If the producer decides that direct marketing is something they want to pursue, preparation is key. The Missouri Department of Agriculture helps producers by providing statewide workshops and conferences to help learn the necessary skills to achieve success in marketing. There is also a mountain of material available on the online concerning direct marketing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Web site offers direct marketing information through nearly 20,000 searchable documents. The North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association is another great resource offering tips, tools, techniques and advice on how to succeed in direct marketing.
How do you recommend they prepare their products, displays, themselves, for direct customer interaction?
Producers need to use common sense strategies to do what is necessary to provide and display a quality product. For example, if the produce you are offering to consumers needs to be washed, take the extra few minutes to wash it. This will give your produce a better look and will be more appealing to consumers.
Include all necessary labeling and clearly price the product. Producers should not forget about the importance of displays; they should be colorful, free of errors and attractive to the consumer's eye. Producers should use signage for the farm and location as well as pictures of the farm and farm family.
When you are selling your product to a consumer, appearance can be everything. Even if you just left the field after a long, hard morning working, you don't need to look like it. Personal appearance is very important when selling a customer your fresh produce.
Make sure you brush up on your sales and communication skills when selling directly to the consumer. Sometimes your first impression is your only impression.