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Valentine’s Day is coming — don’t be a furniture salesperson!

The fall and winter holidays are behind us, and you get about a minute to take a breather before Valentine’s Week and the spring holidays come roaring in. While exhausting, it is exciting to have so many opportunities to sell more flowers! Opportunities are vitally important, but so is the selling part.

I was shopping at a furniture store recently. Absolutely nothing was inspiring me, but I really wanted to buy some furniture, so I sought out a “salesperson” (you’ll see in a moment why I put “salesperson” in quotes).

furniture1 Salesperson: “How can I help you?”    

Me: “I’m not seeing anything I like, but I have some questions. Where can I find the brands that can be customized?”   

Salesperson: “Oh, they’re scattered all around so I can’t really point you to them.”

Me: “Ok, then, which brands offer shallow seating?”   

Salesperson: “I’m not really sure, but you show me what you like and I can look it up online.”

Me: “Can I get this brand in alternate configurations?   

Salesperson: “Here, I can give you this tear sheet and you can read all about it.”

At this point, I gave up and left the store.

How does this scenario parlay into the floral industry you ask? It is actually very analogous in two very simplistic ways.

1. The furniture store was fortunate that I, or any potential customer, entered in the first place. There was nothing inspirational or eye catching in the windows or in the displays to grab a customer’s attention.

In the floral industry, we have the opportunity to wow customers each and every day with the product we sell. Make sure your windows and in-store displays are updated frequently, hit on current trends or are so unique they stop potential customers in their tracks. Get creative. The display doesn’t have to be something you actually sell. It just has to pique the customer’s interest and get them into the store. At that point, you have the opportunity to sell.

More than likely, being in the floral industry, you have plenty of creativity on staff. However, creativity can always use an infusion. That infusion, not to mention plenty of new products, can be found at:

AmericasMart; Atlanta (January 8-15, 2019)

Floramart; Atlanta (through the end January 2019)

Dallas Market (Jan.16–22)

All are must-stops on the travel agenda for those looking for display inspiration.

2. Make sure your staff knows where product is, what options are available and always engage the potential customer. By engaging with the customer, you can get a better understanding of their mission and help guide them to products that will delight them.

In my “furniture salesperson” scenario, she could have asked me what room I was looking to furnish to help understand how much use the piece would get.

She could have asked why shallow seating is important to me to help understand if there are other solutions.

In the floral world, understanding if the customer is looking for a gift, who the gift is for, where it will be used or displayed, how long the event will last, etc. are all good fact-finding questions to help drive solutions to a customer’s mission.

Additionally, floral sales always provide a great opportunity to sell color and color trends. Most consumers are at least peripherally aware of Pantone’s Color of the Year. It’s a great way to start a conversation. “Do you know what the 2019 color of the year is? It is such a happy color! We have some gorgeous [fill in the blank] in that shade.”

The formula is actually quite easy:

1. Attract the customers’ attention with visual merchandising

2. Help fulfill the customers’ mission by gathering information

3. Delight the customer with a solution

4. Get the sale!

Cheers to a successful 2019!


Marla O’Dell is the vice president of aales, CSS Industries, Inc. Berwick Offray, Hampshire Paper and Lion Ribbon.