"Will you be at the market next week?"

jebfarmFebruary 1, 2013

Hello All,

For the past 15 years or so I have sold my plant material at a local market where I have a loyal following, most customers are great, and it has been a positive experience growing and selling at the market. I offer a wide variety of plants and flowers, and a comment I hear often from customers is "your plants are so unusual!" I tell everyone that I grow what everyone else doesn't, and that I get bored easily so they are likely to find plants at my stand that aren't your usual 'garden variety.'
A question that I seem to get more and more from customers that show interest in my product but really aren't interested in buying is "will you be here next week?" I really need a snappy (but polite!) comeback to the question. In the past I have replied "I will be here, will you?" or "The good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise" or "I will be here but there is no guarantee that what you are interested in will be." I have to get these people to buy my plants, and get them to do it while I have their attention. I don't think anyone has purchased anything from me the following week after asking this question.
So my question is, anybody have a good reply to "Will you be at the market next week?" - something that will get them to buy at the market THIS week? Thanks!


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little_minnie(zone 4a)

The guy who sells meat at our market answers, "Yes, but I can't live on "next week"!

I usually say something about the product being very seasonal and no guarantee there will be any left.

The real nice guy next to me will give produce away for free and tell people to come back next week and buy. It is unclear whether that is a good idea or not.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:43PM
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Giving samples away one week sometimes works, IF you know that you'll have that next week. Otherwise, it makes the customers stop and ask, if nothing else.

I usually say, "I'm planning on it, but you never know what might happen between times." And "What I have this week at this time, might be sold out by this time next week. Get here early, if you want to take the chance."

Very good question.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Your intentions are good, but you can say anything you want to them and it won't make a damn bit of difference. If you've been doing this for 15 years, you know as well as me, those people are just trying to be polite.

I don't think there's anything you can say or do to get them to buy something that doesn't involve guilt tripping or begging (which I have done on occasion, but I was young and needed the money :).

Maybe, just maybe, if you offer them a deal if they buy it today. Who knows? If they are really on the fence, that might be the clincher.

My best advice for you is to find something to say that makes you feel ok, smile and accept that people are just like that.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Yep. Kind of like what Mark said. A lot of people say "are you going to be here next week?" to be polite, as a kindly way of blowing you off, instead of having to say they are not interested. That's ok. Keep being polite/nice. Sometimes, talking about your stuff in depth will develop some interest. I know with our jams and jellies, sometimes I can get someone to buy something when I start talking about the different fruit and spice combinations, etc. It doesn't always work but it's kind of like the more you educate those who stop by long enough to listen to you, the better and sometimes, some of them do eventually come back. Just keep offering your "unique" "unusual" products and keep being positive and keep educating.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:05PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

What about saying?: If I can make enough to afford the gas I will be back next week.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:43PM
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i just say thanks for stopping by and have a great day. if its a buyer i just add thanks a lot. the only thing more weird than customers are other vendors.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

"the only thing more weird than customers are other vendors."

Well said Randy! Lol

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:02PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

It is funny to hear opposing sides from different vendors and people online. There is the side of 'mark it a fair price and you deserve to make money from what you do.' Then there is the side that gives stuff away and drops their prices if a customer says they are too high. I am in the middle and get influenced back and forth between the two sides. There is a farmer on local harvest forum that feels he is 'subsidizing' his CSA members because he makes very little and they make plenty. There is another vendor at my market that asks $7 for a half pint of jam and scolds everyone for too low of prices. Then again I spent parts of 2 days baking and prepping for market last week and netted $111 and spent plenty on baking supplies, sold previously made jam, and well I would hate to really do the math on that whole thing!
Anyway customers should maybe know your average farmer/marketer makes little profit. After taking out my expenses for 2012 and estimating the hours I worked I figure I no way made $3.50 an hour. I make 4 times that much at my lame job barely working at all. So there is nothing wrong with a little urging to get someone to buy so you can continue in this business.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:19PM
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