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  • Council issued popcorn survey

    My council just handed out two seperate surveys to units. One is for those who sold popcorn, the other is for units that didn't sell.

    I already answered both surveys as our unit fell in between. We sold popcorn, but nothing close to spectacular.

    So, I am just curious as to what your replies would be.

    Survey for units that sold popcorn

    Name ________________________ Phone _________________

    Email _________________________ Unit type _______ Unit # ________

    1) What changes to the popcorn sale would help your unit increase sales?



    2) Please share tips your unit has used to be successful in the popcorn sale.



    3) Would you be willing to adopt a leader from a unit that does not sell popcorn? (The goal would be for you to share with that person the successes your unit has experienced with popcorn and to get the unit on board to sell in 2012).



    4) Will your unit sell popcorn in 2012?



    5) Please list any other comments/suggestions related to the popcorn sale.



    Survey for units that opted out of selling popcorn

    Name ________________________ Phone _________________

    Email _________________________ Unit type _______ Unit # ________

    1) What was the reason(s) that your unit decided not to sell popcorn?




    2) What changes (if any) do you feel need to be made to the popcorn sale?




    3) If the above changes are made would your unit consider selling popcorn?




    4) Please list any other comments or suggestions below.


  • #2
    When our sales were under way we were surveyed on how we thought sales were going and asked for comments. We were asked by email and there were followup phone calls. It took a lot of time at Roundtable last week, too. The advice out there is helpful--I just think they're looking to counter downward trends in revenue.

    Comment


    • #3
      Our council has a good Rah! Rah! kickoff for the popcorn sale, but not a real nuts and bolts class in how to manage this small business effectively.

      What is needed is a class that draws on the best individual Scout-salesman to explain the secret of effective selling and upon the best units to explain their methods of organizing their popcorn sale and motivating families to sell.

      Since no one else was doing this, I did this as our August Roundtable theme. It helped my pack triple our sales this year compared to last year.

      But this kind of thing should be a class at council "University of Scouting" or Pow Wow kinds of programs, in my opinion.

      Comment


      • #4
        In three years our popcorn went from sub $1k to $10k.


        I was one of the people asked to put on a how did you do it class. I asked the Popcorn Kernel if he was asking me to cut my own throat. The reality is we are competing against all of the neighboring units, some less than two miles away and the mega pack 5 miles away.

        So upon the designated day I stood up and told them my secret. A lot of hard work and personal sacrifice. Taking the dens out with the den leader to do neighborhood blitzes and week nights after work and weekends. Standing in front of store fronts for hours and hours. Carting the popcorn in and out of the house for storage.

        Yep lots of fun.

        Comment


        • #5
          After the top sellers explain their best methods, with the audience passively listening, you should do some role-playing. Have every Scout approach the "customer" with the new salespitch if only just for practice.
          When describing the need for sales to the parents, pictures are important -- meaningful, large pictures. What works best is pix of Jr. from last year, but at least some pictures of the camp, attraction, outing.
          If speaking to the parents en masse, spray some pine scent around about a half hour before. Have a CD of North Woods music (loons, rippling water) softly playing in the background. Make sure the coffee pot is set up. If you have the space, pitch a model campsite. Use your worse condition tent so they can all see how pitiful the equipment is.
          Have posted a poster board sized poster showing the breakdown of the camp costs or whatever your fundraising goal is. A specific goal with a specific money target is mucho important.

          Comment


          • #6
            Opted out....

            Reasons for not selling
            - #1 Very high product cost relative to perceived value
            - #2 Arbitrary product people don't really need
            - #3 Low profit margin for unit

            (Our pack is donating some of our fundraiser results to FOS this year.)

            Suggested changes
            - Different product
            - Different profit margin

            If changed, would you sell
            - Popcorn ... probably not

            Comment


            • #7
              I've never run across someone wondering when Boy Scout Popcorn was going to be sold. I always run in to people who can't wait until it's Girl Scout Cookie season.

              Why? You can buy popcorn any day of the year pretty much anywhere you go. Thin Mints? Just from the Girl Scouts at a certain time of the year (you can get similar, but they're just not the same as the cookies in the green box).

              In price comparisons, a box of Girl Scout Cookies at $4.50 per box doesn't seem all that much out of line with a similar sized package of Chips Ahoy or Oreos. The GS Cookies might be a little bit higher but we're willing to spenf that little bit extra for a good cause because we don't perceive that the price is that much more than the price we'll pay in the store.

              BSA Popcorn prices just don't have the same perception. I think the only thing I would sell would be the 18-pack microwave popcorn products - at $18 for 18 bags, I can show the customer a favorable comparison to the same product in the store - $1 per bag where the store price may even be higher - good value, and people love a bragain (witness the number of people who will line up outside a store on Thanksgiving night instead of spending it with family in order to score a television for $300). $9 for an 11 ounce bag of Caramel Corn when you can buy an 11 ounce tub or caramel corn at the store for $2.25? I don't care how much you love Scouting, that's hard to swallow.

              My thoughts? Find a new product that people will look forward to year after year 9ala the Girl Scouts) or go back to basics on the product mix for popcorn - be heavy on microwaved and pop your own and go easier on the pre-popped.

              Comment


              • #8
                I work in sales and it seems to me that the troops could do much better with popcorn if they follow the 101's of selling.

                So here is a tip: find a counselor for the salesmanship merit badge and offer it to the troop in the summer. In completing the requirements, boys can be guided to develop sales plans that include coming up with sales territories and realizing the importance of being first to hit the street. It also gives them techniques that they can use to make sure they get repeat customers like making sure you attached a thank-you note to each box you deliver and handing out business cards to reassure customers that they will see you at delivery time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Calico,

                  If memory serves, the BSA was looking to sell energy bars, and prototypes were made. I was told the reason w was b/c the GSUSA threatened to sue the BSA over copy right infringement or some kinda excuse.

                  They were good and I would've bought them. I think I ate a case of them when the council office moved and I was helping out way back in the day. Hey I needed the energy moving all the stuff I was moving.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well I've never been surveyed on selling popcorn but our council has linked selling popcorn to summer camp camperships for the first time this year. "DId your unit sell popcorn?" and "Did you sell popcorn and if so how much?" are both questions on the new form.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's great that your council is asking for input! Our unit hasn't sold popcorn in like 10 years for these same reasons. I will add; 1) It's not a very good quality product 2) Looking at it from a man hours perspective; the popcorn has a very poor rate of return compared to other fund raisers.

                      Opted out....

                      Reasons for not selling
                      - #1 Very high product cost relative to perceived value
                      - #2 Arbitrary product people don't really need
                      - #3 Low profit margin for unit

                      (Our pack is donating some of our fundraiser results to FOS this year.)

                      Suggested changes
                      - Different product
                      - Different profit margin

                      If changed, would you sell
                      - Popcorn ... probably not

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        CalicoPenn said it all.

                        We need another product, with a better margin, that we can imbue with a high quality reputation. GS has us beat; bad.

                        Other fund-raisers we investigated:

                        Team Pasta (BullDawg and Yellow Jacket shapes, etc.) Margin was WORSE than popcorn!

                        BBQ sauce had potential - Different flavors, so you could sell multiples. Average bottle in a low consumption family will last about a year, so they'll be glad to see you in a year if the product is good. (Unlike bad popcorn that they still haven't eaten.) Canned that one because of huge subjectivity in taste buds. One man's sauce is another's poison.
                        Maybe a variety six-pack of different flavors? Smokey, sweet, mustard, hot, and vinegar sauces all come to mind.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We need something around the 5 dollar range. I see many people willing to buy with their hand going to their pocket/purse. Then they ask,"how much," "$10-20 dollars" the hand slowly drops. This year we had $5 campcards that were for discounts at local stores and we sold a mess of them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1 What was the reason(s) that your unit decided not to sell popcorn?

                            When popcorn was first introduced as a way for units to supplement treasuries if they were not getting all the needed support from their sponsoring institution, we had no need to supplement our Troops funds. Even today years after popcorn was introduced, our Troop is still supported by its sponsoring institution so it has no need for selling popcorn.

                            2 What changes (if any) do you feel need to be made to the popcorn sale?

                            We have no answer as we dont sell popcorn.

                            3 If the above changes are made would your unit consider selling popcorn?

                            N/A

                            4 Please list any other comments or suggestions below.

                            None.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Would I put on a class? Heck no! Our pack sells about 20K a year in direct competition from at least 12 other units in a 10 mile radius! We have to attend a "lottery" put on by the district (or as I call it, the popcorn draft) to choose site sales to prevent other units from squatting on each other's sales!!

                              They (other units) are in direct competition with our unit for funding $$. In council's eye, more sales equals more dollars into the council, but if unit A increases sales by taking unit B's sales, then its really a draw for the council, but the two units see their take change.

                              I fully agree that a price point of $5 is optimal. As I work in retail and deal with marketting in my job, people will throw $5 at a good cause without thinking, you get into double digits and they stop to think about it.... then you loose a sale. I wrote national about this 2 years ago and heard nothing but crickets in return.

                              While the GSUSA has BSA beat on price point and exclusive product (thin mints are the best), they don't see the same margins BSA has at both the unit and council levels. At least our sales pitch can claim 66% of every dollar stays in the council, 1/3 to unit, 1/3 to council. I have moms in our unit who head GS cookie sales and their units make $0.50 on a box of $4 cookies !! I'd rather just donate $1 to their unit and forgo the cookies, its a double in their margin and better for my waistline!

                              Bottom line, BSA needs to get a product with exclusivity (a flavor you can only get via BSA) and a price point around $5. I might spend $20 on GS cookies, but at least I get 5 boxes. I spend $20 on BSA popcorn and I get one bag! I can buy a box of crunch-n-munch for $2.50 at my local supermarket and its basically the same thing!

                              I won't even start in on the whole idea of selling fattening popcorn while Mazzuca and national pitch a "get fit" mantra to the rank and file... that's a whole other post in itself!

                              Comment

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