Storytelling is what I do for a living. Whether I am helping others to grow their roadside farm stand or to fight off the weed attacking their rhubarb crop, the writers and editors of this magazine sell information to you, our readers, through storytelling.
And everyone has a story to tell.
Don’t think you do? Think again.
Maybe you inherited your land from your parents or grandparents, and they have told you stories about storms that ravaged crops or how they made it through the Great Depression. Perhaps you have established a burgeoning following at farmers markets by interacting with customers and engaging with them on social media. Or maybe you have children who have a mischievous streak like you did and your shenanigans on the farm – and now theirs – are legendary.
Whatever tale it is that you have to tell, start telling it. As our writer Jack Petree explains in his article “Are You A Marketer Or Salesperson?” the difference between selling your products and marketing what you grow is all in the delivery. One couple in the article, John and Dorie Belisle of BelleWood Acres in Whatcom County, Washington, have marketed their apple orchard, and other products, in a handful of ways – weaving a story that helps them remain profitable through agritourism, traditional wholesale, on-farm processing, U-pick, retail and a distillery. Each endeavor adds a layer to their operation that helps them market their products to customers who want to buy into the “Buy Local” movement. And each layer becomes another story to tell.
Penn State University Extension has a helpful article called “Ten Things You Can Do To Improve Your Sales” that I recommend reading. One tip is to promote added-value offerings – such as “recipes, preparation ideas or nutritional information.” Selling upgrades can mean more sales, or creating special offers to loyal and past customers.
But one tip the article also includes is selling your story – getting free publicity from local, regional or even national news outlets to market what you grow and the story behind how you do it. (Read more tips on improving sales by searching “how to improve sales”.)
There’s no question that customers want to know more about what they’re eating these days. While telling them about your growing processes is valuable, the story behind who you are as a grower can also connect you with customers in a way that factual information just can’t. So, open up and share your story – and market your produce at the same time.