In my years as Cookie Mom for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, I’ve done (more than?) my fair share of booth sales. I’ve learned from my mistakes – and my accidental successes. Now it’s time to share my tips to increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales when you host your own.
Before we even get to that part, make sure you’re set up for success. Girl Scout regulations require two adults present at all times and at least two girls selling. Ensure that you have enough volunteers from your troop to effectively man your booth dates. Before I sign up for a cookie booth, I send an email to my troop with proposed dates to confirm what works best. While that doesn’t guarantee dates that work for everyone, at least I know I didn’t schedule during a dance recital or lacrosse game I didn’t know about.
This assumes you’ve already received and dealt with your own cookie sales from the initial order. Did you check out my post for tips there with the free Girl Scout cookie thank you and printable? Now, it’s booth time, and I know you and your girls want to increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales this year!
9 Tips for Success to Increase Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sales
Remind girls of cookie sales etiquette.
Many stores request that girls not enter unless they do so to make a purchase. That means no bathroom breaks and no warming up in the store. Prep the girls for this to ensure they’re ready when they get there. Cookie booths in Chicago in early March are often cold, so we have a parent available with a car to serve as a warming station if necessary.
Remind girls of the rules any stores put into place before they arrive and reiterate at the start of your booth if necessary. This includes only approaching customers as they leave a store versus as they enter, not leaving your booth area, etc. Check to see what rules your council has in place, as different councils have different regulations, as well. Regardless, ensure the girls follow the rules, and locally, we’ve had multiple stores decline to participate over the years due to girls not following the rules. This reduces everyone’s opportunity to sell going forward.
Do girls know who customers write checks to? Do they know the cost of each type of cookie and which fit specific dietary concerns? Can they answer when customers ask how they’ll use the money they raise? And of course, be sure the girls are polite, saying please and thank you with every request and transaction!
Promote your cookie booth before your sale starts.
Make sure your booth is in the cookie finder app by getting approval from your local council to host at that location and time well in advance. Granted, this is a requirement regardless to ensure no two troops anticipate being at the same place at the same time, but it’s a good reminder. Share when and where you’ll be hosting your cookie booth via social media in the days before your booth, and showcase your girls setting it up to generate more foot traffic to increase your Girl Scout cookie booth sales.
Market your cookie booth during your sales period.
If your council allows, create signs you can place near the road letting potential customers know you have a booth. It can be as simple as “Girl Scout Cookies Available NOW.” Make sure the lettering is large enough to read and that the sign is sturdy enough to stand up during your sale. Clear it with your booth location, too, as some may not allow signage on their property. This is a fun project for girls to create, and you can reuse it year after year.
Get creative in your booth design. It’s simple enough to set up a table, but have a meeting where girls design the theme of the booth and create it. Add tablecloths, artwork, signs, etc. My daughter’s last troop had cookie costumes a mom had sewn that girls wore when selling, and they were a huge hit and helps to increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales. An eye catching booth draws in more customers who recognize it as a Girl Scout cookie sale and not a different solicitation they may choose to avoid.
Somewhat related, make sure you have a cash box to safely hold your money during the booth, and solicit grocery store bags for customers to use when they buy more than one or two boxes.
Ensure girls are dressed for success.
Remind girls that whenever they represent Girl Scouts, whether selling cookies or not, they need to wear their uniform. Ensure all girls have their vests or sashes when selling. Send a reminder email to parents the night before. In the past, if a girl forgot, we borrowed a vest from a girl working an earlier shift to ensure she had a uniform.
Remind girls about the weather, too. Forty degrees and sun is cold but not awful until you stand it in for two hours. Girl have been happier when they have snowpants, boots, hats, etc to wear rather than just their coats. Often, they don’t wear them at the start but then put them on late in the shift. I also bring carpet squares for girls to stand on. This helps prevent their feet from getting as cold, and you may want to bring along the packets of hand and foot warmers.
Create appropriate shifts.
This is more about ensuring the girls have a good experience than figuring out how to increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales, but happy girls mean more sales. Depending on your troop size, you may have more or fewer girls working your cookie booth. With younger girls, I scheduled shifts to last no more than an hour. After an hour, they lost their focus and were done. Sometimes that meant we ended a booth early, but I’d rather end the booth early and have girls who want to sell in future years. This is their experience, not mine!
Older girls can handle longer shifts, but I still keep them at a cap of two hours to respect their and their parents’ schedules. In cold weather climates, this is particularly key to ensure girls stay safe and warm.
In larger troops, shifts may be shorter. Scheduling more than 3 – maximum four – girls at a booth is a recipe for trouble. When girls don’t have a task, they get bored or silly or both. If you’re lucky, your site location may have multiple entrances so you can staff a table at each entrance (provided the store allows this) to get more girls involved and also help increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales. If I have more girls wanting to volunteer than fit in the shifts available, I shorten the shift length.
Assign jobs to girls.
The tasks of selling cookies at a booth are simple. Solicit customers. Determine what they want to purchase. Provide the product. Collect payment. Provide change. In my experience, girls don’t do a great job of divvying things up themselves. One girl will simply step back and disappear. Another will try to take over and not let others participate.
When we host a booth, all girls not otherwise engaged should solicit customers. One girl determines what a customer wants and provides those cookies. Another girl collects the money and provides change. The third girl uses the Girl Scout cookie booth tracking sheet to write down each purchase. Throughout the course of the shift, jobs move around so everyone has a chance to do every job. They’re happy, and I’m happy.
Download the cookie sales app.
More and more often, customers say, “Oh, I would buy some, but I don’t have any cash on me.” Often, they mean it. You can use the app to take credit purchases sales from customers, which helps increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales. Note that whichever girl’s account the app is under receives credit for the online sales, so be sure to account for that when crediting cookie sales online later.
Granted, some councils do not allow troops to solicit donations of boxes to troops or your chosen charity. In the past, our troops has donated cookies to a local food pantry and brought them to a Ronald McDonald house. Customers who may not want cookies in their house are often happy to provide funds to donate cookies to others.
Remind girls they can (politely) ask customers who are on a diet, etc if they would be willing to donate cookies to that chosen charity. As part of our booth design, we always include a prominent mention of the organization that receives the cookies customers donate and have a (sealed) box with a slot clearly marked cookie donations. This allows customers to quickly donate when girls are busy elsewhere and also helps track the donations we receive to accurately get those boxes to our chosen charity. Again, some council prohibit this, so be sure your council allows this practice to help increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales.
Track your sales.
Girls get credit for their cookies sold, and this includes for booths. It’s so easy to get lost in the craziness, but this cookie booth tracking sheet helps. Click here for the ABC Bakers sales tracking sheet and click here for the Little Brownie Bakers sales tracking sheet.
I set up the majority of it before the booth starts. The night before, I print out a new copy for each location and write down the date and location, plus the shift times and girls working each shift. I add the number of boxes of each type of cookie we have to sell. Make sure double check numbers during setup!
The girls just need to track donations and cookie sales for their shift. For each box sold, add a hash mark. Be sure girls know how to do the hash marks in groups of five for easy counting later. This includes for any donations you receive. When girls wrote down $2 then scratched it out and write $5, they often made mistake. Instead, simply add a hash mark for each dollar donated, and you can count at the end.
Once the cookie booth ends, tally the totals and count how many boxes you have remaining. I have yet to have a booth where my sheet matched actual sales exactly. That said, it’s a great place to start and reminds me which girls to credit for how many sales. I enter the information into a spreadsheet so I can then easily credit girls with the appropriate cookie sales. Best of all, I then have this information for future years. I use this to plan how many boxes I should have on hand for each booth.
What are your best tips to help increase Girl Scout cookie booth sales?
Don’t forget to check out my post sharing how to organize Girl Scout cookies when you get them that includes another set of great free printables.