Dozens of floral professionals from 13 states were in Kansas City, Missouri, on Sunday for a big helping of education and inspiration, courtesy of the Society of American Florists’ 1-Day Profit Blast.
The event included four educational sessions, a Supplier Showcase and an optional hands-on workshop with a wedding and events expert.
“As a business owner who is in the process of trying to rebrand and evolve in an ever-changing and challenging economic retail climate, I was wonderfully surprised at how much I learned and was able to take back to my shop and immediately implement,” said Julia Marie Schmitt, AIFD, EMC, PFCI, of Busy Bee Florist and Gifts in Marceline, Missouri. “I learned something new from every speaker.”
Last weekend’s session included “Extraordinary Service in Your Shop Every Day,” a presentation from Sam Bowles of Floral Strategies LLC that touched on new approaches and best practices in customer service.
One tip from Bowles: Train your staff to pay close attention to card messages.
“Don’t forget to be engaging when helping customers on the phone,” he advised. “A great way to do that is by making a comment, when appropriate, after taking the card message.” (An example from Bowles: “I bet this is going to make her day!” or “I’m so sorry for your loss.”)
Bowles also cautioned florists against assuming customers will add finishing touches such balloons or cards. Instead, he said, “Gently suggest, ‘While I get this arrangement ready to go for you, you’re welcome to take a look at our awesome greeting cards and find one that’s perfect for you.'”
“[In our industry], he added, “our websites sell more finishing touches, balloons, cards, etc., than we do in-store and over the phone because the website never forgets to offer them.”
During “Eventology: The Science of Profitable Events,” Derrick Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI, of Crockett, Myers and Associates Inc., discussed common pitfalls in event pricing — and the opportunities florist miss to improve their margins.
He offered three tips for florists looking to make immediate use of his advice: “Take the time to chart your course and set your goals,” he said. “Review all of your pricing formulas to make sure you are maximizing your profit. And, finally, don’t forget to charge correctly for services.”
In “Digital Strategies that Drive Everyday Business,” sponsored by Floriology, powered by BloomNet, Renato Cruz Sogueco, AAF, PFCI, discussed the practical tactics florists can use every day to build a steady revenue stream 12 months a year.
Some advice from Sogueco: “Start advertising on Google AdWords, like yesterday,” he said. “It’s a must to use AdWords to protect your business name, compete with national and local competitors and build local business in the long run.”
Sogueco also suggested that florists spend time researching the search terms consumers use to find local florists in their market. Two tools he recommends to help with that task: Answer the Public and Google’s Keyword Planner Tools.
A final session, “Wedding Designs, Tricks and Tools You’ll Love” sponsored by Smithers-Oasis, put the spotlight on well-known designer Loann Burke, AAF, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, of Furst Florist and Greenhouses, as she dished on some of the latest and greatest design trends. Later, Burke also led Bouquets & Bouqs, a special hands-on workshop, also sponsored by Smithers-Oasis.
Velvet Branstetter of Knot as it Seems Flowers and Gifts traveled about 160 miles from Moberly, Missouri, for the event and said the investment of time, money and energy was well worth it — especially since her small-town location and packed calendar make it difficult to find such continuing education opportunities.
“I am a busy, busy lady who works six days at our flower shop, has a part time job in the evenings and nights,” she said. “Profit Blast was a great help to me because the location was within driving distance of my shop; and it was on a Sunday when I could actually attend.”
Cory Parolin of Irene’s Floral Design traveled from St. Louis for the event and agreed that the ROI was major. “The information presented was very valuable, and I look forward to implementing several new ideas I learned there,” Parolin said.
Patty Dooley of Sosa Dooleys’s Florist & Gifts in Florissant, Missouri, said she left Profit Blast on Sunday feeling invigorated. “You come away with so many ideas and strategies that you want to get to work on right away,” she said. “It’s Nnice to hear about ways that can increase your profit margin too. This is such a great industry where people really want you to succeed.”
Ready to experience SAF’s world-class education yourself? Join us this September for SAF Amelia Island 2019, the Society of American Florists’ 135th annual convention.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management.