Page 6 - Farmers

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The easiest way to increase sales
is by getting your existing customer
base to buy more. It is so much easier
than attracting new customers.
The 2005 DVD, Fish, is a story about
the staff of a fish vendor at Pike
Place Market in Seattle WA. The
staff members are famous for their
enthusiasm and humour. During
the video, they are asked why they
are so friendly. One staff person
summed it up so well when he said,
“Each morning when I get up, I
have a choice; I can be happy and
enthusiastic, or I can be grumpy.”
That is the choice every one of us
makes every day. Be sure you pick
staff who make the right choice each
morning, it will pay you big dividends.
You can teach an employee product
knowledge, but it is difficult to change
core personality. Hire on attitude and
train aptitude.
Identify sales staff with T-shirts
or aprons with your farm name or
logo. This makes it easier for your
customers to identify staff and ask
Cleanliness is critical. In most cases,
vendors at farmers’ markets are
selling food to the public who believe
you and your staff members are an
extension of your farm. So if your
dirty truck is parked by the stall,
and customers are being served by
someone whose clothes or hands
aren’t clean, customers will assume
the farm would show the same level of
care and cleanliness for the products
on display at the market. If you were
buying food to take home and feed
your family, who would you buy from?
A hand washing policy is required.
Staff must wash their hands between
changing jobs, after eating, using the
washroom, and sneezing or coughing.
Alcohol based gel hand sanitizers,
available at any drug store are an
option if hands aren’t soiled, but the
best way to clean hands is with soap
and warm water.
Likewise, your stall, display tables
and the stall floor also need to be
kept clean as do the containers you
use to bring your products to the
farmers’ market. If you pack things
in old, dirty hampers, the customer
may make a similar judgment call on
the cleanliness of your products. You
might be better to find a supply of
strong plastic crates. Crates that are
20 by 16 by 7 inches high range from
$3.50 to $10.00 each, depending on
supply and demand. They are sturdy,
stackable, lock together, can be easily
washed with a hose or power washer
and should last for years.
Stall Layout
Stall layout can help make your retail
area appear larger and therefore have
more impact. Most vendors place
their tables at the front boundary of
their stall. This configuration is fine if
you have a limited amount of product.
However, other display methods may
have a greater impact.
Improve your layout
Assume your stall width is 20 feet.
Place your display tables down the
left and right boundaries of your
stall for about 10 feet then across
the stall. With this placement, you
have effectively doubled your display
space. In the open area in the middle
of the “U-shaped” display, you could
add a lower profile display table which
can be used to feature your big draw
item(s), or the items that return you
the greatest profit (see Diagram 1).