Floristry professionals have received top tips on how to make their businesses flourish from customer service and sales guru Tim Huckabee, founder and president of FloralStrategies.

Tim presented an insightful on-site training programme, offered through our floristry department, which featured best practice for modern retail florists. He was supported by Derek Woodruff, who leads the design teaching element at FloralStrategies.

Based in New York, Tim is famed throughout the industry for his effective business education and training and works with thousands of retail florists around the world. His Reaseheath presentation, to a packed audience of shop owners, qualified florists and Level 3 Diploma students, showed how superior service and effective communication to customers could drive up sales and profits.

Techniques included how to guide customers through choices of size, container and colour scheme before discussing price, and completing the sale with the offer of a finishing touch such as a balloon, chocolates or a keepsake card.

Tim emphasised: “In the very best, most profitable shops, design drives sales – not the reverse. Simply put, avoid asking every customer what they want because this will result in you having to make a series of bespoke hand-tied designs. Instead, sell what you have on offer or in stock.

“For instance, try suggesting ‘We can send your Mum a gorgeous design from our new spring collection’ … and follow up with a price.”

Sue Poole, Programme Leader for Horticulture and Floristry, invited Tim to speak after being impressed by his presentation at a professional networking event. She said: “Tim uses simple but effective strategies which I know work from personal experience. When we run businesses we can get staid in what we do, so it’s very good to challenge ourselves.

“Tim gave a presentation to students and business partners last year and it was so popular that we were quick to invite him again. The feedback both times has been amazing and we have no doubt that everyone has gone back to their businesses or studies feeling positive and inspired.”

Student Kate Vella said: “I thought Tim and Derek were totally awesome. This was a very interesting and fun event and I loved it.”

FloralStrategies is the floral industry’s only source of sales and customer service education and training. 

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