By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Eighty gung-ho Girl Scouts got a crash course in cookie sales on Saturday in Bowling Green. It’s not like the cookies need much of a sales pitch. Customers already find the young salespeople and their products are irresistible.
But the girls got some tips on making a solid spiel for Samoas and peddling the popular Thin Mints.
The young salespeople, who gathered at First United Methodist Church, stoked the excitement over Girl Scout cookie sales season with chants and songs. (Yes, there are songs about the cookies.) If that wasn’t enough to inspire their sales, there was a “cookie tasting station.”
Led by Jen Codding, the girls pledged to “make the world a better place.” …. And what better way than through cookies.
The cookie kickoff was held so the older, more experienced Girl Scouts could coach the younger members on the skills of goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
The young scouts spent time at several stations learning about the products they are selling, how to talk to potential customers, and how to make change once the sale is complete. The scouts in sixth grade and above were sharing their sales experience with those aged 5 to 9.
The best part of the training was it focused on the product – Thin Mints, Trefoils, Samoas, Tagalongs, S’mores, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles and Toffee-tastics.
“We’re here to have fun and celebrate cookies,” scout leader Erica Grossman said.
Of course it goes far beyond the sweet treats. Much of the training focused on social skills.
“I’m teaching them cookie skills, like how to sell better and how to be safe going door-to-door,” said Nora Brogan, 12, of Bowling Green.
“I just like to go door to door,” said Nora, who is in her sixth season of selling Girl Scout cookies. Between selling in her neighborhood and her mom taking the cookie form to work, Nora has sold as many as 650 boxes during a season.
She admitted the cookies are not a hard sell.
“Everyone loves the cookies,” Nora said. And even if they don’t want boxes for themselves, she can often convince customers to buy boxes to donate to soldiers overseas as part of “Operation Cookie.”
The newer S’mores seem to be a favorite this year, though Nora has her own favorites. “It’s a tie between Tagalongs and Thin Mints,” she said.
Samantha Codding, 13, of Bowling Green, was offering the newer scouts some tips on social skills.
“As you get older, you start to realize how to talk to people,” said Samantha, whose top pick is Thin Mints.
Though Samantha has been selling cookies for several years, she is still excited when cookie season rolls around. It gives her an excuse to reacquaint with neighbors.
“I just kind of like talking with people and getting to know what’s going on,” she said. “Most people don’t just order and then you leave. Usually there’s a story behind it.”
Violet Grossman, 9, of Bowling Green, was one of the young business women being taught by more seasoned scouts.
Though young, she has already sold cookies for four years, topping out at close to 700 boxes sold one year. As a younger generation scout, she is using some high-tech selling skills.
“All you really have to do it set up an online website,” said Violet, whose personal favorite happens to be old classic, Tagalongs.
The individual cookie sales started on Friday and will continue until the end of January. Booth sales will continue till March 31.