How to eliminate barriers to sales

Posted In: ,

farmersmarketplymouthCanvas bags in hand, you grab your wallet and shut up the car.

You walk into the farmer’s market, excited to check out all the local and organic produce.

And then it hits you. . .

You have no cash with you.

Sighing, you get ready to go back to your car when you see it:




Phew!  One of the farmers accepts credit cards, and then you slowly look around and see many more of the same logos.  Granted, there are little signs sharing that they add a 3% charge for credit card purchases, but hey. . .it’s still less than the cost of gas to go get cash.

Deciding to “do it right”, you pop over to the info booth to learn about the Market overall and discover that they sell “wooden nickels”.  Each wooden nickel is worth $5 and you can purchase as many as you want on your credit card for no extra fee.

All the vendors accept the wooden nickels and will cash you out for anything under the $5.

Happy?  Absolutely!  No need for actual cash and surcharge avoided.

This was my reality last week at the Farmer’s Market located at Plimoth Plantation.

Now back to your reality. . .

  • As a business owner, what can you take away from the above?
    • The Market vendors who take credit cards openly display it to eliminate a barrier while letting customers see something familiar (the logos).  While most of them use “Square” to process the cards, it was the traditional credit card logos they displayed.
  • What barriers to sale exist in your business and what can you do about them?
    • The Farmer’s Market recognized that many people don’t carry actual cash and so came up with a workaround which benefited both customers and vendors alike.

While at the above Farmer’s Market, I received a flyer for a natural foods/farm fresh store.  They were celebrating their first anniversary and inviting people in for a snack, juice, complimentary signed recipe book by the store’s owner and, of course, to shop.

Loved it!  Called my sister and invited her.  It took us over an hour to get there (if you’ve never experienced Friday afternoon traffic trying to get on Cape Cod, consider yourself blessed) and when we did, the experience was horrible:

  • “Farm Fresh” equated to 10 ears of corn at $1 each, 3 purple peppers and a few bunches of mint
  • Someone forgot to get all the ingredients for the juice so there were glasses, a juicer and a few thirsty people.  The only other thing to drink was soda that the store sold (didn’t match the theme which brought us there)
  • The owner spent her time talking with a friend and her mother and neither she, nor any of her team, greeted anyone which came into the store (which was very small so new visitors were definitely noticed)
  • The recipe books were high on a shelf with other books for sale and nothing was offered
  • When I attempted to purchase some of the purple peppers (I really wanted to buy something both to support a great concept and to avoid going home empty-handed after what it took to arrive), they couldn’t change a $20.

I could go on, but you get the point.  This store owner did a wonderful job of marketing her store the day before (she even held food demos using local produce) and a horrible job with the follow-up/implementation.

She got us to her store and then, with every action/inaction, pushed us away.  Our final words while leaving were “we’ll never come here again”.

When it comes to eliminating barriers and obstacles in your business, walk through your entire process — from marketing to sales to service and ask yourself “What’s missing?” and “How can we improve?”.

Not sure?  Ask a colleague/friend to go through the process for you, and to be critical, or consider hiring someone.  It’ll be worth your investment.