The 2021 Cookie Program looked very different than Cookie Sales in the past. We pushed the dates back to give girls more time to sell, we were battling against an ever-changing global pandemic, and only just starting to get back to in person events and activities. But Girl Scouts across Southeast Florida persevered and ended up surpassing their goals by taking advantage of their digital cookie sites and innovative new selling tactics! Learn from our three 2021 top sellers to see just how they did it!
Madison R., Troop 11110
Madison is from the Sunny River Service Unit and she sold 8,030 boxes of cookies this year, making her our 2021 Top Seller! With such an impressive feat, we wanted to learn a little more about Madison and what she did to reach her goals.
Q: So Madison, what’s your favorite thing about the Girl Scout Cookie Program?
I am very passionate about business and Girl Scouts is a great way to learn skills that can be utilized in a future job because it is an entrepreneurial program. I really enjoy coming up with selling strategies and goal-setting. The most fulfilling part of my eight years selling Girl Scout cookies has been the Cookies for the Military program. The fact that the people protecting our country are able to get a piece of home sent to them and I am a small part of that makes everything worth it.
Q: You’ve got that right! What were your best selling strategies this year?
Wearing masks definitely made communicating with customers more difficult, but nonetheless, my most important strategy year after year is to start up a conversation with people. When at booths, I often tend to compliment people’s clothing or ask them questions based on something they are wearing. Because you are engaging with them and making the interaction more personal, people tend to want to buy more cookies than they would have before. Another huge part of sales is asking every person if they want to donate a box of cookies to the military. If they don’t want to donate a whole box, they can donate a dollar and you can add up all the singles to get even more donated boxes. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with a local restaurant, Angelo Elia, who made a limited edition thin mint gelato. Because I’m older and starting to think about what career I want to have in the future, having the marketing experience from Girl Scouts is very helpful.
Q: Engaging with your customers, tying Cookies for the Military into your pitch, and partnering with a local business are all great ways to boost sales! How and where did you make the most sales?
I had to get more creative this year because of Covid restrictions, so I did most of my selling outside. Booths are always a hit, especially in the first week of sales when everyone is super excited for cookie season being back. We have a six-seater golf cart, so we put the back seats down and stack a whole bunch of cookie cases on the back. My mom and I drove down the beach and to the parks on the weekends when people were out and about and hungry. We also took some cookies with us when we sat outside at restaurants and all of the wait staff would buy cookies to eat when they had breaks.
Q: Do you have any tips for new and young sellers?
My tips for young sellers would be to let your personality shine when you are selling. Don’t be afraid to talk to everyone you see because the more interactions you have, the more cookies you will sell. When I was younger, I used to make jingles that I would sing when people passed by my booth. I remember singing “Girl Scout Cookies, get them while they last, Girl Scout Cookies, they’re selling out so fast”. It is also a very good idea to either make your own signs or use signs that are provided to you at booths so people know what exactly it is that you are selling. On my booth, I have signs that describe the cookies for the military program, the cookies and their pricing, and the forms of payment we accept. I would recommend having your parent or troop leader set up Clover (if you don’t already have it) for your troop so that you can sell to people with debit and credit cards.
Q: Those are great suggestions! What kind of help did you receive from your family, friends and/or troop to reach your goals?
My parents were very helpful in going to the warehouse multiple times and picking up cases of cookies while I was in school. A lot of my family lives in other states, so it was very touching that they supported me by using my digital cookie site. Some of my friends helped me sell on the weekends to keep me company and maximize the amount of people we could interact with.
Q: We love hearing about the support you have received from family and friends. You mentioned using your digital cookie site to reach family. Did you participate in the digital sale and what worked for you?
This was my first year using the digital site and it was very instrumental in my sales. A lot of people still aren’t leaving their houses, so we were able to safely deliver cookies to them without them having to go out. It was also very helpful that people could donate through the site, so they didn’t have to write a check if they didn’t want to. The most rewarding part of the digital sales was being able to have friends and family from other states support me in reaching my goal.
Q: It sounds like you had a lost of success this year. What obstacles (if any) did you overcome this year?
The biggest obstacle that every girl this year, including myself, had to overcome is the global pandemic we are experiencing. Every year prior, I would go through my neighborhood and do door-to-door sales, but because of social distancing, that was something that I was unable to do. The pandemic also was the cause of the cookie season being pushed back which meant that Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day sales were missed out on. Obviously, people weren’t having parties this year, but before the pandemic, I made a lot of sales during those times. Being an older girl scout has its challenges because you have a lot more on your plate that you have to juggle. I am a junior in high school which means I am in a lot of extracurricular activities and high-level classes that take up a lot of my time. Online school made balancing cookie sales with homework and meetings a lot easier because I was able to take it on the go.
Q: And finally, we all want to know. What will you and/or your troop be spending your hard-earned cookie money on?
Because I am an ambassador, I’ve been working on my gold award application. Once I get it approved and into motion, I plan to use all of cookie money to funding my project. Down the road, I will raise funds so I am able to accomplish more, but I am set to get started.
Molly P., Troop 20699
Molly P. from the Jupiter Service Unit sold 7,294 boxes of cookies this year and she is a GSSEF top-seller veteran.
Q: Hi Molly! You have been a consistent member of the CEO Extreme Team. What is one piece of advice you would offer younger girls who aspire to be part of that team?
If you want to be on the Extreme Team you should set a goal for yourself, don’t take NO for an answer, you can’t take breaks – you have to work hard for it and push through till the end of the cookie season. You have to be willing to do what it takes and you have to be out selling everyday.
Q: That’s great advice-goals are super important! Now that you have reached yours, what will you and/or your troop be spending your hard-earned cookie money on?
We have been saving up for a couple of years to treat ourselves to a big trip – one that we deserve. Because of Covid, our plans have changed from a cruise or Mexico trip to an in country journey. We are deciding as a troop where that will be. We also participate in local events and are planning a few camping trips as well as the next Camporee.
Q: Sounds fun! What’s your favorite thing about the Girl Scout Cookie Program?
Meeting new people and being able to talk to so many different people. Hearing stories from women who used sell Girl Scouts cookies and many love to share how much the cookies were when they were selling.
Amanda K., Troop 10442
Amanda K. is from the Atikah Service Unit and she sold 6,236 boxes of cookies this year. She has also been a 7-time top seller at our council, a member of our Media Girlz team, and earned her Gold Award last year.
Q: Amanda, you are GSSEF’s 7-time top seller and have sold tens of thousands of boxes over your Girl Scout career. As you head off to college, what is one thing that you learned from all your years of selling?
From my years selling over 40,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, the most important skills I learned were communication and collaboration. These skills will prove extremely important as I head off to Boston University to study biomedical engineering; working on an engineering team requires effective communication and collaboration skills in addition to celebrating others’ successes in addition to your own. The cookie sale provided me with the means to celebrate others reaching their goals, celebrate my own achievements, and work collaboratively.
Q: 40,000 boxes? That’s impressive! This was such a strange and challenging year for everyone. Was there anything you learned this year during the Cookie Program (either about yourself or your customers) that surprised you?
Selling Girl Scout Cookies during this unprecedented time, I learned that the importance of technology and networking is increasing as each year progresses. While I only had a handful of in-person cookie booths, developing social media campaigns, the Digital Cookie website, and networking with friends, family members, and business executives became critical to a successful cookie sale. While I can’t deny the challenges and hardships COVID-19 posed, being able to improve my technology skills is a necessity as commerce and business moves virtual.
Q: Technology is definitely here to stay and a large part of our future moving forward. But we all want to know, what will you and/or your troop be spending your hard-earned cookie money on?
Typically, my troop would plan an end-of-year trip; however, due to the pandemic, we have chosen to spend a portion of our cookie money to give back to the community. We purchased and packaged Mother’s Day presents for the homeless and provided gifts for a Make-A-Wish child and their family. In addition to these contributions, we wanted to make a lasting impact on organizations that are important to our troop through generous monetary donations: Precious Dreams Foundation and Henderson Behavioral Health. As my best friend, Tobi, and I head off to college in the fall, our troop also wanted to plan a socially-distant goodbye dinner to celebrate our achievements, including earning our Girl Scout Gold Awards.