Scout popcorn sales tips for when you’re no longer a little Cub Scout

scoutcast-logo1Try as you might, you cannot stop the hands of time.

Wrinkles form. Hair grays. Precious little Cub Scouts become sometimes-awkward Boy Scouts. There’s nothing to do but deal with it.

For Cub Scouts, selling Scout popcorn is so easy it’s almost unfair. They wear those crisp blue uniforms and bright neckerchiefs. They stumble through sales pitches in the most endearing way. Nobody could possibly say no.

But once these Cub Scouts become Boy Scouts, many of those precious traits have given way to puberty, making selling popcorn a lot tougher.

Fortunately, the September 2015 ScoutCast has you covered with some Scout popcorn sales tips you shouldn’t miss.

In the latest episode of the monthly podcast for Boy Scout leaders, the Popcorn Scout himself, Donovan Fisher, and his dad, Scott, share their secrets.

Donovan, 15, has sold more than $95,000 in popcorn in his life. (I blogged about him and his fellow super salesmen last week.)

You should listen to the whole episode, but I wanted to share Donovan’s four big tips:

Be mentally and physically prepared

Be sure your mind and body are ready. Stay hydrated. Eat something you like (for Donovan, that’s chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A). Before beginning the sales day, do something that makes you feel energized and happy, Donovan says.

Make a great first impression

Donovan ensures his uniform is in tiptop shape when making a sale. He’s also extremely observant.

“The best thing that I love to do is, if somebody’s wearing a team sport [jersey or T-shirt], I will talk about that first. Any conversations that you can have with somebody is a great start. It’s going to be really hard to say no to [buying] popcorn after that,” he says.

He also likes to wear brightly colored shoes, which are surprisingly good at sparking conversations.

Make a great second impression

“First impressions only get you so far,” Donovan says. “Since I’m not cute anymore, I need to practice my sales skill.”

He’s ready to answer any objections. If someone says popcorn has too many calories, he reminds them that a half-bag is only around 160 calories.

To demonstrate the size, bring an empty popcorn bag with you.

“The customer’s like, ‘Oh, that’s a pretty good-sized bag,'” Donovan says. Then you ask for the sale again.

Remember your customers from last year

Donovan keeps his customer data on what is basically an Excel spreadsheet — nothing fancy, just the name, contact info, sales history and some notes.

“I remember what they’ve gotten last year,” he says. “And so when I knocked on the door, I can remember, maybe if it’s kettle corn, you know that they like some sweet stuff, so you can always say, ‘Oh, this caramel corn’s also sweet.’ And then, they’re like, ‘Ooh, that sounds delicious,’ and they buy it.”

Listen to the September 2015 ScoutCast

To hear (or read a transcript of) the complete podcast, with even more tips, click here.

9 Comments

  1. Here in the Atlanta Area Council, we’ve provided 2 documents for our Boy Scouts and their leaders that might also help Scouts with their sales:

    Using Popcorn for Merit Badges (http://bit.ly/1JPcVvo)
    There are at least 13 merit badges that can use the popcorn sale to fulfill one or more requirements for that badge. And the Salesmanship MB can be fully completed using the popcorn sale.

    8 Reasons Boy Scouts Should Sell Popcorn (http://bit.ly/1UCEESH)
    In addition to Donovan’s suggestions, this document lists some other good reasons Boy Scouts should use the popcorn sale for their fundraiser … especially if they sold as a Cub Scout.

    And to the people who say that the popcorn sale is a “Cub Scout” thing, I say that the top 3 sellers in our Council last year were Boy Scouts as was the National top seller.

    I’d be interested in other documents and thoughts to increase both participation and results for our Boy Scouts. We’ll add the transcript of this podcast to our training documents for next year.

    • Great points, MikeMenn!

      (I am not sure how on a blog about Scouting Leaders helping each other that anyone could give your post a “thumbs down” vote?)

      In helping these young men (and women) along in supporting their own scouting, there are many ways to do it. The ones with the most “turn key” approach are the ones like Trail’s End popcorn offers. There are certainly others. ALL of them can help teach our Scouts skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

      I truly enjoy all of the wonderful posts on Bryan on Scouting when Leaders HELP other Leaders. That is what this great site is about.

      THANK YOU, again, Mikemenn for your ideas!

      • I agree, Jill. It’s great to see Scout Leaders like mikemenn sharing ideas with each other to help Scouts and Scouters help other Scouts and Scouters all over the country? Since Scouts selling popcorn can only HELP their units, their Councils, themselves, and other Scouts, etc. then sharing info like this from the Atlanta Area Council is a great thing for Bryan’s readers.

        I showed this to my son and he said this would be great for the Scouts that follow ThePopcornScout.com where you can find this type of tools to help Scouts and celebrate “Popcorn Scouts” successes. We have a similar flier that we use with our Pack (to kick off our popcorn kit and our Show and Sells). We will post that flier there as well as the great fliers from Atlanta to help Scouts help Scouting GROW!

  2. I love articles like thus. We tell our troop that they have the advantage over the cubbies because they can speak intelligently to the adults they are selling to. Customers arw impressed with teens who know the products and can explain exactly what the profit is used for.

    We also focus on teaching the boys how to be salesman since they all will need those skills in just a few years to land jobs and ace college interviews.

  3. Sales Tip from a Sales Professional:

    1) Look Sharp and always have a warm intro that grabs attention.
    2) Learn to get past the initial objection:
    I’m busy- “I hear that you are really busy, don’t worry this will be real quick, what we were looking to do is gain a commitment from you to invest in your community…”
    They are too expensive- “I know you can buy popcorn for cheaper at the store, what you are doing is investing in your community and me to be better, we appreciate your support would you like to get (insert product name)
    3) Be assumptive- Assume that they are going to get the person to buy from you.
    Instead of saying, “Would you like to…” say “So you are going to go with (insert product).
    4) Questions are buying signs

  4. Venture scouts sell popcorn too. Please don’t forget they exist, when we share your helpful blogs with them it’s nice if you rememer they exist.
    Anyway my advice, bring a cub scout or two to the show & sells

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