What can this Boy Scout marketing prodigy teach you about popcorn sales?

Donovan Fisher isn’t your typical door-to-door salesman.

“The Popcorn Scout,” as he’s now known, is a 12-year-old marketing prodigy who in 2011 sold $9,208 in Trail’s End popcorn and chocolate pretzels, ranking 14th among all Boy Scouts in the U.S.

I first read about Donovan last year on the marketing Web site “Web.Search.Social.” Here’s what marketing pro Scott McKelvey wrote about Donovan: 

Last year, a Boy Scout named Donovan, who couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12, knocked on our door and said he was selling popcorn and other treats to raise money for the Boy Scouts and our troops. I expected to see a tattered catalogue, but my jaw dropped when he pulled out his iPad and started to go through his presentation.

Donovan completely blew me away, and I got to enjoy the sequel when he knocked on my door again a few weeks ago. It wasn’t any slick sales gimmick, because I could tell that he’s a good kid with the best intentions. He just happened to have a completely authentic, rejection-proof marketing strategy that any business owner or marketing professional would be smart to copy. He also gives new meaning to the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.”

Read the full article for tips relevant to anyone who markets anything — popcorn, multimillion-dollar business deals, and everything in between. Some of the tips include:

  • Tell a compelling story. Donovan has a family member serving overseas in the military, and he explains that some of the money will go to help troops.
  • Create a brand. Donovan purchased the ThePopcornScout.com domain name.
  • Make an irresistible offer. Donovan creates a sales pitch that makes it tough to say no.
  • Follow up and say thanks. Donovan sends a personal thank-you e-mail to customers that includes a summary of the order.

One year later

But wait, there’s more. Today, McKelvey posted an update to The Popcorn Scout story and included an interview with Donovan.

Here are a few best practices that stood out from the updated post:

  • “To get ready for selling season, I need to look back at last year,” Donovan tells McKelvey. “I need to keep track of every sale so when I go to someone’s house next time, I know that they got a certain kind of popcorn. Maybe they like it or maybe they want something bigger, or even double it. Maybe they want to try something new. That’s one of the biggest things – getting all of the information down.”
  • “I also have to work on my presentation and get comfortable with it,” Donovan explains. “Part of that is knowing the facts. With the Kettle Corn and the Unbelievable Butter Microwaveable Popcorn, I can tell you for a fact that each bag has almost 320 calories in it. I want to know for customers just in case they want low-calorie things. If you have a peanut allergy, I’ll make sure you don’t buy something that has any risks.”
  • “You can obviously see that the older you get, you lose your cuteness. It’s not like you’re a Tiger Scout and everybody says, ‘Aww, you’re so cute.’ So you have to find something that amazes them and gets their attention,” Donovan says.

Read the complete post, and share your own popcorn-selling secrets below.

What do you think?

What do your Scouts do to make popcorn sales soar? Leave your thoughts below.

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About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.