Price is the first thing we look for whenever we shop for a product, it’s what we’re trained to do. It’s hard to walk into a retail space without buying into the price obsession, even at a place like the farmers market where vendor trust is implicit.
Yet, setting price is of little interest to the type of person that creates for the farmers market. Something different goes on in the minds of farmers.
Family-scale farming only works when there are healthy relationships. You work with your neighbour. You work with the guy who owns the baler. You work with the babysitter. You work with the expert at the agriculture research station. You work with nature.
Money sometimes changes hands, but the money gathering is not the crown jewel on the quarterly statements.
Another thing about the romanticized farmer world: you live the proverb you don’t get something for nothing. Unless you show up to work and do a real thing - like sticking a seed in the ground - you will never get paid. Actions have consequences.
In 2012 I entered the sales world of wine and had a bit of farmer in my thinking and a bit of Bay Street. I had no idea how to price the wine since I didn’t keep books and my way of valuing things had no relation to market reality. But I did understand that I couldn’t pay bills unless I sold a luxury good grown on soil that could be used to feed people.
I was a naive and unsuccessful sales guy, and in fairness to the buyers I was a nobody and operating alone, and my wine didn’t fit into their market matrix.
What really struck me was the casual lying, such as committing to a purchase and then backing out.
In their world, if there were no repercussions to lying to a person’s face, then the option was worth considering.
Once I built a brand and started working with reputable sales agents, people stopped lying to my face because there was a price attached to the behaviour.
I was glad to learn this lesson of the corporate world where the language is money. If you can get away with a behaviour for financial gain, you should do it. If you can get something for nothing pursue it now, because your competitors are doing the exact same thing.
It explains a lot of the behaviour around us, imagining that the person on the screen will lie to you if they believe they will suffer no harm for it, and continue lying to you until their community rejects the behaviour.
Where I ultimately landed was that I needed to have an understanding of price and sales, but I was better off trusting people who worked in sales and knew how to manage the space. I was shielded from enough of the sales noise to avoid being distracted from creating my thing, but I was connected enough to find the buyers that aligned with my thinking.
I’ll close by saying that I can’t recall a single sales experience which sours me to this day, which is saying a lot for the band that let me sit in for a few sessions.
See you next Friday,
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