Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Am I a statesman?

Funny question, huh? Me? Li'l ol' me - a statesman!?

Yet - according to a thought-provoking blog post by Seth Godin, no less - I have to ask myself this question every day:

As a small business owner - am I a statesman, a lawyer, a marketer?

I manufacture and sell "Agasweet" flavored agave nectar. Aside from a thriving wholesale business, I operate my own retail outlets at a couple of local farmers markets. Twice a week, I get invaluable insights about my customers' needs and desires.

Am I pushing for a sale no matter what the customer really wants? Am I a lawyer/marketer advocating my viewpoint only?

My flavored sweetener is more expensive than the unflavored version of agave nectar. It is wonderful when enjoyed in its purest form as a healthy sweetener for your beverages, cereals, yogurts, fruits, etc. - as a glaze for meats, or as a dessert sauce for cakes and creams.

When a customer wants to buy larger quantities of agave nectar, using it mainly for baking and cooking, I recommend buying the unflavored version (which I don't offer) at the local Whole Foods Market or other gourmet groceries. Yes - my product would work, too. But the subtle flavorings might disappear under prolonged exposure to heat. It wouldn't be fair to persuade the customer to pay more for the added value of high-quality flavorings - if it's irrelevant to his or her current needs.

What usually happens is - the customer trusts me and considers more open-mindedly what I have to say about the many delicious applications of my flavored nectar. The customer's mind joins me on my creative journey exploring the many incredible benefits and uses of my Agasweet product. After all, we're friends now - my honesty has been established.

90 percent of the time, my customer buys a bottle (or more) of my flavored agave nectar, happy to have learned something new, and eager to try all the yummy suggestions we have discussed.

Even if I lose a sale, I gain something of a much higher value - my customer's respect for me as an honest partner in culinary adventures. That's priceless, don't you think?

Wouldn't it be nice if our politicians had a similar attitude?

1 comment:

Deb Schiff said...

Hey Chef,
Great post!
I keep a blog on baking with agave nectar instead of cane products and other sweeteners. I'd love to review your agave nectars for it.
Please visit my blog at Altered Plates and let me know what you think!