Mushroom Marketing

A lesson in selling edible funghi.
Photo by Nastassia Ustyan on Unsplash
It was market day in the town on Saturday. Lots of great local businesses and produce on display to buy. I had been recommended the baklava from a particular stall by a friend who’s endorsements I trust. With serveral Turkish delights in hand I browsed the next few stalls when some huge and amazing looking fungus caught my eye.

I like a good mushroom and these looked better than good. Having stared at the produce for a few moments my first thought was that I already have a box in the fridge at home, I don’t need to buy these mushrooms. The two friendly 20 somethings that ran the stall started telling me about their newish business, how they grow most of them themselves, what their great plans are for the future, and what the different varieties are called.

The debate in my head was still going. They really are reasonably priced mushrooms but I have some at home. I don’t need more. I moved on. Done.

I was heading past the next few stalls when I heard a tantalising question.

‘Red or white sir?’

'Excuse me?'

‘Do you prefer red or white wine?’

Well of course red is the only answer to that question but I entertained the man with an answer. ‘OK, well let me tell you about these locally produced red wines I have and how they compare to a French or Spanish wine that you might be more familiar with’.

Boom! He had me. And I didn't even think that I might already have some decent wine at home.

I walked away with a bottle of not inexpensive red, and zero of the reasonably priced mushrooms.

As I walked away I felt a bit bad for the mushroom dudes. I told myself I would go back later and buy a punnet or two. But I didn't, and I kept wondering why I had not made a purchase.

They had a good product but the story was about them. Had they told me how they tasted, how they could be cooked or used, that I could fry them or grill them or put them on toast with a pinch of salt and pepper, and even that they would last longer if they were in the coldest part of the fridage and that you can actually freeze them (maybe), I would have been a happy customer.

Wine Guy drew me into the story and made me, his customer, the centre of it. Mushroom Dudes didn’t.

The wine was ok, but I bet the mushrooms were better. We both lost.

Always make the story about your customer, not your business.

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