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  • You've Got Males
    By Bruce Wright, Editor

    On Valentine's Day the typical flower shop customer is a whole different animal.

    In February, flower-shop customers do a funny thing — they change their sex. Most of the year, the majority of your customers are women. But come Valentine's Day, they suddenly lose all foresight and imagination when it comes to buying flowers. They ask dumb questions and develop a taste for loud colors. In other words, they turn into men.

    To be fair, most florists say men are easier to sell to than women. They may be genetically incapable of planning ahead, but when February 14 rolls around, they either know exactly what they want (red roses), or they're willing to take direction — abjectly grateful, in fact, for your advice.

    Lately, florists report, male customers are becoming both more knowledgeable and more suggestible. In other words, they know that there are other flowers besides roses and other colors besides red, and they're ready to consider alternatives. More than ever, they're nice customers to have. The question is how can we get them back in the store more often?

    What Men Want

    The obvious answer is to take good care of them while they're there. You may need to adjust your priorities, however, to get them in line with what a male customer is likely to value most.

    Ultimately, his satisfaction depends on what kind of impression the bouquet makes on his beloved. Ask questions — and listen carefully to the answers — to find out what kind of person will be receiving the flowers. Then make appropriate suggestions, using evocative words to describe your product offerings ("fragrant," "velvety," "romantic") that let your customer know he's not just buying flowers — he's buying perfume, poetry, a symbol of passion.

    Presentation is important, too. Valentine flowers, after all, are a gift. Their value is felt most in the magic of the moment when they emerge from their winter wraps. Build anticipation with dramatic packaging — and point out its benefits to your customer.

    Love is Easy

    Most important, show him how easy it is to buy and send flowers — something men may appreciate even more than women. Capture his credit card and other relevant information in your records to make the next purchase practically effortless. Offer to send a reminder next year — but don't wait a year to remind him that flowers are the perfect way to say "I love you" any time, all year-round.

    Women often complain that men have a hard time expressing their feelings. But that doesn't mean men don't have feelings and the need to express them. Convince your customer that you can help him translate his feelings into flowers — at the drop of a hat, whenever the occasion calls for it — and he'll be back well before next Valentine's Day.


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