Approaching your prospective customers

Now that you have a great product, nice package and an idea of what is important, here is what to do and say. Start off with the smallest store you can find, the smaller the better since the chances that the person you encounter will be an owner or someone who is in charge is much higher and if they express a sincere interest, you can realistically supply a smaller operation alot easier than a large market. Start small but always think big. You will want to speak to the owner or buyer so identify who they are and approach them by simply introducing yourself with your name and telling them that you would like just a moment of their time to discuss your gourmet produce. You will certainly have a sample with you (freshly chilled from your cooler!) so have it in hand and get it into his/hers as soon as you introduce yourself. by putting the product directly in front of the customer, you can let your product do most of the talking, especially if you are a little nervous at first. Explain how your herbs are grown in a soilfree environment that completely devoid of chemical pesticides, herbacides and fungicides. Your crop is so healthy because it is fed the finest hydroponic nutrients and purest water. Explain how since you are (most likely) "just down the road", you can deliver herbs that are literally only hours old.

Your goal with this first customer contact is to get them to agree to showcase your herbs in their market. Tell them right off the bat that you would love a chance to leave them there on consignment to eliminate any financial commitment from the vendor except once they are sold. You will need to be competitive with their current suppliers but if your herbs are significantly of better quality, you have the upper hand here. Assume that every vendor is looking to double their money so if a bunch of basil sells for $3.99 you can bet they are paying about $1.50 - Since you are leaving them there on consignment and your costs (due to the higher quality farming techniques you use) are considerably higher than those grown out in the field, explain that upon sale of the produce, they will pay you 50% of the sale price. Now remember - I told you to start small - this is so you can get some experience and confidence. Once they agree and you work out a delivery and payment schedule, you are now in business. The next step is to meet your expectations and deliver on time.

It is a great idea that once you establish an account you visit the store a few times a week to see how your herbs are selling and determine which are the hot sellers. Of course you will want to concentrate on growing the hottest sellers. I can tell you from experience that Basil will most likely be your best seller and most profitable crop. However, each market differs and you will have to learn on your own what to grow. Keep your vendors supply going strong, people will tend to buy produce that is in abundant supply. If there is only one bundle left, they may have the preconception that it has been sitting around for a while and isn't fresh. On the other hand, once word gets out about how great your herbs are - they may start disappearing alot quicker than you can supply them. The next step is to scale your business by expanding your production and signing on new vendors to distribute your herbs.

Herb seeds are available in many garden centers so finding them is not problem. Follow the direction on the seed packets for proper germination and growing techniques. Remember, the most valuable information on the subject of making a market for your garden is to visit your local markets and see what is selling. Talk to your local merchants and listen to what they will gladly tell you about their requirements. After all, they are looking to make money selling herbs too!

dill, oregano and sage grown in our aerospring aeroponic system.
Herbs 101

Herbs 101

Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?

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