Quick tips for selling at market

1. View Your Stand Like A Shopper. During a pause in business, take a walk away from your stand, then turn around and approach it as a shopper would. Then walk on past and approach your stand again from the other direction. Take note of what strikes your eye and consider how you could make each part of your display even more appealing.

2. Abundance Sells. Keep your displays looking as full as possible, so that they suggest abundance. When a big box becomes half empty, move the contents to a smaller box to maintain the look of fullness. Sometimes using two items together to “fill” a box is a good solution.

3. Water your produce. Bring a watering can to market to sprinkle your veggies during the market (even those in the shade). Bring extra water in plastic jugs so you don’t skimp on the watering for fear of running out. A hand pump sprayer, while more efficient in its use of water, also tends to send the wrong message to shoppers. Use plenty of water—it’s cheap and your veggies and the work you put into them aren’t.

4. Lose the Cash Box. Consider keeping your bills and change in your pockets instead of using a cash box. That way you can make change without turning your back on your customers or opening your cash box in front of them. You can make a sale anywhere in or around your stand, and can walk away from your stand without having to worry about your cash box. Keep the wad of bills in your pocket manageable and organized by denomination.

5. Be Clear About Prices. Make sure all of your items have prices on them or displayed nearby. Many shoppers won’t ask how much something costs, or will assume because it isn’t priced it might be too expensive for them.

6. Take advantage of the weather. Overcast days allow you to move all your greens and wiltables out into better view instead of needing to be crowded into the shade of your tent. Adjusting your display according to the weather allows you to try new approaches to displaying your wares, and allows your display to appear quite different even if you’re displaying exactly the same items you had on a sunny market day.

7. Don’t Waste Display Space. Does the side of your cooler say “Igloo” or “Coleman”or does it display a list of cuts and prices of the meats inside? Does the side of your market vehicle have a magnetic sign with your farm name, location and contact info so you will never forget your sign with that info? Does your hat say “Agway” or does it sport your farm’s name?

8. Color Sells. Fresh veggies come in a wonderful range and brilliance of shapes and colors. Use this to your advantage when building your displays. Separate your green cukes and green zukes with yellow summer squash or orange carrots. Separate clashing colors with items that don’t clash.

9. The Market Is Your School. No one person has all the good ideas. Learn from others in every aspect of what they are doing, whether they are doing something well or poorly. Adopt, adapt, and improve according to your preferences whether it’s a display idea, a new variety of veggie, cheese or cookie. But be careful to to crassly imitate or you will soon lose friends.

10. Learn To Use Non-Committal Greetings. Even a “Howdy” or “Good Morning” is better than “Can I Help You?” because they don’t put the shopper in a position of having to immediately say yes or no, of having to commit at that instant.

About Leigh Hallett

Leigh has been Executive Director of the Federation since 2014. She can be reached by email (dir[email protected]) or by calling the MFFM offices (487-7114).