For most farmers selling is a struggle. This skill doesn’t come naturally to most of us. We have to work at getting comfortable, with the uncomfortable.
And let me be totally honest with you. If you don’t learn how to sell, you’ll be out of business before you start.
Fortunately, selling is a skill you can learn. It’s like putting on a new pair of jeans, it’s uncomfortable at first, but after some time they fit like a glove.
Selling is the same way.
The most common complaint I hear from farmers when it comes to selling or marketing is “I’m an introvert and rather be milking cows than selling. I don’t know what to say. I hate talking about myself or my products in a sales-y way.”
This negative thinking around selling must stop. You’re doing your customers a disservice by keeping your products a secret.
It’s our job to share how our products will help someone else’s life. It’s our job to learn about our customers and to help solve their problems.
So if you want to learn my most effective ways of selling, this blog post is for you.
If you want to learn the 3 ways I’ve been able to make my farm profitable, this blog is for you.
So let’s get into the best ways to sell at your farm store, farmers market booth or delivery drop site.
1. In-Person Strategy
After observing the buying psychology of our customers for years and I had the biggest “Aha” moment in the first couple years of business.
I noticed that my “special sauce” was not the high quality of my milk.
Sure the milk was great, very sanitary, tasted super, had high cream content, our customer service was awesome, our farming practices top-notch.
But what I noticed was that when I met customers in-person, it was always a guaranteed sale.
Talking with me, customers lit up and wanted to buy. Much more than if they were just reading about me or learning about my product.
When we met in person, there was immediate trust established. This still happens even 10 years later.
No matter where I am (grocery store, feed store or restaurant) I’ve been able to connect with people in a way that made them want to buy from me.
And I realized that connecting with me in person guaranteed a sale about 99% of the time!
So I started creating ways to meet people and connect in-person, especially when I was just starting out. This in-person contact was a game changer for gaining selling experience.
And when you establish a trusting, in-person relationship along with an experience that makes customers feel good, then your high prices won’t matter either.
2. Repeat Customers for the Win
Another struggle I hear from farmers is the lack of repeat customers. Customers buy once then they never come back, even though you thought you had a good experience with them.
So you find yourself always scrambling to find new customers — I call this, “stepping over dollars to pick up pennies” and I see farmers doing this a lot.
The dollars are people who’ve already bought from you. There’s a tendency to think that once they buy from you, then they’re a lifelong customer.
This simply isn’t true.
From there you focus on finding new customers. So you’re always in the cycle of finding new customers which is time-consuming and exhausting work.
Good news. I have a solution for you.
The people you want to focus on are the people who’ve already bought from you.
We think that by advertising in the local magazine or on Facebook/Instagram, offering coupons and discounts you’ll increase sales.
What I’ve found to be true is the best way to increase sales is to get the SAME people buying from you week-after-week with an email list.
Studies show it’s 7 to 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer.
“To increase your farm store sales it’s important to focus on retention.”
3. Eliminate Discounts & Coupons
I see so many farmers offering discounts and coupons with the hopes of attracting new customers and making more sales.
The way I see it.
“You can’t sell high-end products with a Walmart mentality.”
It just doesn’t work. Words like organic, free-range, raw milk deserve high-end prices with a high-end reputation.
You sell specialty products, handmade with love, that are very labor intensive to create. Why would you sell that quality at a fraction of the price?
We don’t make boxed cereal in a factory that can sell for $2.50 each.
Once in a while, a strategic sale will work, but too often you end up causing more harm than good by attracting the wrong type of customers.
If a customer buys with a coupon or only when it’s on sale, you’re training them to only buy from you when “it’s on sale” or when they have a coupon.
And once you start that cycle, it’s difficult to break and no one buys.
And as I’ve said many times before, I have yet to consult with a farmer where I’ve thought their prices were too high.
Instead, most farmers aren’t close to the 35% profit margin they need to become a profitable farm, therefore discounts should be out of the question.
So there you have it. My 3 ways to sell that will keep you profitable in the long run.
Now it’s your turn.
What 1 strategy will you use to sell more at your farm store, market booth or delivery drop site?
I’d love to know in the comments below.
Want more information on how to sell with ease? Sales Made Simple is coming soon.
Sales Made Simple is a new course opening soon where you’ll learn all the ways to make your farm store or storefront profitable.