Random Notes on How To Sell Your Veggies.

Random Notes on How To Sell Your Veggies.

1. You’re not in the farming business. You’re in the marketing business. Never forget that.

Farmers who think they are just farmers fail to devise systems and procedures to move crops. Marketing is at the heart of all businesses… especially farming. If you don’t move those crops, they go rotten.
2. Don’t rely on one crop. If you’re a big time farmer with one crop… you are ever so dependent on “the commodity exchange”. That means you’re dependent on ONE buyer. If you have a diverse crop… you solve a lot of problems. Problems with buyers. Problems with insects who prefer this plant over that plant. Problems with TIMING your harvest.
3. Develop a LOCAL list of customers. If you grow food stuff in California and sell to folks in New York… you are dependent on the cost of transportation. If most of your customers can come to you… your transportation costs are nothing. If you do deliver to a distant market… don’t drive more than a few hours away. The food will be fresher. And fresher food means happier customers. Which means more money for you in the long and short run.
4. If you sell your crops at the farmer’s market… begin right away to collect the names and contact information of everyone who buys and even those who are merely interested. THAT is the true purpose of working the farmers marketing. Collecting and growing your customer list is just as important as growing those veggies.
5. Ask customer what they want to buy. You may waste precious time and money growing tomatoes when all they want to buy is sunflower sprouts. Sell what they want to buy.
6. Get folks enrolled in your weekly delivery service. For example: Let’s say for $40 bucks a month they would love to get a fresh box of in-season veggies/flowers… and nothing is sweeter than a repeat, long-term customer.
7. Give away SAMPLES. For the last 100 years or more, many, many businesses have built a successful endeavor by giving away free samples.
8. TELL THE FULL STORY. Often people buy for the story as much as they do the product itself. If you go to the trouble of growing your products free of pesticides, round-up, and tractor smoke… tell ‘em your story.

EXAMPLE: One of my favorite advertising heroes was named James Webb Young. He was from the “Madman” era of advertising in the 1940’s 50’s and 60’s.

He not only was a Madison Avenue adman, he also owned a ranch/farm in New Mexico.

He tells a story of selling apples by mail from his farm. One year a storm came up and pounded his apple trees with hail. There were pockmarks on his apples.

Being a good marketer, Young had no choice but to send pockmarked apples to his customers. But he included a note in each box of apples saying something like…

“You’ll note there are pockmarks on these apples. We were hit buy a hailstorm last week. But it seems to make the apples sweeter. If you’re not happy with these apples, we can refund your money. But give these apples a try. I think you’ll like them.”

His customers were happy. No refund requests. In fact, the next year he got orders from customers who requested “pockmarked apples” if they were available.


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