So, imagine: instead of coming to work to your property management office tomorrow and dealing with tenants and owners in an effort of finding an ever elusive equilibrium, you check in to your Fruit Stand; somewhere on the shoulder of Highway 120 between Oakdale and Escalon. Lets call it Art’s Farm.
Yes, you are a farmer with a significant portion of your income coming from this fruit stand. Your goal is simple: to maximize profit and cover your fixed costs, you need to move as much fruit and veggies as possible. So what affects your sales?
-Highway Traffic – light or heavy
-Weather – sunny is best, rain is worst
-Seed Limit – yes, think about it
Most of these elements seem beyond your control, don’t they?
Unfortunately, most of the fruit stands run by farmers are small with a small sign right on top of the stand and unless you know to look for it, going 60 mph on a two lane highway, you’ll miss it. Another issue, there is hardly any regularity on how many stands there are at any given stretch of the highway; you can drive for 20 minutes and not see one, then, spot three or four in a row within a few miles.
Well, one creative farmer got me to stop and spend $23 today, despite light, fast-moving traffic, heavy clouds and a sleeping baby in the back seat. As I was driving on the aforementioned stretch of HWY 120, I noticed a fairly large, colorful, rectangular sign that read “Almonds” with a drawing of an almond. Then, after a minute or so another sign, “Cherries,” with the drawing of cherries. Then “Oranges” and “Asparagus” flew by in a similar fashion. What sold me was the last sign: “Everything sold here is Grown here, pull in here” – and there was an arrow.
So as the proprietor of Art’s Farm Fruit Stand, would you employ this strategy if you knew it’ll work? Triple your sales perhaps? Sure you would. It takes relatively little money and effort to hand draw on some plastic signs and stick them on the side of the road.
The point here is that there is an opportunity to engage with your potential clients at a relatively low cost with some effort. I am talking about Social Media essentially providing your business with a megaphone, or road signs, if you will. Most people, these days, are running about with barely any time to stop – very similar to Highway 120, in a way.
Perhaps, your Tweets discussing ways to find quality tenants are the “Almonds” to get you noticed. Your YouTube educational video teaching proper ways to perform a semiannual inspection may be the “Oranges” coming in handy at the right moment. Your Facebook page, having built meaningful relationships with your tenants and owners, got you introduced to the investor who is about to close on a 20 unit apartment building…
Sure, your business is 100% referral. We hear this all the time and, I suppose, if someone already knows exactly where the fruit stand is, it is easier to pull in. What about others? Or better yet, what if someone else in your neighborhood starts putting up signs?