I went to the Hobart Farmers’ Markets this afternoon and found a necessary and timely lesson – as you do (you do find wonderful lessons in random activities don’t you?).
My gorgeous friend Donna had shown me on a Google map where the markets should be, and as I have done a little bit of driving around the city I knew I could sniff the location out easily – so I found a park and walked to the markets.
I was really excited to be there I just LOVE food markets – the smell, the sounds, the delicious opportunity for finding new creativity.
I was on a mission…and then I looked in my wallet and realised I had $32.35 in cash. DOH!
Okay – working on a budget is a good thing – and gave me a bit of a challenge.
So I found gorgeous gluten free, dairy free and processed sugar free treats – YUM.
Then I got some great veggies; BARGAIN for $20.20…high quality, really fresh, super affordable!
$1.15 left in my pocket.
I need potatoes.
I want a potato. My planned soup won’t work without a potato.
So I go to the stall that has amazing potatoes and look up at the guy with my $1.15 in my hand (think Oliver Twist, please sir can I have some more?) and said, I have $1.15 and I need a potato – is it enough?
Now = here is my lovely lesson…it’s GOLD so listen up!
The guy looked at me, grabbed a brown paper bag and then the conversation went like this:
“What kind of potato do you want?”
me: “the new season Dutch Creams please, they look delicious”
he then grabs the BIGGEST potato you have ever seen in your life (meanwhile I have been looking at the smallest potato in the tub thinking, that one would be ample!) and stuffs it into the bag.
“You will want some easy peelers, won’t you”
I thought – WOW, that’s a really big potato..that’s way more than my $1.15, what a nice guy!
But he doesn’t stop there…he grabbed 3 more potato’s …I had to STOP him – or otherwise he would have kept filling up that brown paper bag…
I said “oh my goodness, please, stop, that’s plenty…” awkward laugh..embarrassed.
he said “okay, cool, but you might as well have a couple of parsnips as well”… as he shoved 2 gorgeous long parsnips into the brown bag, now heaving with fresh, new season – and largely FREE produce.
I handed him my money, thanked him (think Japanese lady bowing profusely as she exists stage left walking backwards) and headed off to my car feeling slightly awkward, a little uneasy and grateful too.
Unconditionally. Generosity. Giving without the expectation of receiving . An abundance mindset.
These are all qualities that we could use more of. When I say WE – I mean I!
I felt awkward leaving because I spend SO MUCH TIME living in the world of commerce, where there is an agreed exchange of value (money for something) – where getting something for nothing is rare. I think it was shock. If I am honest, my first thoughts were – does this guy think I am broke…does he think I am desperate for food (I already had an abundant bag of veggies swinging on my arm and wasn’t wearing my daggy clothes)…my first thought was definitely not – wow how awesome, this guy is just being generous, because he can. This guy just wants to make someone feel good. I definitely thought afterwards; whilst still grappling with the fact that I had this HUGE bag of potatoes for just over $1..perhaps he was just over the day, it was the end of the markets – and he didn’t want to take them home!!!
I even tried to justify WHY he would bother giving me – a complete stranger, such a lovely gift!
I find that a little sad – and it is something I am going to work on.
And THEN I thought about it from a business perspective…
Now, if I lived in Hobart (which, to be honest, sometimes I wish I did, it’s just such a delicious city)!, I would go back to that farmers markets JUST TO BUY more potatoes from that guy….his generosity today was inspiring – and my gratitude was such that I would return and return and return. I could one day become one of his regulars…I’ll tell all my friends the story and they too will buy from him…who wouldn’t want to buy from a guy that is so lovely!
The magic – what can we all do in business that is a genuine act of kindness and is genuinely unconditional – that actually becomes a really smart marketing strategy.
The KEY here is the word GENUINE.
Customers are savvy – they smell fake rats a mile off.
If your ‘generous’ gift or act of kindness is not truly from the heart – and unconditional, it will just come off as, well, off. And you will achieve the opposite of your desired effect.
But if you can add a little GENUINE unconditionality into your business model – you will find abundance in all manner of places!
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this guys intention; but its a damn good strategy.
So. Whilst I enjoy his potatoes – and my clients do too (they are sensational!), we will also be enjoying the marketing lesson – and be thinking of ways we can help our customers find the same kind of unexpected surprise and delight from us!
Ps – if you are ever at the Hobart Farmers Markets – the one up from the mall, you should buy your potatoes from the big double stand just at the beginning of the markets near the ramp into the carpark! He’s as delicious as his creamy potatoes!