookies, including any special information they should know (Gluten-free? No problem!).
  4. Ask for the Sale: This is when you will ask them to buy cookies! Be sure to include other options for purchasing, such as our Care to Share Donation Program where cookies are donated to local medical professionals, first responders, and members of the military serving overseas.
  5. Make the Sale: Take their payment, decide on a delivery option, and be sure to say thank you!  

No Goal Is Unreachable! 

“Once you get to your goal, go farther than that and make another goal, then reach that one.” – Layla O., Cadette

“When I make a cookie sale it makes me happy because it helps me reach my goal and I know that people are supporting my troop and I.” – Isabella G., Cadette

When you start your cookie business, you should have a goal in mind that you want to achieve. If your troop decided that you’d like to save up for a future trip or service project, figure out how many boxes you will each need to sell to make it possible. You might also have a personal goal for earning a specific Super Seller Reward. Whichever it may be, all Girl Scouts have the power to make their dreams a reality!

However, don’t let expectations interfere with your progress! While many don’t achieve their goals overnight, the journey to get there is just as exciting. There are two different types of goals: short-term and long-term. Short-term goals might include earning a certain badge or purchasing new uniforms for your troop. Long-term goals might include funding your Gold Award project or a trip out of state. Long-term goals are much more achievable when you break them down into mini-goals or milestones. As you reach each milestone, you’ll be so proud of all of the progress you’ve made!

Did you know that you are more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down? To keep track of your goals this season, print out your own 2021 Cookie Program Goal Chart!

Challenge Yourself, but Don’t Compare to Others

“Some advice for a girl selling Girl Scout cookies is that you should never back down from your goals and have fun.” – Bella M., Cadette

“My advice to other girls who want to sell more this season is to try your best.” – Talula G., Cadette

When you have big goals in mind, it’s easy to want to compare your progress. But just like in the real world, no two cookie businesses are the same. While earning awesome rewards and setting goals with your troop is super exciting, so are the essential business skills you’ll be learning throughout the Cookie Program! Not only will you focus on setting goals, but also decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. These skills will benefit all Girl Scouts in their personal and professional lives, and the Cookie Program is the perfect time to practice them!

Public speaking nerves will fade away with each new customer when you start practicing your cookie sales pitch. Girl Scouts will be masters at creating and maintaining budgets by the time they need to create a college savings plan. And working as a team with your troop will make you an excellent contributor to future school and work projects! Celebrate every new sales goal you reach during the Cookie Program, but keep in mind all of the incredible ways you are growing along the way!

Don’t Forget About Care to Share!

“Three strategies I have when it comes to selling cookies are being polite, selling Care to Shares, and decorating the booth.” – Bella M., Cadette

Do you have a customer who isn’t interested in sweets, or might be willing to purchase an extra box or two? Tell them about our Care to Share Donation Program! Care to Share is a virtual way for girls to sell cookies, nuts, or candy as a service project without having to handle or store actual boxes of product. This program benefits Girl Scout troops and council while supporting both local first responders as well as packages sent to members of the armed forces serving overseas. Our council partners with local community organizations to provide product to medical heroes, firefighters, law enforcement, farmers, the military, and more!

The next time you are getting ready to make a cookie sale, ask your customer if they would like to donate to Care to Share!

Most Importantly…Have FUN!

“My three strategies for selling cookies is to smile, have a sense of humor, and be yourself! Go for it and do your best.” – Catalina S., Junior

“My advice to other Girl Scouts who want to sell more cookies is to enjoy the journey.  People are more likely to buy cookies from you if you genuinely enjoy what you are doing.” – Ella W., Cadette

No matter how you market your cookie business or how many customers you reach, the most important part of the Cookie Program is to have fun! Every Girl Scout has the power to get creative and accomplish each goal they set their minds to, all while showing their communities what Girl Scouts is all about! So no matter if you are holding a Zoom sales call or sharing your photos online, wear your Girl Scout uniform with pride and make it an amazing cookie season!

Get more of your cookie questions answered with our Cookie Program FAQ!