This can be a hard time of year for many farmers because it’s coooooold outside for most of the country.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could slow down, rest and enjoy indoor activities with the family?
Instead, I’m getting emails saying “Help! My freezer is full of meat chicken/beef/milk (fill in the blank). The markets are over and my sales have stopped!”
This is the exact feast and famine cycle we need to stop.
You don’t have to starve.
One poor lady said she has been farming for many years and every year she starves between October and March.
It doesn’t have to be like this, Folks!
Here are 2 things you can do instead…
One is a long-term solution and the second is an immediate-action solution.
And since you’re a smart farmer, you’re going to do both, right?!
If you want to sell in the winter, then the long-term solution is to upgrade your mindset and build an email list during the spring, summer, and fall months.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, when you go to a farmer’s market you must have a mindset that you’re there to build a relationship with current and potential customers.
It doesn’t matter if customers buy today. You’re there to meet people, engage in conversation, and learn everything you possibly can from them.
Selling is secondary.
Unfortunately, most people go to the farmer’s market with the intention of selling whatever it is they have on hand. Selling is their main focus.
And while selling pays the bills, you have to be aware of the customer and their journey. Forcing sales when they first meet you is the fastest way to a slow (and low) bank account.
If you only focus on selling then you’re missing out on 95% of your potential income.
“The long-term key to selling in the winter is shifting your mindset from selling to serving & building an email.”
So maybe it’s winter right now. What can you do today to sell your products?
The answer: Go to them!
You can’t expect people to find you. You have to find them! If you’re a new farm and people don’t know who you are or what you sell, you have to go to them!
Let’s Get Started!
1. Find where your customers are hanging out.
Open Google and start searching for:
- “Farm-to-table restaurants near me”
- “Cross-fit near me”
- “Moms Group near me”
Is there a senior community potluck you can get involved with? A Christmas Bazaar at a local school or church you can get involved with?
You have to get out in the community and start engaging with people, telling them what you do and what you sell.
And when you stop at the local library, restaurant, church, gym — BRING FREE SAMPLES!
People love free samples, plus they’ll remember you long after you leave. Bottom line, you’ve got to get your product in front of the right people — YOUR people!
And make sure you are coming from a place of serving not selling. This mindset shift is critical.
2. Find an Influencer!
Maybe it’s a friend or a friend of a friend. This doesn’t have to be someone famous.
Think of someone that’s always talking about food and gift them a box of your meats. Ask them to share their experience on social media (with your contact info) if they enjoyed it.
Then follow up!
Most people get busy and forget to “get back to you” even though they have good intentions. Meat is the most important thing for YOU, but not them.
Send them an email and ask if they made the recipe you gave them. Be kind and ask for feedback. They’ll be surprised and delighted you took the time to follow up.
Don’t send a long, drawn-out email that asks 100 questions either. Simply ask if they had a chance to make the recipe yet, what they thought and if they had any questions.
Attach the recipe as a pdf in the email in case they lost the one you gave them. Make this process as fast and convenient as possible for them.
3. Host a Tasting
One of my customers started a lamb business a few years ago and as a way for people to taste her lamb, she hosted a “lamb tasting party” at her house.
She cooked lamb 3 ways and served it with wine. I don’t know about you, but if a friend invited me over for fresh lamb and wine, I’d be the first one to RSVP.
This time of year when the weather is yucky, I’ll have a small group of people inside the milk barn to watch the milking process. You’d be surprised many people want to learn how to milk a cow.
Don’t let them leave empty-handed! I’d make homemade yogurt and soft cheese for them to try.
And guess what? Ya know that freezer full of frozen milk… I’d sell out in one night!
People love new experiences and I was willing to get out of my comfort zone to make it happen. This stuff works!
4. Gift Your Product
A local naturopathic clinic recently sent me a dozen new customers. As a way to show my gratitude, I dropped off free products as a gift.
This is a great way to meet local businesses and get your name out there too.
So, if you have chickens in your freezer right now (tying up thousands of dollars) — gift them to past or current customers.
You can even drop them off to new businesses you have your eye on… And you might even have a few people handing you cash on the spot for payment.
I know this sounds crazy, but if you want to sell more chickens next year — give them away.
Write a nice note to your customers and say, “Thank you so much for being a customer last year. I loved meeting and getting to know you. I’m giving you 4 free chickens and if you have any friends who might appreciate them, please pass them along.”
Make sure you provide contact info on every chicken so if someone wants more, they know where to find you.
Remember, selling in the winter is all about building an email list of ideal customers that want to buy from you.
You have to shift your mindset from selling to serving long before winter comes.
Now it’s Your Turn!
What step(s) from above will you take this winter? I’d love to know in the comments below.
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