It’s that time of year that everyone knows and loves – it’s Girl Scout cookie season! To get our G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders) prepared for another successful year running the largest girl-led business in the county, we invited Girl Scouts council-wide to join us at our newest signature program, S.M.A.R.T. Cookie, an expo-style event at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on January 12, 2019. Girls, troop leaders, volunteers, and parents all got S.M.A.R.T. — Savvy, Motivated, Artistic, Responsible, and Technical thanks to local businesses and organizations, and our very own cookie experts who shared all their best tips and tricks.
Three different panel discussions were scheduled to allow the 500 attendees hear from and ask questions of Service Unit Product Sale Managers, members of the CEO Extreme Team (girls who sold 2,018 or more boxes of cookies in 2018), and parents of top cookie sellers. We caught up with three of the CEO Extreme Team panelists to ask them some additional questions to share exclusively with our blog readers! Below is the interview for you to get some insight that will help you go from Cookie Rookie to Cookie Boss.
From left to right: Skilyn, Amanda, and Molly.
Meet our interviewees: Amanda: a Senior Girl Scout in Troop 10442, Skilyn: a 2nd year Cadette Girl Scout, and Molly: a Cadette Girl Scout in Troop 20699. These G.I.R.L.s come with some serious credentials having sold more than 13,000 boxes of cookies (yes, you read that right!) between the three of them in 2018 alone! They definitely know their cookie stuff! Amanda has also been the top cookie seller for the past five years and has her sights set on being the top seller again in 2019.
1. How many boxes of cookies did you sell in 2018?
Amanda: “5,553 boxes.”
Molly: “3,812 boxes.”
Skilyn: “4,056 boxes.”
2. What is your favorite part about participating in the Cookie Sale?
Amanda: “My favorite part about selling cookies is meeting incredible people from across the country and hearing [about] their Girl Scout experiences. I also greatly appreciate and value the skills I learn while selling cookies and while planning out my Cookie Sale strategy.”
Molly: “Talking to people and having conversations and hearing [stories] people tell me of when they were Girl Scouts, and obviously selling cookies.”
Skilyn: “My favorite part about the Cookie Sale is the cookies. I am a HUGE cookie lover, and being able to sell them to other people who share the same love for them is so cool!”
3. What is the greatest challenge you face during the Cookie Sale and how do you overcome it?
Amanda: “I repeatedly hear from customers who don’t want to purchase cookies. I overcome this by giving them alternatives; they can make a donation, send cookies to an organization of their choice, or send cookies to the military.”
Molly: “Being rejected and being told, ‘No.’ You just always have a smile on your face and say, ‘Thank you for your time, have a nice day.'”
Skilyn: “I’d say the biggest challenge when selling cookies is more towards the end of the Cookie Sale when it slows down. People will start to say, ‘I’ve already bought them,” but you should still smile and give them a reason to support more.”
4. What is your best piece of advice for a new Girl Scout for her first Cookie Sale, or for a Girl Scout who wants to become a Cookie Boss like you?
Amanda: “The greatest piece of advice I can give is building your customer base. Although this may take a while, it is very rewarding in the long run as you are able to build trust and remind them that it is cookie time each year!”
Molly: “To always smile, talk to every customer, and be polite – don’t be grumpy. To be a Cookie Boss, set a high goal and NEVER give up. Always work hard.”
Skilyn: “The first thing I’d say is to set a reasonable goal, considering it’s your first time. Know that if you reach your first goal and are still motivated, then you can set another goal. You can do anything that you put your mind to!”
5. How do you think the skills you have learned by participating in the Cookie Sale Program will help you be successful in the future?
Amanda: “Not only do these skills apply to business owners, they can be applied to every career. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and journalists use leadership and entrepreneurship [skills] daily. When participating in conferences, staff meetings, and while writing emails, it is critical to be professional, confident, and maintain an open mindset.”
Molly: “I have learned business skills, so that will help if I want to start a business. [I have also learned] math skills and [how] to talk to strangers.”
Skilyn: “Being in Girl Scouts and participating in the Cookie Sale Program has taught me how to approach people that I don’t know, and now I am less shy. It has also taught me how to deal with rejection which I feel is really important.”
6. What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie and why?
Amanda: “My favorite cookie is the Girl Scout S’more because not only are they delicious, but they symbolize the classic treat during camping adventures.”
Molly: “My favorite would be Savannah Smiles because they are sweet and lemony and nice.”
Skilyn: “Savannah Smiles! Sadly [this] is their last year, but I love lemon everything and they are soft, too. Secret fact: they are really good out of the fridge or with tea!”
7. What is your least favorite Girl Scout cookie and how do you sell them to customers?
Amanda: “My least favorite cookie is Trefoils because they are very traditional and basic. Because I realize that the vast majority of my customer base is comprised of millennials, I suggest they dip them in Nutella or their favorite dessert dip.”
Molly: “I don’t have a least favorite. I LOVE them all. And I know from eating them to say [to customers], ‘Well, if you don’t like chocolate, there are Trefoils,’ for instance.”
Skilyn: “My least favorite are the Samoas. I know, I know, I don’t like coconut so that’s why. But luckily they are one of the top three cookies, so it’s not hard [for me] to sell them!”
That’s a lot of great information and we thank the girls for sharing and participating in the panel! In addition to the panel discussions, S.M.A.R.T. Cookie featured fourteen local businesses/organizations who led fun, hands-on activities, games, contests, and talks at their booths to focus on one of the S.M.A.R.T. and five essential skills girls learn by participating in the Cookie Sale Program:
- People Skills (Savvy)
- Goal Setting (Motivated)
- Decision Making (Artistic)
- Business Ethics (Responsible)
- Money Management (Technical)
Thank you to Panera Bread/Covelli Enterprises (Presenting and Business Ethics/Responsible Sponsor), The UPS Store (Money Management/Technical Sponsor), Truly Nolen Pest Control (Goal Setting/Motivated Sponsor), and Consolidated Credit Solutions, Inc. (Steward Sponsor) for helping to make this event possible and for sharing their expertise and knowledge! With the help of our business experts, girls who attended earned either a full financial literacy or cookie badge, or components of one, depending on their grade level.
The skills gained by all of the attendees will not only help them to reach their Cookie Sale Program goals, but they can also be applied to everything in life from school to work and home. Data also shows that girls who participate in this type of program out-sell girls who do not during the Cookie Sale.
To see all of the photos from this year’s event, click here. Stay tuned for details about next year’s S.M.A.R.T. Cookie event filled with new information and experiences that will get you Savvy, Motivated, Artistic, Responsible, and Technical to be successful in the Cookie Sale and waaaaaay beyond!