There is a very wise saying that goes “If you want to be successful, make your boss look good.” The phrase translates very well into “If you want to be successful, make your customer look good.” Many independent processors have retail markets and/or prepare gift boxes for holiday sales. What great opportunities these present processors to help make their customers look good. If you make your customers “look good” they will reward you with repeat business. Equally important, they will tell others about their satisfaction with your products and services. For independent processors operating in a particular geographic area having a good reputation is a tremendous asset.

If you operate a retail area, perhaps you can provide your customers with some recipes and ideas for preparing that special holiday meal. Maybe you can stock some specialty condiments or side dishes. I guarantee you when someone gets Ooohs and Aaahs for the holiday meal they prepare they remember who helped them look good. Many processors produce specialty sausage or processed meat products that are available only at certain times of the year; products that become a tradition and keep folks coming back year after year. Product demonstrations and sampling helps customers better understand products and how they can utilize them in their menu planning. Don’t forget about ambiance. Decorate your retail area for the holiday. On busy days consider having complimentary cookies and spiced cider. Play some background music. Create a welcoming atmosphere.

Many processors are very successful selling gift boxes to both retail customers and business accounts. It is absolutely critical to remember that when you sell a gift box you are selling two things; 1) the product and 2) the presentation. Often the quality of the presentation is as important and sometimes more important than the price. In a gift box the presentation is extremely important. Your packaging should enhance the appearance of the gift box. Pick seasonal colors or colors that complement the product. Everything about the gift box should be impressive; the label, packaging and product are all important. When someone opens a gift box you want the “wow” effect; you want the person to say “Gosh this looks good!” Why not consider putting a little lagniappe (lan yap) in each gift box. Lagniappe is a French Creole word that means – a small gift given with a purchase, something extra. Maybe you could put a few mints or small candies in each gift box to make it look extra special. If you want to go the extra mile you can get mints and candies that are packaged in wrappers with your company name or logo on them. If there are items in the gift box that require special storage or handling, make sure there is a card in the gift noting these recommended procedures. Perhaps include a special recipe for using the product(s) in the gift box. If an individual or a company buys several gift boxes, you may want to surprise the purchaser with a small gift box for them. When someone receives a gift box you prepared for one of your customers, you want them to think, “what a nice gift.” Your customer will remember when you make them “look good” and reward you with high praise and more business in the future.

Remember: When one bases his life on principle, 98 percent of his decisions are already made.