Good market traders are great retailers, and reading about them is always worthwhile, as an article by Oliver Bennett in the October issue of Management Today shows. Sent by his magazine to find out what life behind a market stall is like, Mr Bennett identifies lots of interesting ideas, three of which I will share while recommending that you look up the article.

The market stall is run by Kent farmer Heidi Fermor and her major promotion is on apples. These are placed upfront with one bag for £1.50, two for £2.50 and three for £3. “She routinely asks the punters if they’d like two…” notes Mr Bennett, who admits by the end of the day he is copying her!

She also teaches him that you have three seconds to get a potential customer’s attention. “I’m always catching people’s eyes,” she tells him.

Finally, Mr Bennett is sent off to the local Sainsbury’s to check prices. It works, he says. Back at the stall a shopper baulks at the carrots, priced £1.50 a bunch. “Cheaper than Sainsbury’s,” he says. She buys.

Re-reading the above, I guess the first example is actually two: one about promoting your offer, the second about how important your good example is to making your team follow you. Plenty to learn from Ms Fermor!