When I was little I used to live in East Ham, and I will never forget the sound of the fruit and veg man shouting at the top of his lungs,

Come and get your juicy pears

And a range of other call outs, rhymes and jokes telling anyone within ear shot just how wonderful his fruit and veg was.

In fact there were more than one fruit and veg men in the small market outside the indoor market on East Ham High Street, each competing for passing trade.

I assumed you just went for the first stall you see, but my Mum told me once,

Not this one, we go to the bloke further along

And I can remember wondering why?

This morning I remembered that story as I walked through the shopping centre near where I live and I saw a guy setting up his stall with his Avon products.

He was busy setting out all the perfumes, make up and other toiletries, oblivious to the hundreds of people walking past him. There was nothing attracting customers, nothing to make me ever consider having a look at what he had on his stall.

It made me wonder how many hours of his life he must spend setting up and then packing up the hundreds of products he sells…and whether he made any money from this stall.

The fact he was missing the morning trade, not making eye contact, not being available if anyone had forgotten their mascara or worse still their deodorant, not making eye contact…or maybe even having some testers…and plus don’t people mainly sell Avon online or via their network these days?

As I walked past the other stalls I wondered about the sales and marketing (or lack of) activities of the other traders.

I walked past the guy who sells the fruit in plastic bowls. Not the best quality fruit (I know it will go off a few days after buying it) but perfect if I fancy something to eat on my way somewhere. It is like 30% cheaper than the other stalls, and I like the guys that sell from there.

The other place I buy fruit from, the bloke always says “alright darlin” whether I am buying that day or not. Plus the fruit is always good quality and service is fast and proffessional.

Each of these serve a different purpose and I am happy to support both businesses….wheras I am indifferent to the 4 or 5 other fruit and veg stalls in the market.

I also realise I get great joy from buying my eggs from the egg stall. Mainly because its an old guy who runs it and he has been there for years, he sells all kinds of eggs (including pickled) and I get a sense of old east end nostalgia…I don’t care if I can get the eggs cheaper in Sainsbury’s, or can get double the number of eggs for the price in the 0.99p shop.

I did a lunch and learn about my observations over on Facebook today, if you care to listen

But here are my top lessons which I think are applicable for most small businesses.

Lesson One

Don’t waste too much time and money making everything pretty, it doesn’t need to be perfect to make your first sale. So many entrepreneurs fiddle around with logos, and colour pallets, and think they can’t launch things until everything is perfect. This is a waste of time and energy, especially if you haven’t tested the market yet.

Lesson Two

Setting up your stall is important but don’t ignore the early footfall in your business. If there is a need, be ready to go immediately. The rest you can do when there is a break, or gradually while still serving customers.

Lesson Three

Think about how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors, can you have quirky slogans, better customer service, a fast turn around, friendly staff. Bring your personality to the front

Lesson Four

You don’t have to compete on price, but know that people will always want things at different price points, so be comfortable with what you charge…and even if your products are the cheapest you can always add extra value without it costing you massively. (The cheap greengrocer lets you taste the fruit to check for sweetness)

Lesson Five

And finally, my favourite one…Treat your customers, or even your potential customers nice, even if they are not buying from you today…they might tomorrow.

Hope that has given you some food for thought, would love to know how you can implement any of this in your business…or any other business lessons you can learn from business traders?

Every day this week at 12.30pm I am doing a FREE lunch and learn over on my Facebook Page all about growing online businesses.

On Thursday I am offering some FREE clinics where I will give you some ideas for easy ways to attract new clients, and to make more money and more of an impact online. Email me at julie@juliecreffield.com to secure your spot.

If you are a female business owner who would like to find out more about how I help entrepreneurs grow their business by building authentic tribes of followers, customers and partners, then click here to read about my new programme Tribe Builder

Before you go...

Time small

Join my FREE 10 day challenge and take your first step to leading a bigger, BETTER life.

(Your details are 100% safe with us, they will never be passed on and we hate spam as much as you do. Maybe more.) Powered by ConvertKit
%d bloggers like this: