Farmers Markets compromise almost every Saturday of the year for our family at The Reynolds Barn. Friday night before the market consists of usual milking chores and farm duties, plus goat milk soap and cheese making, and checking off the list for the morning. Once the trucks are loaded and the sun rises Saturday morning, we divide and conquer. On a typical market morning we attend two to three markets, and occasionally another in the afternoon. How do we do it? Here are a few tips to make your farmers markets successful.
Conversations with Customers
Selling a product takes more than just sitting on a cooler behind the table and waiting for customers to take interest. Stand up and greet everyone. I have learned to always ask an opened ended question that requires a response from the customer. An example would be: “Good Morning! Would you like to sample some fresh goat cheese?” The customer will either come up to the table and try some, simply say no, or give an excuse of how they don’t like goat cheese. As the farmer’s daughter, I don’t take no for an answer. Most of my regular customers thank me every week for convincing them a year ago to sample the cheese. So when customers respond with no, I always ask them why. (The reason I most often hear is because they do not care for stinky goat cheese.) Here is where describing your product and the process used to make it will win over your customers. Give full explanations and a guarantee that they will like it. And nine times out of ten they will!
Go the Extra Mile
The next step in making farmers markets successful is to stand out from other vendors. At the markets I attend the most popular tent color is white, so I got a red tent. Make signs simple and legible with text big enough to get the customer’s attention easily. Find ways to give your customers a visual connection to where your products came from. A chalkboard adorned with cutout goats displays my product pricings. Every outdoor summer market I bring along a couple baby goats. This draws in the children, which in turn reels in their parents. While the kids are occupied with the goats, parents purchase more products. If you can, demonstrate some of your daily work. Occasionally I will hold goat milking demonstrations to enlighten customers as to what life is like on the farm. This always brings in a large crowd of new customers.
Remember, almost all the customers coming to the farmers market want to support their local farmers and buy wholesome products. Be there for your customers and be prepared to sell out!