Selling at the Farmers Market

Selling at a farmers’ market is no easy task. One of the most effective ways to get farmers’ market attendees to buy a product is to serve samples. Folks really love to try the foods they want to buy. If you are not a salesperson consider learning before you leap. Selling a product is not about the product, it is about the value that the product brings to the customer. One of my favorite courses is Value Centric Selling – How to Sell on Value, Not Price by Victor Antonio. The course recommended I keep my eye on what value I add and not what I like to call “product love.”

#1 Challenge

It appears many vendors do not understand the importance of dressing their displays for success. It’s no secret people eat with their eyes, they are attracted to bright colors, delicious aromas, and samples, lots and lots of samples. When you attend a farmers market, being wooed by the food is something everyone wants to experience. Before that can offer farmers’ market vendors must:

  • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • S – specific
  • M – measurable
  • A – attainable
  • R – realistic
  • T – timely

#2 Challenge: Farmers’ Market Vendors must:

  1. Track profitability which measures your company’s performance.
  2. Create Attractive Displays is a resourceful and artistic way to attract customers to their booth or stand.
  3. Adding Value comes in the form of superior quality, increased convenience, excellent customer service, planned discounts and providing products and services for a diverse population. (families, seniors, millennials, those with special dietary needs, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian.)

We know there will be an initial investment, but remember once you have made your money back, the props and decorations can be used over and over.

According to Newsom, a number of farmers selling meat rarely display their meat products, giving visitors no real reason to stop and ask about their products.

The market allows farmers to cook samples, have tastings and showcase the best they have to offer. Unfortunately, according to Newsom, many farmers don’t like change and simply refuse to display their meat on ice; using packaged products for display only.

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3# Challenge: Selling solutions?

When selling at the farmers market, create an engaging, colorful, deliciously attractive display. Even if you sell one Saturday a week, when you dress the display table for success you are bound to attract visitors.  Below are tips for dressing up your Farmers Market tent and display area.

  • Use a tent that is easy to pop-up, especially if you are manning your display alone.
  • Consider using a colored tent top, so your tent stands out from the others.  When visitors come to the market you can say, “I the vendor with the blue tent top.”
  • Use a folding table that allows you to use risers so you are at eye level with the visitors. (Consider using a fitted tablecloth, so your tablecloth won’t blow away.)
  • Use chairs that allow you to be at eye level with the visitor. (A best practice is to stand when the visitor arrives at your display table, great them and engage.)
  • Dress your table using brand colors, or colors that complement the foods on your table.
  • If your farmers’ market allows you to cook samples, use an electric skillet with a lid, (always serve the food) and offer samples highlighting the meats and/or vegetables you currently sell.
  • Create a themed display (country, down-home Southern, Gourmet) and use a food tent to keep away unwanted insects and tiny fingers.
  • Avoid using glass display products. (Use disposable/nonbreakable)
  • Use display holders so you can showcase individual products, prices, and ingredient lists; or a portable A-Frame advertising display.
  • Wear a T-Shirt that represents your company? (Caps, aprons, and golf shirts are also nice)
  • Don’t forget those business cards.

It never hurts to visit other farmers’ markets and see how vendors are dressing their displays.

Word of Mouth Works Like a Charm

When your budget is low and your passion to promote is high, word of mouth is the most effective method to get the word out. If nobody knows about your farmers’ market location, how do you expect to get customers?

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Messages come with built-in credibility when you hear something from somebody you know and trust.

Plus it helps to have the other vendors at the market working to spread the word about the market too. Each vendor needs to be ready and eager to be friendly and help customers enjoy their visit.

It starts with telling people about the market when you see them walking past their display. Selling at the Farmers’ Market begins with having an elevator pitch. A 30-second, distinctive, compelling explanation of what the market is and what it means to you. (Imagine that you have the time it takes to ride with someone in an elevator from the first floor to the third floor.) How do you describe it, hitting the most important points in a few words? Practice makes perfect.

Selling at the Farmers’ Market

You can do it. Selling at the farmers’ market means being a social butterfly. Plus there is a certain degree of vulnerability. This is not the time to be afraid. You have a pseudo brick and mortar. From this location you can:

  • Build a following (gather those email addresses for your mailing list)
  • Give out lots of samples
  • Share your story (How you got started)
  • Discuss the benefits and specialties of your product
  • Learn about your target audience
  • Share information about your social media sites/website
  • Invite your guests to return and tell their friends and family.
  • Give out business cards

Last, consider inviting the media to visit you at the farmers market. Showcase your product, services, and brand. This is one of the best ways to get some real shine.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.