Many small meat processors have a retail area where they sell products to the public. It is also common for small meat processors to wholesale their products to local retailers who then sell their products to the public. Both scenarios provide the opportunity for small meat processors to provide samples of their products to potential customers. Sampling provides an excellent way to spark a customer’s interest in your products and ultimately generate a sale. Your goal should be to not only generate an initial sale but also to generate repeat sales.

Remember the No. 1 way to generate repeat sales is to have a consistent product. If a customer buys your product and they like it, the next time they purchase it they want it to be the same. Consistent products help to build product loyalty and brand loyalty.

There are several things you can do to help assure success of your sampling sessions. The following points are intended to relate to a processor sampling in their own retail store, however, several of the points also relate appropriately to sampling in someone else’s retail store.

  1. Select an appropriate sampling area. I like sampling in your store’s retail area. It gives customers the opportunity to sample and look at other products at the same time. If you do not have room to sample in your retail area, you can set up in an area outside for sampling. I know of one company that has a very successful sampling program in a booth on the sidewalk beside their front door.
  2. Advertise your sampling sessions. You can do this in ads, posters put up in your retail area, emails sent to your customers, etc.
  3. During the summer months sample only once or twice a month. You want your sampling sessions to be something special. If you sample all the time it becomes routine and can lose its ability to draw in customers.
  4. When sampling use 2 or 3 products. Sampling is more successful in generating sales if you give customers a choice. It also helps to stimulate conversation about the products.
  5. Offer special pricing on the product you sample. Perhaps you could off a “special deal” if the customer purchases more than one item.
  6. Select a person with an outgoing personality to do your sampling session. This should be someone that enjoys visiting with your customers and talking about your products. Note: this can be a major factor in the success of your sampling program.
  7. Make sure the sampling area is clean, pleasant and has a good aroma. The pleasant aroma can be generated by cooking the item you are sampling or by using an air spray. You do not want the sampling area to have an unpleasant appearance or aroma.
  8. Sampling for holidays always helps contribute to success. For example, this year sampling on June 30 and July 1 would be a great time to sample items for 4th of July cookouts. Be sure to let people know ahead of time that you will be sampling product and what you will be sampling. That way they walk in the door with the intention of purchasing something for their 4th of July activity.

This summer why not try some sampling sessions. Put some thought into WHAT, WHERE and WHEN to sample. You may be pleasantly pleased with the success you achieve.