Selling Soulfully

maximinus_denariusOne of the things which has perplexed me about our business (& indeed business in general),

has been the singularly grey area for us – that of sales.  Whilst our natural enthusiasm for & thorough knowledge of our product has evidently proved to be a great advantage thus far I’ve never felt it is quite sufficient; & it costs a lot more than the odd denarius to keep this operation going – especially with so many mouths to feed (us included!). 

Our military training has instilled discipline & dedication into everything we do: from milking the goats, to crafting the gelato, to ensuring our publicity material is accurate as well as inherently appealing, to making sure that we actually look the part – smart & consummately professional.  Thankfully these aspects, too, have paid off; & certainly we received many favourable comments at yesterday’s Sales & Marketing Workshop regarding our ‘corporate image’ – so it looks like we’ve been heading in pretty much the right direction, all along.   And the skills gleaned from the previous day’s training have really opened my eyes & given me much food for thought (‘scuse the pun). 

However, there was still a foggy area on the radar – that of how to choose our target markets; & how to successfully pitch to prospective customers.  So when it was unexpectedly offered to me yesterday the opportunity for an extra one-on-one session with our tutor (also a professional mentor) this morning, was just far too good an opportunity to miss. 

So where before I felt we’d been a bit ‘in the dark’ I now have complete clarity; & can take things forward for Lovespoon, with vision & confidence.  Once again I would strongly recommend any small or fledgeling food business in Wales, to attend True Marketing’s smorgasbord of sales advice – you certainly won’t regret it.  It would have cost me a small fortune to have organised the same session with a marketing consultant; so to have been provided such a long & detailed discussion with someone of so many year’s practical experience who is also a Chartered Institute training professional  – gratis – I feel incredibly lucky.  I know many of my colleagues across the Severn, would give their eye teeth for a similarly valuable small business resource!

After the session I made the most of my time in Carmarthen to do a bit of extra ‘shopping’ at a couple of the larger agricultural merchants; plus I purchased some paint samples so that we can crack on & ‘spring clean’ the buildings, changing the colour scheme from deepest, darkest red & artic white (the latter of which after the last few weeks I’ve had enough of, by now); to the ‘Lovespoon’ colours of pale cream walls with darker beige window-frames & doors. 

I arrived home by mid-afternoon; & of course the very first thing I did was check the on the goats in case someone had kidded (although I was highly doubtful as nobody appeared to be displaying any of the telltale signs, before I left – otherwise I’d have cancelled the mentoring session ‘just in case’).

However imagine my surprise to find proud mum Babe shepherding her two new arrivals over to the Maternity Ward!  By the look of  them (up, suckling & dry although still a bit bemused & wobbly) they’d been born at around 1.45pm & 2pm, respectively.  Both very pretty, the little girl (Cranogwen or ‘Noggin’) is paler in colour than her brother (Cadan).  Clutching the can of purple iodine spray I happily attended to their raw umbilical cords & checked them over – both delightful little kids.  Pudding & Babe swapped notes whilst their offspring got to know one another; & all was well with the world as the sun set on another soulful day at the Dairy….

Busy times ahead, methinks.  Best I get into gear & put these newly-acquired skills & knowledge into practise – to start earning some serious denarii for all these hungry new mouths….!

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About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, Business, Dairy, Diary, Farming, February 2009, Food, Goats, Life, Livestock, Smallholding, Wales. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Selling Soulfully

  1. paula says:

    You are so right – pitching, targeting and then actually selling the quantities one needs too is a minefield. Sounds you are pretty sorted though.

    Good news on the kidding too. How many have you got in all to kid this year? And how far through have you got?

    “Thanks, Paula –

    I hope so! Luckily, whilst developing the brand, much of it evolved naturally: who would be most likely to purchase ergo the routes to market etc. Although we have since discovered that the brand seems to have a far wider appeal than we’d first anticipated – no bad thing, I suppose! Good to know (from someone who knows!) that we seem to be on the right track, though.

    As for kidding….phew! We’ve got about thirty to kid, this year; & are currently (as at 11 March – where is the time going?! Doesn’t it fly) about two-thirds of the way through – hence I haven’t had much time to blog! I’ll be adding a few more archive posts ASAP, & will post a list of those people might have missed as a result of my busy-ness. Right! Must dash – so much bottle-feeding, so little time! Glad you’re recovering from wheelspinning your Bobcat (you naughty tearaway, you – especially setting such a bad example for Desiree’s bovine offspring!). 😀

    Re comments – have taken a leaf out of your Blog BTW & am putting replies in italics – plus coupling them with the relevant author’s comment itself, to clean things up a little. No idea how you’ve managed to modify to yours to insert replies as you have – but it looks great.

    Best wishes – Jo. ”

  2. Hi Jo
    We are at a crossroads with our business at the moment. We have happily been selling at farmers markets but the business needs to make a bit more cash to support itself. We are based near Llandeilo.
    Rgds
    Sam

    “Oh Sam,

    there are so many people in your position…please, take heart! Only this morning I was speaking to the proprietor of a lovely little deli which is opening shortly in Llandovery – up until now she’s been selling her baked produce at Farmers’ Markets & found the response to locally-produced food so encouraging, she’s decided to take things further & open her own shop.

    Admittedly, we’ve perhaps gone about things a little ‘arse-about-face’ (if you’ll excuse the rather crude expression) as we started by developing the product & designing the brand, along with finding a few outlets, before tackling the local marketplaces. However, this was partially owing to selling a specialist product requiring specialist packaging (made in Italy); & partially owing to me having to steer this ship largely single-handed, for the moment; whilst Tony continues flying to pay the Dreaded Mortgage! And we gained sufficient confidence from the overwhelmingly positive response to taste tests held with a wide variety of focus groups, to take the plunge.

    I simply cannot recommend the True Marketing courses, highly enough: I’ve learned so much, & benefited so much, from attending them. In fact I’m going to another one in Narberth, in a couple of weeks’ time; & yet another, in Abergavenny, scheduled for early June – as I know they will enhance my knowledge, enrich my skills….& enable our business to be the success we know it deserves to be.

    I can assure you, I’ve never come across better VFM in terms of business-savvy courses! I’m not just saying this (nor, alas, am I ‘on commission’…!) but I honestly have found that where before I was a little uncertain, underconfident & confused I have been patiently taught the skills I truly needed to take things further forward, with confidence – as the saying goes, the scales have literally dropped from my eyes. And you get a great interactive learning pack, not to mention the incredibly valuable mentoring session. So drop me a line if you want more info – & I know the True Marketing team will be happy to help.

    Best wishes –

    Jo.”

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