market-farming digest: March 15, 2002

Hook Family guldann at
Sat Mar 16 10:50:41 EST 2002

> Beth - those are great little tips, especially the "no" stuff - we all
> automatically say "can I help you" I think or will answer no to a
question -

How many times have we been asked that question and what is your usual
response?  "No" thankyou I am just looking".  He said before the question
they were shopping now they are only looking and the majority of times they
won't buy anything. But..........he said don't confuse this with customers
wanting to be left alone.  Yes for a few min. they want to be left alone to
look, remember you've already said let me know if I can help you, then you
wait. He said a customer who is getting ready to buy will ask you an opening
question, it means that you MAY now speak to them.  And yes he said it might
be a stupind question to you or one you've heard a million times like did
you grow all this stuff?  He said its important to not treat it stupid or
boring no rolling eyes.  Treat it like its the best ques. you've ever heard
and answer with all the good stuff about growing it yourself (not too long
although nothing wrong with cute "These were my grandmothers heirloom
tomatoes, she told me they came over on the boat from the old country"  This
should be a true story but nothing wrong with cute").
Body lanquage; You the farmer must look inviting, NEVER sit.  Yikes sounds
like a tiring day :).  Sitting makes you look tired and bored.  Don't fold
arms, don't put them behind you and don't put them in your pockets all makes
you unavailable, bored etc.  He said point with open hands like the ladies
on game shows it shows nothing to hide.
If a pair or group of people are shopping and one is doing most of the
talking direct your answers to the pair or group not just the talker.  He
said if the other person feels ignored they may talk the person out of the
sale but if they feel you felt they were valuable they tell the person to
buy.  He didn't go into specifics on how to include the other person but I
imagine something like if you gave a recipe to customer give friend one,
make eye contact when explaining the veggie, if giving samples give friend
one etc.
A funny anecdote from another class; This was a cut flower farmer.  She has
been one for about 10 years.  One of her better markets are weddings.  While
she said they are alot of work and she has thought of discontinuing she
realized they were too lucrative.  She must be good because she said alot of
her business are guests at the wedding who see her flowers.  She says she
has to deal with the problem of a bride wanting flowers out of season and
since she grows them this is impossible.  She'll have brides touring gardens
in spring and say I want this and this etc. no way she can have them in
August.  She simply says oh such and such looks just like it and will be
ready in Aug. But the funny story was a bride came to her and wanted lilacs
and peonies in late June, farmer new this was impossible but she said ok,
the bride says wow great all the other florists said no.  Well farmer
realized she got herself into something but she made bouquets out of some
purple flower that looks just like lilac (?), the one peonie that was ready
and a peony looking tulip (she told bride it was a chinese peony).  She says
the bride (and her) got so many complements on the flowers and she still
gets positive feed back some years later on how beautiful those flowers
were.  The moral was not lie lie lie but more often the customer has no clue
about what grows when what they really want and she knew she could make them
a product that would look the same.
Now I am not sure the above story would be for me but it says something
about being able to make people happy because you know your product.

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