Sales success with cookies. How sweet it is.


All her life Debbie Fields wanted to be in the cookie business. She loved to bake ’em, and everyone who tasted one said it was the best they’d ever eaten. But as any entrepreneur knows, wanting to go into business, and going into business, are two different things. Debbie lacked the one ingredient to open her cookie shop: money.

She went around to banks with a business plan and a plate of cookies until she found someone who believed in her product as much as she did.

On grand opening day, her husband bet Debbi that she wouldn’t do $50.00 worth of business. Debbi took the bet, certain the first day’s dollar take would be in the hundreds. By 3pm she had still not rung the register. Zero bucks. Not daunted, but slightly panicked, Debbi took to the streets and started giving the cookies away as samples. She told the people, “If you like them, go back to my store and buy a few.”

She sold $75 dollars worth by the end of the day. She won the bet from her husband and the multi million dollar (idea) lottery that day.

There were lots of things Debbi could have done in her low moment. Cried, quit, swore, or blamed the customer. Instead, she looked for solutions, she took the obstacle and turned it into opportunity. Passing out cookie samples not only saved the day, it went on to be the cornerstone of her marketing plan to build the business. Give away samples in the street and make them follow you back to the store. Genius is always simple in idea, it’s the execution that separates the real from the would be.

Today, there are more than six hundred Mrs. Fields Cookies stores in seven countries and growing. WOW.

I saw Debbi deliver a seminar in Boston years ago. She not only told a story of how she succeeded at making big dough in the cookie business, she also interwove her practices and philosophies into the keynote.

She won the crowd in the first two seconds by giving everyone (350 people) a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie. But she kept the crowd with her wit, wisdom and compelling story.

Here are some of her business success practices and philosophies:

  • Pick people who love what they will do.
  • Set 24 hour goals.
  • Set 2 hour goals (manage by the hour).
  • Hire experts.
  • Hire eagles (the best people you can find).
  • Create systems with a heart.
  • Don’t chase money, you’ll never catch it.
  • Take your product to the extreme better than anyone else.
  • Turn change into opportunity.
  • Get customers and keep them for life..

Here are some of her “beyond the normal bounds of business” practices that have given her the willing edge:

  • If her cookies are not sold within two hours, they’re donated to charity.
  • Her guaranty is written on every bag.
  • She only hires people who loves cookies.
  • She makes people sing “Happy Birthday” in their job interview.
  • Hires attitude over ability.
  • Only hires people who love cookies.
  • Gives employees all they want to take home. (She says it creates good will, it creates new customers, and it keeps quality high pride of workmanship)
  • Gives out samples in the street often.

“At 13 I believed I was the best cookie maker ever.” Mrs. Fields said with pride. “I created Chocolate nirvana. When I went into business, I knew people could compete, but there would be none better. I wanted to make eating my cookies an experience and I did.”

(Authors note: After about twenty minutes into her talk my cookie was eaten I started looking around for someone who had not eaten their cookie. I wanted another one.)

Everyone has a formula for success. Not Debbi Fields she has a recipe. Here’s her six point success recipe:

1. Be passionate. She loved baking chocolate chip cookies. Love what you do.

2. The greatest wealth is family and friends. Enjoy their love.

3. Every day is special. Make it the best it can be.

4. “No” is unacceptable. Don’t stop there. Go for yes.

5. Celebrate excellence. Make people feel important.

6. The greatest failure is not to try. When you dream, wake up and do.

Now mix in her special success ingredients:

Philosophy of excellence: Good enough never is.

Attitude of excellence: When things are bad, it means that good is close by.

Report card of excellence: Get wows.

Achieving excellence in selling: If you love it, you can sell it.

Bake it for about twenty years and voila! Success.

The formula is so simple anyone could do it. True enough. Why then did Debbi succeed so well with her recipe, and others have not had it as sweet? Debbi added a secret ingredient: passion.


FREE GitBit… Courtesy of Debbi Fields Two recipes for cookies that will make you the best baker in the world. Just go to, click Access GitBit, register and enter the secret word, “COOKIES”.