Farmer’s Markets have been a much-needed boost to my online-only sales, but there are many more benefits that I realized while doing them besides the transactions. Throughout the whole process of applying and marketing myself to various Farmers Markets all over the city and setting up a booth/hawking product, I learned many things before (and after) selling at my first Farmers Market. I started this blog series to help potential foodie and fermenter comrades. I want to be able to pass along the things I have learned while starting up this business of mine, to help others who have the same dreams, reach their goals more easily. Let’s dive in!
You Must Sell Your Product, and Yourself
Selling yourself is just as important as selling your product. It starts from the time you submit your first Farmers Market application. Craft specific tidbits about your business/product on why you would make a good fit. What makes you stand out from other products? Would you be a good personality fit for the market that wants to cultivate community inclusion? Once you are there in person at the Farmers Market, continuously talk to people as they walk up to your booth - be engaging and passionate. Make them want not only this product but the culture you’re selling with it.
Booth Appearance is Everything
Creating a catchy slogan, company name or eye-catching sign can break the ice with your potential customers. It helps establish a talking point and comfortability. The booth/table setup is the same. Take pride in your product and layout. Use risers and multiple levels to make your product exemplified. Don’t just sit product on your table and call it on a day. Draw people in. I can’t tell you how many people have stopped to take a picture of my banner or laughed at it as they pass by. It gives me an opening to educate them about my product as well as some free marketing if they post the pictures they take on social media.
Pay Attention to Passerby Customers
You are there to sell, not to chill and hang out. Very few of your sales are going to be people who just come up to your booth because they want to. Many are there to just look around and browse. I cannot stress enough: draw people in. If you see someone eyeing your product as they walk by, find a good way to rope them in and want to hear more about your product. “You look like a guy who likes hot sauce.” “Wanna add some flavor to your meals?” Make them stop and come up to you. If you pay attention to your potential customers and where their eyes are going and then educate them about the product, I guarantee you will increase your sales. I had at least 60% more sales when I actively engaged and drew the customers in when selling at my first Farmers Market.
Network With Other Vendors
I can’t stress this enough. Don’t keep to yourself and stay in your bubble. Go out and check out other vendors and their products. You never know what kind of synergy your products have with others for potential collaborations. Talking with them and seeing how they do things also could save you a TON of money and time. I’ve already chatted with several vendors who have introduced me to new ways of doing things, and/or new services that cut my costs! You may even find that your products complement each other so well that you guys can do a collaboration. This could potentially help boost both of your sales with a new limited product, which is mutually beneficial for both of you! Networking is huge for small businesses. When you have the opportunity and a large pool of other like-minded entrepreneurs in your sights, don’t pass it up to learn from them also.
Farmers Markets are a fun and amazing way to get your product out into your communities hands, as well as generating a large network of other professionals like yourself to seek information and learn from. Get out into your community and become a part of it. Generate buzz and loyalty towards your brand and your product. After I got done selling at my first Farmers Market, I was floored by the sales and support people showed me. That type of feedback keeps me motivated and grinding harder.