How To Sell More Girl Scout Cookies

How To Sell More Girl Scout Cookies

Before I begin, YOU MAY NOT use any images on this website or post without my permission. Someone created a meme of my daughter without permission that has gone viral. It is a funny meme, but taking an image of a child without permission is ILLEGAL, not to mention unethical.

UPDATE: As of 1/2017 this post has been pinned over 17,000 times! Wow! Be sure to read “How To Sell More Girl Scout Cookies – Part 2” when you finish reading this post. Happy Cookie Selling!

Zoë is a very enthusiastic about Girl Scout cookies sales. Last year her goal was to sell 750 boxes of cookies and earn a trip to summer camp. (She sold 776 boxes.) This year, she wants to sell 1,000 boxes, and she is well on her way. Selling Girl Scout cookies is as involved as you want it to be. If you daughter is happy selling 12 boxes of cookies and earning a patch, great. If you daughter wants to earn a Cookie Queen patch and/or a larger incentive, it is going to take a good amount of time, on both your parts. Yes, selling cookies is a girl lead activity, but don’t be under the impression that you won’t be pounding the pavement, hauling cookies, and standing outside the grocery store right along with her. I am sure that Zoë and I will learn new tips and tricks each year she sells cookies, but so far these tips have been the secret to her success.

TIP #1 – Cookie Club
The Girl Scouts have a very strict rule about girls under the age of 13 using email and social media to sell cookies. They cannot provide any personal information (including an email address). Cookie Club is a colorful, kid-friendly website that allows the girls to take online cookie orders from family and friends without revealing any personal information. It walks the girls through setting and tracking sales goals, and monitoring their progress. Zoë especially loves the colorful sales graph that resembles stacked cookie boxes.

TIP #2 – Create a Sales Video
Cookie Club is all well and good, but it is a bit impersonal. If you really want to sell cookies, you need to put forth a bit more effort than clicking the “send” button. One generic Girl Scout email can be easily ignored. Nothing sells cookies faster than seeing a cute little girl in her uniform. This is a scientific fact, I’m sure. We created a sales video that I emailed to our family and friends. Think of it as virtually going door to door. Zoë could not send the email personally, but I was more than happy to help her with that. I can’t tell you how many extra sales she has gotten because of her videos. Her grandma’s co-worker saw the video and donated 10 boxes of cookies to Operation Cookie Drop without ever having met Zoë.

TIP #3 – Be Persistant
This year Zoë and I made two sales videos. The second went out a week before pre-sales ended to remind everyone to place their order. I read email on my phone all the time, fully intending to reply when I get home, and promptly forget to do so. (Hopefully I’m not the only one that does this?) I appreciate friendly reminders.

TIP #4 – Door-to-Door Sales
Going door-to-door is an excellent way to boost your numbers. Find out if your service unit has cookie costumes available for your troop to borrow. It is almost impossible to refuse an adorable Girl Scout dressed like a giant cookie. Let’s go over the basics first, shall we?

– First and foremost, smile and make eye contact.

– Make sure your daughter doesn’t just shove the order form in someone’s face and ask if they want some cookies. She should smile and give them her sales pitch: “Hi! I’m selling Girl Scout cookies! My goal is to sell x boxes of Girl Scout cookies to earn x. Will you help me reach my goal?”

– Don’t underestimate the power of a compliment. When a customer first opens the door, have your daughter compliment them on something; their flowers, the wreath on their door, anything! Make them smile before asking them for anything.

– If they say no, ask them if they would like to donate a box of cookies to Operation Cookie Drop instead. If they can say no to buying cookies from a cute little girl AND donating to our troops, they clearly have a heart of stone.

TIP #5 – Bring Cookies
I recommend waiting to go door-to-door until you have physical boxes of cookies. If not, you will find yourself hoping to catch your neighbors at home and going back repeatedly to try and deliver their cookies and collect payment. It takes FOREVER. This year Zoë is going door-to-door with cookies in hand and we have found that a) It is lovely not having a huge pile of “To Deliver” cookies in our home, and 2) Customers are buying more cookies than last year. An actual box of Samoas is harder to turn down than an imaginary box that will be delivered sometime in the future.

TIP #6 – Change or Operation Cookie Drop?
If your customer needs change when paying for their cookies, ask them if they would like change, or if they would like to donate their change to Operation Cookie Drop instead. Every $4 equals another box to our troops. They don’t have to donate an entire $4. Every little bit helps! Most people feel like schmucks asking for $1 in change instead of giving it to the troops. (As they should.)

TIP #7 – Saying “Thank You!” + Packaging + Customer Loyalty
It sounds funny to even say/type, but your daughter needs to build up her customer base. I don’t know about your neighborhood, but ours is filled with Girl Scouts. There are at least ten on our short street alone. Last year we heard quite a few, “I’m sorry, but I already bought cookies from the Girl Scout across the street,” or “I already have a little girl that I buy cookies from.” The goal is to have neighbors saying that about your daughter.

Just as you should never underestimate the power of a compliment, you should never underestimate the power of a “Thank you!” I’m not talking the quick, “Thanks!” as you are passing off the cookies. I’m talking cute packaging + a thank you note. I won’t lie, it takes time, but it is definitely worth the extra effort. Why?

– Everyone likes receiving a thank you note. It shows that your daughter truly appreciates that they bought cookies from her.

– Cute packaging is hard to resist. It may not make a difference this year, but next year your daughter will be the one that sticks out in your neighbors’ minds as the one who went the extra mile. She will be the Girl Scout they buy cookies from.

– Cute packaging aside, it really does help keep your deliveries organized. Last year I somehow managed to loose some cookies. (I think the  “extras” Zoë sold were supposed to be delivered to a few customers.) This year, we taped each order together, attached the thank you tag with curling ribbon, and wrote the customer’s name + total on the back of the tag.

TIP #8 – Site Sales
Participate in site sales! Your daughter can participate in as many site sales as she/you want (depending on your Troop Cookie Mom, of course.) Opening weekend is obviously the busiest sales weekend, but your daughter will generally sell at least one case of cookies even during a slower time slot. Zoë spent a few (slow) afternoons at Lowe’s, but every box she sold got her closer to her goal.

– If you troop has access to a cookie costume wear it!

– Even if your daughter is long past the pigtail stage, wear them. Never underestimate the power of cute.

– Make catchy signs with phrases like: “Only available for a limited time!” “Frozen Thin Mints are a Delicious Treat All Year Long!” “The perfect hostess gift!” “Last Chance for Cookies Until Next Year!”

– Make sure your daughter doesn’t just stand around like a statue. She needs to smile and wave at the people walking by and get their attention!

– Of course, if people say no, don’t forget to ask if they would like to donate a box to Operation Cookie Drop.

Now, let’s talk Troop Cookie Mom (TCM) Tips. I volunteered to be Zoë’s TCM last year without having any clue what I was getting myself into. Granted, most of my work is the direct result of Zoë being such an enthusiastic saleswoman. It truly is easier for me to have all the cookies at my house. That being said, I have definitely refined my process this year. I am sure that I will make improvements next year as well, but these are currently my most helpful tips:

– Keep your cookies in the garage. Last year, my husband and I lugged all the cookies up the front stairs and stored them in the library. Then we lugged them back down the front stairs when people picked up their cookies. Not my brightest move. Storing your extra cases in the garage makes for easier unloading/loading.

– When scheduling a time for your troop to pick up their cookies, keep the window of time small. Three hours is just about perfect. I spent an entire day waiting around for Zoë’s troop to pick up their cookies. A few came in the morning, everybody else came between 5pm-7pm. I was trying to be as accommodating as possible, but in reality I waited around the house all day for nothing.

– I assign two girls to every site sale. It is up to their parents who picks up and drops off the cookies/table/ sign/money for the sale. This year, I am asking that they pick up their supplies the night before their sale. Again, so that I don’t have to wait around the house the day of the site sale wondering when they are going to show up.

Good luck selling your cookies! May the Samoas be with you.



  1. Sarah - March 1, 2012

    This is so great Maegan! I’m sharing it with my troop to get them excited about selling cookies at site sales.

  2. Christine - December 1, 2012

    love these ideas. can you post the cookie club website? Is it thru Little Brownie Bakers only?

  3. heather - December 5, 2012

    I found the article to go with the pinterest. Thanks for sharing your tips. Some my daughter already does and some we will try this year.

  4. Sandy Norman - January 3, 2013

    Maegan, thanks for this message. Having been a GS leader for 16 years everything you have said is correct. The more the girls can engage their customers, the more they will sell. They need to make people aware of their goals and then actively reach for them. The best part of what you wrote is about the thank yous. We always taught our girls to say “Thank you anyway” to those who said no at booth sales. It was surprising how many people would change their mind just because of a thank you. I absolutely LOVE the picture on the cookie throne. IT is a perfect way to say thank you and serve as a reminder for next year. The only thing I would add is something telling them to put this on their calendar’s December page as a reminder that she will be taking orders in January. Best of luck to your daughter and the rest of your troop.

  5. Gillian - January 24, 2013

    Thank you for your advise! I am a leader and I’m helping the cookie chair with organizing the sale. Your tips are great advise. I live in Florida so I can’t store the cookies in my garage (they would melt). But I am following almost everything else you said!

  6. Anja - January 27, 2013

    That is exactly what we are doing too! We would also wrap boxes of 5 and more in a cellophane gift basket with a thank you note. We also offer gift baskets. As well as recipes that you can use cookies with for customers that bought more than 5 boxes – they usually ask for more after they scan the recipes! We also send email end of Summer to friends, family and coworkers with a picture of my daughter at Summer camp, a short note of what she had learned and thanked them again for making it possible for her to go just by supporting her in the cookie sale. Most of them responded by saying they will help again this year. We had send another email out in December reminding them of the coming sale. We also use square app on the iPad. I have a picture of each cookie and operation cookie drop. Price is also if a customers wants 3 thin mints, you just tap the pic of thin mints three times and totals shows $10.50. Also a great way to keep track of sales at booth since you can select “cash” as payment option as well. We got 44 boxes to operation cookie drop in 3 hrs just buy offering the credit card option! We had customers calling us asking when we are stopping by this year and if we could wrap for valentine’s day. By leaving a “business card” with my daughter’s first name, troop number and adult name and phone number made it really easy for her to sell 200 boxes without even “asking” them. She had already build a customer base (we have been doing this since she was a Daisy and she is now first year Junior). Good luck with the sales!

    • Maegan
      Maegan - January 30, 2013

      Great ideas, Anja! Zoë will definitely be implementing them this year.

      This is our first year accepting credit cards. Thank you SO much for mentioning that you can select “cash” as a payment option. The logistics of keeping all the cash/credit card payments straight was stressing me out a bit. I’m not sure which app we are using, we haven’t received any training yet. Hopefully it is Square!

  7. Cheryl - January 31, 2013

    Saw this on Pinterest, and as a life-long Girl Scout I had to comment! I know some aspects of cookie sales have changed since I last sold cookies (8 years ago, I’m now 25) but here are a few extra tips for older girls:
    -for booth sales, it’s great to pair up with a younger troop. As I got to Cadettes and Seniors, and what are now called Ambassadors, it got harder and harder to have successful booth sales. My loyal customers of course still bought, but random strangers are far more likely to buy from Brownies than from Seniors. So, be a “big sister” troop. The older girls can help with the sales pitch more, instead of little ones relying on adults to answer questions. Plus it builds leadership skills for the older girls too!
    -don’t be afraid to be ambitious in your goals. There are a lot of opportunities available to older Girl Scouts. My Cadettes troop worked for years to pay for a trip to Europe. Explaining the costs to customers sometimes encouraged them to buy more! Dream big, and you’ll get there!
    -if it’s allowed at your high school, bring cookies! I could easily sell a case a day at school. I probably could have sold more, but I had to carry textbooks too! High schoolers love Girl Scout cookies, and became so e of my best customers at that age! Just make sure you won’t get in trouble with your school before you start bringing the cookies to class.
    Good luck with cookie sales this year!

  8. Lisa Lin - February 2, 2013

    Was searching for a cute thank you note to go with GS cookies and landed on your page. Thanks for sharing all of the great tips.

  9. Lisa - February 8, 2013

    What kind of paper did you print your thank you cards on? Did you have them printed? I also want to take a picture of my daughter and use them as thank you notes. But I don’t know if I should just print them at Walgreens like a photo and edit the picture to have the thank you already on there?
    Thanks for all the great info.


  10. Yvonne - February 24, 2013

    Going door to door is a fantastic way to sell! Do you pre-buy the cookies for your daughter? What if they do not sell?

  11. Randa - November 24, 2013

    Thank you so much for the great tips! I am a five year leader with a Junior and a Daisy! My Junior made the Diva Club as a Brownie, but then my Daisy came along and cookie sales are harder! We will definitely try some of your tricks.

  12. marie - February 8, 2015

    Many years ago I was a girl scout and love each year when cookies come out. We used to sell TONS of cookies! We saved for years and finally had enough for our whole troop to make a trip to Seattle and Canada. We set a goal and steadily worked towards it each year. Cookies were a big part of that success. I’m sad now girls don’t even ask me, they just hold up their signs and expect me to buy cookies. I’m glad to see people are still working to show their girls how to be assertive and work for personal growth! Good job girls!

  13. Jill - January 16, 2017

    Ok I’m tcm and the scout ppl in my area are obviously not explaining things. What is a site sale option like …this is the first I’m hearing this

  14. Christina Finley - January 16, 2017

    Just wanted you to know if someone shares your article through reposting the URL…the picture automatically goes with it. I posted it just to our troop – which I do not think you will mind – by copying the URL and putting it in my Facebook post…the article title, beginning sentence, and pic came onto the post.
    Hope that helps you keep your privacy in the future…use a generic pic for the lead pic and bury personal pics in the article…of course this is no guarantee.

    Happy cookie sales to you!!

    • Maegan
      Maegan - May 10, 2017

      I appreciate the feedback, Christina. I actually don’t mind people sharing the photo with my watermark, and a link to this page. I intended it to inspire other Girl Scouts and provide useful selling tips. What I DO NOT like, is someone stealing the photo of my daughter, cropping out my watermark, and turning her into a meme without my permission. Not cool.

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