Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How to Run a Girl Scout Cookie Booth

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By: Avery B.

            Cookie season is upon us! And throngs of cookie loving fans everywhere are eager to get their hands on boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs. While girls brave the winter temperatures to go door to door and create their own websites for online promotion, one of the most common, and sometimes most successful, cookie endeavors has to be holding a cookie booth.


            If you have just entered the world of Girl Scouting, cookie booths are a public setup of a few girls, a table, and a bunch of cookies, generally outside a local store. These booths are designed to reach people who may not have a neighborhood Girl Scout or who may have already eaten their cookies and are desperate for more. They can be a great way to sell lots of cookies in a relatively short amount of time.
However, cookie booths can seem daunting and sometimes are just three hours of Sorry, I’ve already bought some.” Yet with a few easy tricks and tips, your cookie booth could go from average to stellar.

Pre-Booth:
            Sadly, cookie booths cannot be set up anywhere at anytime you want. Certain stores may not allow cookie booths, some you may have to sign up for through your Service Unit, and some you can just walk in and book a date. If this is your first year signing up, ask other leaders or cookie moms about the best locations. Grocery stores, Walmart, and even colleges are excellent places for booths. Also take into account when the busiest times and dates will be for prime cookie sales. Successful locations and dates do fill up fast, so sign up early to secure the best cookie booths. 
            Additionally, make sure to fill out the proper paperwork for the store to make sure the time slot you want is booked for you. If you forget to turn in your forms, someone else might be able to take it.
           
First Impression:
            Appearances can go a long way! Adding a little creative flair or professional touch to your booth can be an immediate thing to grab potential customers’ attention. Having a tablecloth on your table can add a pop of color and look neater than the bare table. It also hides anything you decide to store underneath.

            Signs are also an awesome way to attract customers. Colorful signs and posters can provide some extra persuasion. Several great sayings to go signs include:
  • Cookies are only $4!
  • 5 boxes for $20!
  • Cookies only come once a year!


Don’t hesitate to get creative! Troops have used everything from catchy slogans to internet memes for some memorable signs. Add some glitter or pictures and you now have a great way to get some customers interested.
            Another fun thing to do is make up cookie cheers. Especially for younger troops, this can keep them energetic and engaged. This also lets customers know that you’re there, ready to sell some cookies! Bonus points for creativity!

Talking to Customers :
            Many times it can seem scary or awkward or just weird to approach people while running a cookie booth. But if you don’t talk to people, how will you ever get customers? If you’re set up outside of a store entrance, it’s easiest to simply ask everyone walking out of the store. This ensures you don’t miss anyone and don’t ask people twice.
            It’s common for people to tell you they’ve already bought some or that they can’t have sugar or something along those lines. In those cases, the only thing you can do it say thank you. Be polite and respectful, you are representing Girl Scouts.
            One thing that can encourage people to buy is having a donations box for the military or local charity. This can allow customers an option that still supports Girl Scouts and the local community without giving them more boxes of cookies to eat. Occasionally customers will allow you to keep their change, and you can also use that towards your donations. When putting donations in your box, put less successful boxes of cookies instead of more popular ones so you don’t end up running out of Thin Mints but ending up with lots of Rah Rah Raisins.

Supplies:
            There are some items that are essential items for every cookie booth and some that simply make your life easier. Here’s a compilation of what you might need so you can be super prepared for some hardcore cookie selling.
  • Table and tablecloth
  • Posters
  • Donation box
  • Cashbox and change
  • Hand warmers (Cookie booths in February can be freezing!)
  • Coats
  • Water bottles
  • Cookies!

Hopefully you now have a bit of inspiration for your own cookie booth. Good luck Girl Scouts and happy selling!

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