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My secret to getting more customers + download to help

I hear from farmers regularly that you are struggling with sales, wondering what you could be doing to sell more of your products.

What you’re doing isn’t working, you’re scrambling around doing all sorts of things people tell you about.  Farmer’s markets, deliveries, craigslist, posting at the local feed store.  You are exhausted and still don’t have enough customers or a reliable way to get more customers.

And the stress of running a business where you can’t sell enough product at the price you need is doing you and your family in!

farming, csa, raw milk, sustainable, start a farm, grassfed, pasture rotation, intense rotational grazing, how to farm, hobby farmer, homesteading, joel salatin, polyface, women who farm, charlotte smith

Feelings Not Facts

Marketing is not about finding new ways to sell more of something or new ways to advertise.

Instead, It’s about feelings more than facts and about becoming a part of people’s stories.

If you’re a small farmer or perhaps you’re producing ag-related products, your customers are all around you – lucky you – and the challenge is that you need to make sure you spend time connecting with them, becoming part of their story.

People buy based on your relationship with them and how you make them feel. That’s it. Does that seem simple? It is!!! It’s that simple.

You are so very lucky to be in this kind of a business where you actually interact with people regularly who need your products. You have the ultimate opportunity of being able to easily connect with your customers daily, find out their challenges and struggles, offer solutions and you’ve got to be taking advantage of that!

There is no shortcut to selling.

You sell things when you have deep relationships with people. Period. Sure, you’ll have some random outliers that walk in and buy sight unseen/unheard, but those won’t sustain your business.

Having deep relationships with your buyers is easy when you first start out because you naturally are telling your friends and family about your products so those are your first buyers. It’s easy to sell to them! They already love you and trust you and you matter to them!!

Then they tell a couple friends and your circle grows larger.

Trust is everything.

But to continue your growth towards sustainability, you have to build a larger and larger customer base that trusts you.

You must continue mattering to more and more people for your business to thrive, which takes more and more of your time. If you were to continue building relationships using techniques like those first customers who were family and friends, doing things such as going out to coffee, lunch, phone conversations or emails back and forth, you’d be exhausted and eventually run out of time!

Efficiently communicate with your customers.

So then how in the world do you build up a customer base that feels just like when you started with your family and friends, when you don’t have years to build those relationships?

The missing link is an email marketing software program that helps you email your growing customer base. You might be able to keep in close touch with 50 people, but what about when it grows to 100 or 500 or 5,000? How do you make 5,000 people feel like they matter deeply to you?

It’s easy with email marketing software. And some of them are free, such as Mailerlite (I use Convertkit). It’s also the only legal way to be emailing your customers about your products.  All those blind-copied emails you’re sending out?  Yes, that’s illegal.  And it will drive you crazy in the long run.

I use this tool to keep in touch with my list as if they are my friends I’m writing personal emails to. I actually think of them as my friends!! And when they get an email from me it looks and sounds very personal, as if I sat down and thought of them and wrote them a letter.

Relationship Building Pays Off

It was an investment of work, time and dollars for me to get to this point. I learned a whole new way of communicating so as to make an email to 2,000 people sound personal. I learned what words to use, how to format my emails, how to build trust through my words, how to build and strengthen relationships through a bulk email.

And it paid off. We have a very successful, sustainable, growing and thriving farm because I make every one of my 2,000 customers feel special.

And I’m no longer running ragged and my family is not threatening to leave me!

You can learn to do this, too. It’s all the little things I share here in my blog posts from month to month.

Connect with each and every person you sell to.

It may be in person or it may be a lovely written email, no matter how quick and short the email is, but use the opportunity to connect.

You don’t have to give them stuff – don’t give away products to get customers – our products are too low-profit margin anyway. You’re giving them the gift of you and your knowledge. And that’s what they want, that’s why they come to you. For connection.

BTW, when I hire staff to work in our farm store, I don’t emphasize selling. I’m not hiring them to sell meat. I’m not hiring them to sell anything!! They have to know how to run the register and price things, of course, and ring up sales.

The Sole Goal of our Farm Store Staff

What I’m hiring them to do is to connect with everyone who walks through the door. So that the communication my customers get from me on the phone, through text or email, in person or with one of my sales staff or even farm laborers, is always consistent. No matter whom they talk to when at our farm (or by phone/email) they FEEL GREAT after the interaction.

Here’s what I tell my store employees – I want everyone who walks through that door to feel great about themselves and about being here. I don’t care if they buy a thing. Your job is to make them feel good. Talk to them. Ask them about their day, their family, compliment them, compliment their kids, ask them about their concerns. Only if they ask your advice do you give it.

Then listen.

If you listen, this will happen. 

And guess what happens? They buy our stuff. They tell all their friends they HAVE to shop at our store. And then guess what? Their friends come out, love the experience, feel good and they buy stuff. Nobody questions our price because they trust us deeply.

And your communication and connection must be genuine — they will sniff out manipulation immediately.

And we are able to pay our bills and grow and thrive. All because first we emphasize making the customer feel good and building trust. Then a sale is a no-brainer.

(Don’t have a store? No matter. Do the same thing by email or text or phone or signage or however you communicate with your customers.)

My Hope For You This Week

This week I hope you’ll look into an email marketing system such as Mailerlite. And one more thing you can do starting this week – write every single one of your customers a personal email. Maybe do it in groups of 5 or 10 each week if you have a lots of customers.

You will find this will endear them to you, they’ll come buy your goods, they won’t question your price, and you’re on the way to customers for life.

I even have a perfect sample email you can steal and make your own – click this link to download: Reach out to your customers by email

This is not an email to sell them anything. You are just saying hello and thanking them for being a customer. You are offering some free info – recipes, information, inspiration. And you are offering to help by asking questions.

You’ll be amazed by the response to this simple email, though, so please do try!!

That’s it!! So short, simple, and you will go FAR in building trust with them.

Then, as you get good with your email marketing software this simple email will help build you a huge list of customers who trust you and support you.

The replies from this one email will be a gold mine of ideas for you to connect even deeper with other customers.

My hope for you is that this info helps you TODAY get more customers. Easy. Just a written note.

Please scroll down to the comment section and tell me what happened when you reached out to a customer with the gracious sample email.

And share the love – forward this post to your friends who are small business owners and can also write this free, simple but trust-building email.

Now go make someone feel good –

XO  Charlotte

farming, small farm, customers, farm to consumer, csa, raw milk, grassfed, joel salatin, farm marketing, business, flower farm, florist, prices
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Polly Cisneros January 14, 2016, 4:50 pm

    I am interested in the marketing course beginning in March. I have a raw goat milk dairy in central Texas. Thanks
    Polly

    • Charlotte January 14, 2016, 4:59 pm

      Thanks, Polly, you will LOVE the course 🙂

      More info coming over the next few weeks.

      Thank you so much for reading our posts — I wish you great success!!

      –Charlotte

  • Danielle Hughes January 15, 2016, 12:15 pm

    Thank you for all the great information! What a game changer this will be for our business. I’m always looking for more time to offer better products to my customers when I can use the time I have more efficiently with a great email system. Which allows me extra meaningful time with my family. I’ll be joining the course in March too. We will be opening our Raw Dairy Cow Herd Share, grass fed beef, pork, meat birds and veggies this summer. We have been breeding, researching and building for three years now. So excited. We are located in Limon, Colorado. Thank you Charlotte.

    • Charlotte January 16, 2016, 6:30 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment!! I’m so glad this is useful to you.
      You will LOVE the course. Watch out for my interview in a couple weeks of a graduate who shares her successes she’s having because she took the course last fall.

      We have similar farms, you and I, except we don’t do veg 🙂

      Can’t wait to talk with you more!!

      xoxo
      Charlotte

  • Meagan January 29, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Thank you for the reminder to reach out to current customers! Because of this post, I sent out thank you emails to our customers this week, and boy that feels like the right thing to do. Thank you! –Meagan

    • Charlotte January 30, 2016, 10:02 pm

      That’s super, Meagan!! So great to connect with you via email and see your farm!! Beautiful 🙂

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