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4 Ways You Can Sell in the Winter

This can be a hard time of year for many farmers.

It’s coooooold outside for most of the country.

It should be a time where we can all slow down and rest after our long, exhausting summer/fall of growing, harvesting, and selling.

Yet, that’s not the case.

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.

But how?

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!

2 Things You Can Do

One is a long-term solution. And the other 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 they 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 minset from selling to serving and building an email.”

Immediate-Action Solution

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”
  • “Crossfit 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. Your meat is the most important thing to 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.

So, if you have chickens in your freezer right now (tying up thousands of dollars) — gift them to past customers.

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.

Start building your email list today with a FREE course on how to get more customers with email marketing HERE!

Now it’s Your Turn!

What step(s) from above will you take this winter? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Thanks for being here,

Charlotte

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Matt Moore November 9, 2016, 3:06 am

    I’m going to try the first 3, the last one may be a little tough to be creative with, I’m not the best cook, and don’t know too many around me. I will think of something, because it sounds the easiest. I am actually going to speak at a chef convention and may have the opportunity to serve them cooked meats. Thank you so much for this advice! You are very appreciated!

    • Charlotte November 9, 2016, 4:03 am

      Thank you so much, Matt! Have one of the chefs at the chef convention cook something up and show it off!

  • Terrie Yordy November 16, 2017, 7:53 am

    I am doing all four. Have to figure out #4. But I did this in a small way with some people who wanted to help us work our cattle (shots, freeze brand, move back out to pasture via horseback, etc). For lunch, I grilled burgers using our grass fed beef. Already have one customer and got rave reviews on the meat she bought. Will have another crew here for more cattle work next month. Maybe I’ll make a nice hearty beef stew. It’s actually a lot if fun!
    Thanks for your info – always helpful!

    • Charlotte November 16, 2017, 11:53 am

      Thank you, Terrie – such a great idea to cook lunch for your crew to help get the word out!!

      Have a super week 🙂

      Charlotte

  • Julia Bell November 16, 2017, 7:59 am

    I am going to do the first suggestion, go to where they are and give away free samples. I have in mind chiropractors, cross fits, acupuncture clinics, my birth center, our turkey customers coming this weekend, and my local Westin A. Price leaders for a start! I’m comfortable with getting out and chatting and sharing, it’s just the time to do it that’s hard. Thank you for making this sound so doable!
    Julia

    • Charlotte November 16, 2017, 11:52 am

      Yay!!! Go for it and then post in the FB group how it goes!!

      Thanks, Julia 🙂

  • Amy Halley December 19, 2018, 9:36 am

    Thanks Charlotte, this was just what I needed to boost me into giving this winter. I wasn’t sure if it would seem desperate to be giving people things, my only real samples are 1 lb ground beef packages, but I’m going to try it. Thanks for the confidence

    • Charlotte December 19, 2018, 9:57 am

      Hi Amy – so glad you’re going to try it!! Ground beef is a wonderful giveaway – giveaway a recipe along with it… I just saw a recipe for shepherd’s pie with ground beef I’m going to try. Perfect for Vermont winters, too!

      Let me know how it goes 🙂

      Charlotte

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