One of sales expert Tim Huckabee’s biggest pet peeves is hearing florists lowball customers because they’re selling from their own pockets. That inclination is “probably especially strong” right now, as you think of the many people who have lost jobs or experienced pay cuts, “but you must fight it,” said the founder of FloralStrategies during a recent Mother’s Day webinar for the Society of American Florists.
“Yes, the planet is in a financial pickle, but anyone who has called you is ready and willing to spend money. Let them.”
The webinar, a live version of Huckabee’s Floral Management column, “Tim’s Calling,” featured four test calls and Huckabee’s analysis, followed by a deep dive into best practices for a successful Mother’s Day 2020 — global pandemic and all. Here are a few of his tips:
- Push outgoing orders. “You need to salvage any sale you can,” Huckabee said. “Mother’s Day is historically a holiday where a lot of people are sending flowers out of town. Take advantage of that.” When you take a local order, don’t be shy asking if there’s a mother-in-law or grandmother out of town who deserves flowers. “Sure, they can Google shops in whatever city, but by working with you, they have an ‘insurance policy’ that they’ll get it right,” he said. “Emphasize that you know who’s a real florist and can use the right language to get exactly what they want.”
- Sell what you have. With diminished product availability and a lighter workforce, most florists don’t have the luxury of offering custom orders this holiday. Furthermore, sticking to a few recipes maximizes efficiency and minimizes shrink. Huckabee recommends preemptively leading the conversation with customers by saying, “For Mother’s Day, we’re featuring a beautiful arrangement of garden flowers in delicate spring hues.” It’s an appealing description that doesn’t commit you to any specific flowers, enabling you to pick what’s in your cooler. This tactic is especially helpful for the aforementioned outgoing orders. “It will drastically cut down on rejected orders,” he said.
- Collect contact information. On the heels of Mother’s Day comes the summer stretch — a notoriously slow sales period. “That’s a time when you’re definitely going to want to reach out to customers,” Huckabee said. “Get ready for it by getting email addresses for your database.”
- Be conversational. “Chill out and don’t take yourself so seriously,” Huckabee said. “Enjoy talking with customers.” If you treat an order as a conversation and not a challenge, the process will be more efficient and pleasant — leaving a positive impression in customers’ minds even before their loved one receives flowers. “With a little practice, once you start doing it well, you’ll notice that most customers say ‘thank you’ at the end of the call.”
Watch the full webinar here.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing writer and editor for the Society of American Florists.