We all know that sustainably produced food is more expensive than supermarket food, so how do we explain that when challenged?

This week I want to discuss a challenge that many small farmers face.  It’s one that they seem to all dread and it puts them on the defensive.

It’s the whole issue of defending why their products cost so much. Or, at least seems to cost so much.

Now, this is a real issue for many of us, so it’s not one we should run from. We need to be prepared to face this head on, and the better you get at this, the more it will become a non-issue.

Why is that?

Because, as your skill improves at conveying value, that skill will permeate all aspects of your marketing.

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Your blog posts, your social media updates, what you say on your website and in your email marketing.

You’ll become proficient at conveying value and focusing on benefits, rather than being defensive.

Before we dive in, I want you to understand something.

The Dollar Store shopper isn’t your farm’s customer. Or at least not for most of you. You’re not running blue light specials.

I want you to understand that price objection is a good sign because it’s usually a buying signal.

The prospective customer wants to buy but needs to rationalize this objection.

And it’s your job to help them do just that.

And in this episode, I explain how to do that.

  1. Validate with empathy.
  2. Normalize the objection.
  3. Paint a farm picture.
  4. Sell value.

So here’s how it works with my director’s commentary, so to speak:

The customer says, why is the chicken so expensive?

“You’re right. If you’re comparing the price of our chicken to a chicken in a supermarket it seems ours costs more.” (I validated with empathy. But notice I used the word “seems.” It seems ours costs more. That’s to implant a subliminal message that perhaps the cost isn’t more. Now I want to normalize the objection, so I continue.)

“And you know, I had two customers on a recent farm tour who were concerned about the price at first, just as you are now.” (now to paint a farm picture)

So I walked them to the brood house and let them see the baby chicks. While we were there, they watched me fill their feeders, by hand, and check their water.

We then walked out to the pasture and saw the chickens scratching for bugs in their chicken tractors.

I explained how my wife and I built those tractors ourselves, and showed how we pulled them forward every day. I let one of the customers try and pull the tractor forward but she wasn’t quite ready for the workout.

But it gave her a real sense of two things.

The physical effort we put into raising these birds by hand, and the utter enjoyment these birds feel by soaking up sun, scratching earth and chasing insects. (this is me painting a vivid picture. Now I need to sell value).

Like you, I couldn’t understand why good food cost more when I first started out. But it all makes sense for me now.  I mean, a handcrafted knife is more valued and more costly to produce than a mass-produced one, right? Therefore, it costs more. Likewise, our chickens are hand fed, hand watered and hand processed on farm by our family.

It’s a handcrafted, ethical product from start to finish. So of course it costs more than a supermarket chicken, but it’s not remotely the same product.  And I strongly feel that a chicken deserves a chance to be a chicken.

Don’t you?

And this is where you stay silent.

Which, let’s face it…can be really hard.

But do it. Stay silent and let the customer respond when you say, “don’t you?”

So, here’s the whole conversation again, without any commentary on my part.

The customer says, why is the chicken so expensive?

“You’re right. If you’re comparing the price of our chicken to a chicken in a supermarket it seems ours cost more.”

“And you know, I had two customers on a recent farm tour who were concerned about the price at first, just as you are now.”

So I walked them to the brood house and let them see the baby chicks. While we were there, they watched me fill their feeders, by hand, and check their water.

We then walked out to the pasture and saw the chickens scratching for bugs in their chicken tractors.

I explained how my wife and I built those tractors ourselves, and showed how we pulled them forward every day. I let one of the customers try and pull the tractor forward but she wasn’t quite ready for the workout.

But it gave her a real sense of two things.

The physical effort we put into raising these birds by hand, and the utter enjoyment these birds feel by soaking up sun, scratching earth and chasing insects.

Like you, I couldn’t understand why good food cost more when I first started out. But it all makes sense for me now.  I mean, a handcrafted knife is more valued and more costly to produce than a mass-produced one, right? Therefore, it costs more. Likewise, our chickens are hand fed, hand watered and hand processed on farm by our family.

It’s a handcrafted, ethical product from start to finish. So of course it costs more than a supermarket chicken, but it’s not remotely the same product.  And I strongly feel that a chicken deserves a chance to be a chicken.

Don’t you?

Don’t forget to join us in the Small Farm Nation Academy.

Thanks for Listening!

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Thanks for listening. Until next time!