Salesmanship is a skill you need. Before you jump in and sell, sell, sell. Ask yourself what value to do offer your customer. The biggest mistake small food entrepreneurs make is not listening to the customer. Why are they buying your product? What problem does your hot sauce solve? Why do they need your custom cookies or Bourbon Pecan pie?
Often you’ll find what you have to offer fulfills three primary needs. (If you don’t believe me, survey your customers.)
- The need to stand out from the crowd.
- The desire to add flavor, interest, and uniqueness to their culinary experience.
- A walk down memory lane.
If you’re going to be a successful food entrepreneur, you need to get into the head of your customer. No longer can you set your product before the consumer and expect to be successful. Competition is in every corner of your existence. You must know where you belong in the marketplace.
What you offer is what the consumer wants. Right?
The Meaning of Salesmanship
This is where salesmanship comes into play. If all you do is sell, make money and ignore who your customer is and why they buy from you; you are going to lose the race. Customers know when you are sincere in your actions and when all you want is the cash from their hand. Engagement is essential when you’re a micro food business. Salesmanship is about creating long-term, beneficial sales relationships with customers. Building loyalty and soliciting Brand Ambassadors. This is why there are bakers who will only use White Lily Flour and others who swear by Pillsbury.
Here’s an example of salesmanship gone awry. Recently, I became angry about the bottle used for a new hot sauce on the market. The ghost pepper sauce does not allow a small drop to come out of the bottle. Instead, you must slowly pour so the sauce isn’t dumped on your food. It’s ghost pepper hot sauce, the sauce is begging for a dasher top. Will the hot sauce industry listen? Will the producer of the hot sauce listen? No. Why? It’s not about the customer, it’s about cost or what the market will tolerate. I’ll say it again. It’s ghost pepper hot sauce. We don’t want to pour, they want a dash.
Think about the product you sell? What do your customers think of your product? Take time to ask them. This is what good salesmanship. Remember, it’s all about the customer.