Cookie Selling Tips from Guiders

  1. It's really about attitude. The cookies sell themselves. If parents can be encouraged to give it a try and get their girls out selling the cookies, the product will sell (I hear of units where parents absolutely refuse to sell cookies. Hmmm. Lots of reasons for that I guess. Maybe getting the unit out to sell as a group will get the girls excited about selling? If the girls are excited, that can spread to the parent.)
  2. Set a goal for your unit. Maybe it is to pay for the cost of a trip to another city, event or a camp. Giving the families a big discount on trips/camps/events can be motivational. Like charging $20 for a weekend camp if each girl sells so many cases. 
  3. Show the girls how much fun selling cookies can be. Go out as a unit to sell door to door in groups as a unit meeting activity.
  4. Some parents and girls don't believe that they can sell very many cookies. Look for opportunities to give the girls time to sell where crowds are - at a fall fair, festival, mall, the subway, GO station or at a grocery store. Small communities don't have malls, so we use the grocery stores. We book a weekend at the stores then set up a schedule of two-hour blocks for girls to sell with a parent.  Only one girl sells at any one shift. Girls that want to sell more cases are given longer shifts if needed.
  5. I sell cookies with the girls. This allows me to see the strategies that the various girls use to attract customers. I then pass those tips on to new girls. I also volunteer my time to help girls sell cookies should a parent be working or not able to sell with their daughter. 
  6. I am enthusiastic and positive about selling cookies. I model that to the girls in my unit. I tell them how much fun I have selling cookies with them and all the great things we can do with our cookie money. We dream about what we can do with our cookie money. We had a girl who went from selling two cases of cookies to 20. Her motivation was to help reduce the cost of her Mosaic trip. I worked hard with her family to prove to her and the parents that it is totally realistic to sell 20 cases in our town and for several girls to do that, but you have to put in the time. Once she reached 20 cases last year, she has caught the excitement of selling and sold another 20 cases this fall. If the girl believes she can do it, she will - with support.
  7. We have a cookie display board that we set up when selling cookies. Girls can use it for their shift at the grocery store to create a bigger visual presence. We don't have people coming up as often to ask, 'what are you selling'.  We use the plastic Girl Guides of Canada banner as a table skirt to give our display table more impact. We also have membership and promotional items to hand out to potential girls and their parents (stickers, bookmarks, pencils etc.).
That's about it. Be positive, provide support, put in the time, dare to dream.
 - Shirley Cuningham, 1st Gravenhurst Pathfinders/Rangers

  • Door–to–door selling (chins up, smiles on)
  • Asking Grandma. She knows many people who love to support Girl Guides
  • Standing outside stores three times a week, every week, for two to three hours
  • Smiling
  • Acting cute
  • Speaking loudly
  • Being polite and kind
  • Asking everyone
  • Asking family
  • Social media posts
- Girls of the 1st Shelburne Pathfinder/ Ranger Guiding unit
Guiders can wear badges during cookie season that say, "Ask me about Girl Guide Cookies". I would always have it pinned on, so even if I'm not in uniform or carrying a case, people would see that I have some to sell.

- Lisa Johnston, 4th Stevensville Sparks

The 17th Cornwall Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers have had very successful cookie campaigns for a number of years now!

Cookies sell much better in public (grocery stores, fairgrounds, Cookie Days in Canada events, etc.) when our youngest members are present. Must be the "cuteness" factor! However, the units that need to sell the most cookies are the Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers in order to finance international camps, trips, etc.

So, we offer to any girl/Guider that attends at least 3 blitzes (over the course of the Guiding year) an extra patch. Attend 6 blitzes, get a second patch. Attend 9 blitzes, get a third patch. Our girls love receiving fun patches, so it is never difficult to get enough girls to attend blitzes.

- Kathryn Brunton, 17th Cornwall Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

Small towns can be a challenging place to sell cookies. I have heard many excuses about how it's impossible to sell a lot of cookies in our little town. That is a lot of bunk. It is all in your head. In my cookie marketing experience, it is the time you are willing to put in that will get you to your cookie selling goal. Here is my tip list:
  1. You can't sell cookies if they sit in your house and no one knows that you have them. Get the word out... on Facebook, put up a poster in your vehicle, or set up a sandwich board at the roadside in front of your house. Encourage your child to tell her teacher, friends and neighbours that she is selling cookies. Call, email or text your contacts to invite them to purchase cookies from your child.
  2. Get started early in the cookie season. The sooner you hit the streets, the sooner you can sell your cookies and the more you can sell!
  3. Be positive, smile, enjoy the task of selling cookies. Happy cookie sellers attract people. Think about all the great things your unit can do with those cookie profits.
  4. Set a short term, manageable goal for the cookie sellers in your house... like an hour after school or after dinner. See if you can sell one or two cases in that time frame. Make a regular weekly commitment to selling until your cookies are sold.
  5. Sell with a younger girl, if you are a Pathfinder or a Ranger. Set up a "cookie twinning selling time" with a younger unit. Those Sparks are cute... capitalize on their "smile appeal" and older girls can sell more cookies.
  6. Sell where the crowds are. Find opportunities to sell at church dinners, hockey games, or other community events. Be sure to get permission before you show up. Book a time at the local grocery store to sell cookies in the lobby. We find we can sell more cases in an hour at the local grocery store than we can selling door to door in an hour. If you make the time to do both door to door and selling at the store for a couple of hours, you can sell more cases.
  7. Set a goal for how many cases you think you can sell as a unit. Do you want to travel? Go to camp? Buy new tents? People who set goals are more likely to reach that goal. Talk to the girls and parents in your unit to get them excited about reaching that goal. That was what our unit did to get themselves to Mosaic in summer 2016. We set a simple goal of selling enough cases to pay for 1/3 of the cost of our trip. By the time we left for GM, our girls had actually sold enough cookies to pay for 78% of the cost of the trip. Girls who had only sold two cases in a season were selling 25 cases in a season. We put in extra time at the stores, sold cookies at huge community events and covered more of our little town by selling door to door than we normally do. The extra selling time paid off.

Hope some of these tips are helpful to the novices out there. I have been helping to sell cookies for over 25 years. I've sold entire cases in a go, to one box at a time. I've heard all kinds of excuses why people don't want to buy our cookies and then heard so many testimonials of fond reflections of customers who used to be in Guiding. It is always so interesting to hear how many lives have been touched by cookies and by Guiding. It is such a privilege to hear the stories of our customers.

- Shirley Cunningham, Gravenhurst Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

1st Whitby Guides sells 150 cases of mint cookies and 200 cases of classic cookies in a Guiding year, with about 30 Guides and 5 leaders. We give each girl 1 to 3 cases to sell, with some of them selling much more.

We sell around the neighbourhood where we have our meeting on a meeting night. We also have 2 to 3 blitzes at grocery or other stores or the GO station. Girls work 1 to 2 hour shifts and depending on the size of the store we have 4 to 8 girls for each shift. They have a lot of fun selling cookies making up songs and slogans to tell people. They love to give out Guiding promotional material and balloons to the children who walk by.

Every case counts, even if you only sell a few each time. Don't get discouraged - even if you sell one case, that's a case you don't have to still sell! My best advice is keep plugging away at it and don't give up until they are gone.

- Mary Allen, 1st Whitby Guides

To avoid getting caught with extra cookies, we now have parents pre-order. We also allow 5 cases for our cookie walk. This has worked great for us so far.
- Brenda Prior, 199th Toronto Brownies

Here is what worked for our unit. We sell out every year... and this year we mis-ordered and got 30 extra mint cases... and still we sold out!
  1. Posting a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board at work, so people could sign up for which type of cookie they wanted to pre-order. (This gave lots of lead time and people bought for themselves and family that were interested).
  2. I posted on Facebook on a mommies group that it was cookie time and where our group was selling cookies (we do it at a the grocery store, so lots of shoppers buy them on their way in or out).
  3. I also posted that we could drop off in our neighbourhood. We then mapped the locations of people's houses and my daugher and I did a mapped door-to-door, which helped us sell 15 cases independently in one day. I personally liked this best as it allowed us to do some mapping skills (I can be such a teacher, even with my own kids) and people loved seeing the girls dressed in their uniforms coming up to their doors (just like the good old days).
  4. Partnering with the local fire department for the fall sale. October is fire prevention month and many fire departments have open houses that attract families with kids. Setting up a cookies table to sell to vistors (and firemen!)
  5. Contacting your child's school or the school you use for your meetings and asking them to put the sales info in their monthly newsletter. The same could be done for a church bulletin.
- Erin Esch, 1st Milton Sparks

We are a Spark Unit in the small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Often, the local paper will do a free article about Guiding and mention the various plans for cookie sales by all the units.

Twice a year, we sell on a Saturday morning in front of the local grocery store ensuring we have both kinds of cookies. Who could resist those adorable, often toothless Spark smiles? The girls love being responsible for the table set-up, asking who would like to buy, collecting money and making change.

Weather permitting, we sell door-to-door in a Guider's neighbourhood with lots of houses and townhouses. We borrow a couple of wagons, divide into groups and away we go. The girls love it - running from one house to the next. The Sparks take responsibility for the sales, with the Guider standing well back. Last spring, three groups sold 2.5 cases each in under 45 minutes. We ended the evening with our final party of do-it-yourself sundaes, bubble-making supplies and a photo area with boas, funky sunglasses and a picture frame to hold up.

We had a really successful cookie selling year.

- Leslie Moulson, Niagara-on-the-Lake Sparks

You may have already seen this idea on Pinterest but I wanted to let you know what happens when you put it into practice.

My daughter (pictured here) wanted to sell cookies at her brothers' hockey tournament but was too shy to approach the parents who were intently watching the final games. It was a windy day and she was too cold to stand outside the arena doors. We were lucky to secure the parking space just outside the arena door, so I suggested she roll down a window and sell cookies from the passenger side of our minivan.

We tied our cookie tablecloth to the side of the van and were given some helium balloons from the kind people who were organizing the end of year banquet inside the arena. The result was:
  • A warm, dry place to sell
  • The safety of keeping the money inside the locked van
  • The ease of not having to haul the cookie cases or a table out of our vehicle
  • Folks wanting to buy cookies just because her approach was novel
  • Being in one spot so that those who promised to buy from her "later" wouldn’t miss us
  • Being able to change locations easily if the spot you are selling from is not fruitful (this was not necessary for us)

My daughter's brothers were also happy to stay in the van and help fill her orders behind the scenes when they were not on the ice. It was very easy to supervise her, while enjoying a novel in the front seat. With my window closed, customers had to ask her all of the sales-related questions about flavors and price that they often look to the Guider to answer. We have since purchased some vehicle window paint from the craft store for mobile sales in the future.

P.S.: At a venue like this, people will often purchase multiple boxes. They buy on the way in, share the cookies with the team and then buy more on the way out because they have none left to take home! Parents are also more willing to buy because their children are exercising and earning their treat on the ice.

- Natalie Levins, 2nd Thornhill Guides, 2nd Thornhill Pathfinders and 12th Ontario Mosaic

My daughter and other girls in my Guide group have great success selling cookies at public venues. For example, whenever my son had a hockey game, we would take two cases to sell before it the game began. Without fail, all the cookies were sold within 20 minutes or less. My daughter averages 15 cases per year, now that we have discovered this amazing outlet for cookies.

- Reagan Johnson, 46th Mississauga Guides

Here's what we do in our Brownie unit in Alliston (usually 20-24 girls in a small town).
  1. Parents are told about our cookie selling campaigns at our parent meeting the first night, including what the money is used for.
  2. At the beginning of the month when cookies are arriving, we introduce our incentives/rewards. All cookie sellers are appreciated, but some are able to sell more than others and we'd like to thank them for their efforts:
  3. a) The first 2 cases sold per girl are to support the unit activities
  4. b) If a third case is sold, the girl can choose from a selection of small "Thank You" gifts from the guide store (beanie babies, camp mugs, etc.). Usual cost is about $5, less than half of the profit from the additional case.
  5. c) Any cases sold beyond 3 earns the girl $5 Cookie Bucks/additional case, that can be used toward paying for outings, camps, etc.
  6. We always do a unit cookie blitz for each campaign at a local store (Zehrs, Walmart, Canadian Tire, etc.). We usually sell 20-25 cases between 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  7. Each time we do an activity or outing, we let parents know if it's being subsidized by unit funds (i.e. cookie profits).
  8. At the end of the year, as the second campaign is winding down, we include in our newsletter information about what the unit's cookie profits have been used for. This past year, it looked like this:

Where Does Your Cookie Money Go? – Many thanks to all our wonderful cookie sellers! Your hard work this year has earned our unit the funds to pay for:
  • Sleepover subsidy - $6/girl
  • Winter camp subsidy - $8/girl
  • Special programs (eg. "Bricks for Kids", Astronomy) - $12/girl
  • Outings (eg. Swimming, Tiffin outing) - $5/girl each
  • Badges (individually earned) - $2-3/girl
  • Special challenge crests (eg. Sing Ontario Sing) - $3/girl
  • Holiday party treats and gifts - $6/girl

This is in addition to our portion of the GGC registration fee, which covers the keys, badges and insignia which all girls earn during the year, as well as basic craft, program and administration supplies. Your support of our cookie campaigns allows us to offer a fun and exciting Brownie program with lots of new experiences!

Hope this helps.

- Janice Monahan, 4th Alliston Brownies
11/16/2019 4:21:12 PM