For my latest Floral Management magazine mystery call, I went back to the Midwest and posed as a proud uncle whose niece just got a big promotion and would be moving to Hawaii.
The salesperson and I talked about what a big move this was for my niece, and how exciting it would be for her. As always, I played dumb, leaning on the employee to guide me on what to order and even what to spend. I explained that I couldn’t go west to see my niece, so I was opting to send flowers instead. I gave the clerk a blank check.
Thumbs Up: Energy and Personality
I enjoyed this woman’s enthusiasm, energy and ability to pick up on some clues. She was efficient and thorough and laughed with me on the phone. It was refreshing to hear someone connect the dots and offer a design appropriate to my needs instead of the typical, robotic, “Our arrangements start at…” or “We can do something nice and cheery.”
Those things may not seem like a big deal, but as you listen to the recorded call each month (and dip back into the archives), notice how most salespeople keep a super-stern demeanor. I say it in my training sessions all the time: The floral industry takes itself way too seriously. We’re not closing the hole in the ozone or saving baby turtles; we’re selling a fun and enjoyable product. Let down your guard, have more fun at work and get chatty with customers. They like it!
Thumbs Down: Going Low on Price
This clerk made multiple gaffes that had a negative impact on the sale. To start, she insulted me by asking, “Is there a price range?” Yes, there is a price range, but it’s in your head, as the sales expert, and you need to make that suggestion to a customer and then let him or her go lower or even higher! Don’t be afraid to hear a customer say, “I don’t want to spend that much.” The clerk also offered, “Our minimum is $30.” Who cares! I, as the customer, never asked! She took the card message after we talked about flowers.
That approach is clunky and backward. Always take the card before selling your product so you know what to offer based on the occasion, relationship between sender and recipients, and the number of names on the card. Sadly, I was not offered the chance to personalize the flowers with a balloon, candy or other finishing touch. Finally, even when I asked her if I was spending enough she tentatively offered a higher price by stating, “We can go to $90 or $100 if that isn’t going to hurt you.” Can you imagine a waiter offering you a steak and saying, “You can order that prime rib at $45 if that isn’t going to hurt you!”
Read the full column to find out how you can train your staff to avoid these mistakes and listen in on the call at safnow.org/TimsCalling.
Tim Huckabee, FSC, is the president of FloralStrategies.com, which teaches ultimate customer care to retail and wholesale florists.