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  • Everyday Marketing

    The Retail Florist

    Making Sales from Chance Encounters

    You can effectively "advertise" your shop's products and services without ever plunking down a penny for a newspaper ad or radio spot. Simply use everyday encounters — with customers, acquaintances, and strangers on the street — to market your services and increase your business.

    With just a little effort and a few well-planned words, you may find the best advertising that money can't buy.

    Sell Your Strengths

    Ask yourself the following two important questions:

    • What are we good at?
    • Would you know it from looking at us?

    The questions may sound simplistic, but they really aren't. If customers don't know about your specialties, they won't buy them.

    Devote a section of floor or wall space to your area of specialization. It's a cheap and cheerful way to get the point across.

    Suppose, for example, that wedding work is your true love and potentially a big moneymaker for the shop. Under the circumstances, are a few silk bouquets or a ho-hum display really enough to promote that part of your business?

    Not really. If you specialize in weddings, your shop should show it. Deck the walls with enlarged photographs of your wedding work. Borrow a bridal gown and surround it with sumptuous wedding designs. Put in a decorated chuppah, archway or altar rail. Hang signs that read, "We do weddings… beautifully."

    The same basic approach will work for any type of specialty, from corporate gift baskets to unusual birthday arrangements. By designating an area in the shop to showcase your special skills, customers will know your strengths from the moment they walk in the door.

    Work It, Baby

    Remind yourself and your staff to work every customer call or visit to increase its marketing potential.

    Tell every customer about your specials, for example. Don't let any sales opportunity pass you by. Someone purchasing a Father's Day gift might also need a bouquet for Mom or a birthday arrangement for a favorite aunt.

    The secret to everyday marketing is to take advantage of each and every sales opportunity. To do so, avoid prejudging customers' buying potential. Tell them what you have available. Then let them decide whether or not they want it. If you assume you know what people will buy, you could be missing out on some sales.

    In addition to telling customers about your specialty, give in-shop browsers something to remember you by. Hand them your brochure, business card, magnet or other marketing piece. Let them know you'd love to serve their future floral needs.

    Some customers will accept. Some won't. But you'll never get their business unless you ask for it.

    Arm Yourself

    Whenever you leave the shop, be sure to bring your business cards along for the ride. Seize every reasonable opportunity to introduce yourself and hand them out.

    Almost every person you encounter — from the bank teller to the gas station attendant — is a potential floral customer. A friendly smile and a pleasant introduction may be all it takes to capture a future floral purchase.

    If the meet-and-greet approach is too "in your face" for your tastes, you can get the same effect without ever leaving your desk.

    Enclose a business card with every letter you mail, including bill payments, personal letters, magazine subscription orders and more.

    Will some of your cards end up in the circular file? Sure. But that's a pretty inexpensive risk to take. If even a few cards are saved and used, your efforts will have paid off.

    Add It On

    You may have noticed something in your local grocery store. When you go in to buy corn chips, you'll likely find salsa and bean dip in the same aisle. And that aisle is located — not coincidentally — just steps away from the soft drink section.

    The store's goal is to turn a $5 shopping trip into a $10 one… and a $10 trip into $20 or more. The store's management does this by selling you things you didn't even know you needed.

    The same strategy — with a few modifications — can work in you flower shop. People who buy cash-and-carry roses are likely to need a vase. So, place a variety of attractive vases close to your cash wrap. And customers purchasing an anniversary gift will likely need a special card. Put one next to the other and you're more likely to sell both.

    Cultivate Your Best Customers

    Attracting new customers can be expensive. Marketing to existing ones is inexpensive… and easy.

    Use your telephone as an everyday marketing tool. Turn once-a-year Christmas shoppers into thrice-yearly purchasers for the "cost" of a quick telephone call before two other floral holidays.

    Create feelings of goodwill by writing quick post-purchase thank-you notes to your best customers. Set a goal of writing five thank-you notes at the end of each day. By the end of the week, you'll have personally touched 25 of your best customers.

    Ask your salespeople to join in, and the number of notes sent will increase exponentially. Your chances of repeat sales — and increased loyalty — will likely increase, too.

    Finally, take time to check in with customers. Call the day after a big decorating job to make sure the work was done well. Call senders and recipients at random to see if your work met their expectations.

    A few short minutes of your time will provide a chance to patch up any little problems before they become bigger ones.

    Best of all, you'll let your customers know you care. Chances are good they'll repay you with gratitude, loyalty and plenty of future business.



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