Scout leaders get very excited to announce certain activities to their troops. They themselves are beyond ecstatic. They wait all week, barely able to remain seated at work. The day arrives and the meeting has begun—its go time. As they stand to start the meeting, in their head, they can already see the boys jumping off the chairs and screaming with joy. They announce the activity and wait a minute and… nothing! The troop looks just as it was before. No excitement, no jumping off chairs and definitely no screaming. What happened? Did they say something wrong? Maybe they just didn’t say it clear enough.

None of those things were the problem. Sometimes it’s just hard to motivate your troops to do difficult activities. Maybe a 50-mile hike, a certain merit badge or sometimes getting them to push for the Eagle rank.

I have done three summers of door-to-door pest control sales. I know what it’s like when you say something and it appears as if the people you are talking to aren’t even listening. I know what it’s like to have doors slammed in my face and to be rejected.

I also know how it feels to sell 9 pest control accounts in one day (The equivalent of making a couple of thousand dollars in one day). I love the feeling of persuading people to be as excited about my product as I am. I have learned over the years some easy tips and tricks to help, that are imperative, as you deliver your sales pitch. Here are 4 tips to help you sell difficult activities to your troop.

Head nod 

It might not sound like it’s too important, but it is. One of the best ways to get someone to agree with you, is to have them head nod with you. When I first started selling, one of the first things they taught me was how to get someone to head nod with you. When you can get someone to head nod with you it’s as if they are mentally agreeing with you.


If you don’t deliver your activity with enthusiasm the boys will see right through it. We all know boys love enthusiasm. If they can see you are excited about it, it will be very easy for them to get excited about it.

Body Language

Some days are filled with rejection when knocking doors. The first thing that happens after a ton of rejection is poor body language. Slouching and shuffling feet are signs of poor body language. When you announce your difficult activities, make sure that you stand with your feet planted and standing straight. The boys will love your confidence.

Eye Contact

Another sign of lack of confidence is poor eye contact. Always maintain great eye contact with those who you are talking to. Enthusiasm and confidence poor out from the eyes.

These are some simple tips and tricks to help you deliver some of the “tougher” activities to your boys. What other tricks have worked for you in the past?

Jarom Shaver
Writer for the Voice of Scouting and a marketing associate for The Utah National Parks Council.

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