A lesson in communication from a Somerset cider man: from the blogs of Bernadette Costello

Wed, 03/13/2013

Henry Hobhouse uses local stories, knowledge and wit to sell his products direct – actions that social media gurus encourage you to take when communicating online with customers

MEANDERING through a food and drink fair outside London’s Royal Festival Hall at the weekend my brother and I were stopped and asked this question by a jolly English gentleman: “Would you like to try my cider?”

As we happily watched him pour out two samples, we were unaware that old Etonian Henry Hobhouse was working his magic sales charm on us. And while we left with a greater interest in the Somerset cider industry, we were also a little lighter in cash.

My brother and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with honest Henry and both agreed he was the best salesman we’ve ever come across. He sold his fruity wares with charm, wit, a vast knowledge of the Somerset apple industry, local stories and free samples.

Although Hobhouse only relieved us of £11, the cheeky chappy would have got more money had he not had to serve other people waiting for pints of his cider. As it was we stumbled away lightheaded from apple brandy and laughing about the way we were talked into buying three jars of lemon curd and chutney.

Before we met for cocktails and a catch-up on the South Bank my brother and I had not the slightest intention of buying heavy jars to cart around for the evening, but something about Hobhouse’s swift use of words twisted our arms.

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