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Profitable Wedding Flowers

Confidence in Your Wedding Prices

Many florists will dread the phone call or initial visit from the young bride to be or her mother as they begin their shopping in preparation for an upcoming wedding. When a florist is located in a city or town, and has several competitors, receiving the phone call or visit should be a moment of excitement as your business has been chosen to be one of a select few, if not the only, to be considered for what can potentially be a sizeable sale.

So why the dread?

"It's price. That is all they are after", responds a typical florist in answering the question. "The customer has an idea as to how many floral arrangements they are going to buy, and what the price should be. Or they know how much money they are going to spend, and are disappointed when they find out how many arrangements their money is going to buy. Why can't they ever think about all the extras that I try to give them?"

The question is deserving of an answer, and explanation, and a solution. If a florist understands why this question, and any question that refers to price, is asked, you can then answer the underlying question and resolve the concerns.

As long as there are florists with names like, "Discount Flowers", and florists that hang signs in front of the business that state, "Roses $19.95 dozen", there will be customers that will initially focus on price.

The explanation can perhaps be shown by your personal experiences as a shopper. If you are looking for a bank, you will traditionally focus on the cost of a checking account. If you want to purchase a new car, you will select a make and model and then shop the various dealerships for price. After all, aren't all banks the same? And if I am purchasing a new Ford Explorer, aren't all dealerships the same?

If this is your experience with your shopping, then for the average customer, aren't a dozen red roses the same regardless of where they are purchased? The answer to this question is the same as the two questions that were previously asked, a resounding and emphatic NO!

This experience occurs many times, every day to every person. And it happens because of a lack of education. Simply stated, each of us have many areas in which we are not knowledgeable in regards to making a decision, and therefore we will revert to the one area in which we feel comfortable - price.

To resolve the anxiety attack that you may feel when the prospective bride and her mother first contact you, we will approach this opportunity with a six point plan.

The first step in the plan is to recognize that the customer has a limited number of areas in which they could have price sensitivity. This very short list will probably include long stem red roses, carnations, tulips, calla lilies, and daisies. There are however, another one hundred plus flowers that the average customer has absolutely no idea what the price should be. The point is to tell you that your price for these most popular cut flowers needs to be in line with the competition so that the mother of the bride that shops according to price will have a comfort level with your shop when she phones or visits.

The second step in our plan is to do the things that the competition does not do. In an unscientific survey, we phoned 20 florists and posed them with the scenario that we were beginning to plan a wedding for our daughter. Nineteen of the twenty florists responded with a referral to price within the first sixty seconds of their presentation. The average point in their initial conversation at which they mentioned price was six seconds.

Deciding that every customer has price at the top of their list of concerns is as incorrect as anticipating that every bride wants red roses as the centerpiece of her wedding. If 95% of the potential customers truly have price as their foremost concern, then why not wait until the customer mentions it?

Your short, but complete response can be to assure the customer that you know they will be very pleased with the price. Giving the price of one or two of the items from this price sensitive list should be all that you need to give, and then continue with your presentation. You can control the conversation without dominating the conversation so that the customer is put at ease and develops a feeling that you are concerned about their needs and the success of the wedding day.

Try developing a list of questions that you can print as a guide to this interview. "When will the wedding be? How many attendants? What is the theme? Where will the wedding take place? Who is the individual officiating at the wedding? Who is the photographer? Where will the reception take place?

Any comments that you would make in response to their answers should be confined to positive statements, along with a couple of words in regards to your familiarity and previous workings in that location or with the individual.

These are probing questions that allow the mother and daughter to give you additional insight to their wants and needs. And the more you know about their wants and needs, the more correctly you can identify the products and services to suggest. Comments about your familiarity with the individuals and locations create a feeling of confidence and professionalism in your abilities.

The third step is to compensate for the advertising that the price florist does. A delivery of a simple floral arrangement to the home of the mother and daughter, a card of appreciation for their visit, and a followup phone call demonstrates to them that you are a professional that takes care of details.

The fourth step is to make contact with the facilities and individuals, even if you have worked with them hundreds of times, and let them know that you are researching on behalf of this potential customer. Ask if there is any additional information that they can share with you that would assist you in achieving your goal of servicing this customer.

You will have the strong possibility that these individuals or facilities will contact the mother and bride to be to let them know that you have been doing your homework. Of course, in the initial interview you will want to make sure that the wedding has been announced and that the various individuals and facilities have already been contacted.

The fifth step will be to recontact the customer to tell them of your research and suggestions. A followup letter adds another touch of professionalism. Approach the event as though every potential customer that contacts you is going to contract your floral shop to produce their wedding.

If you are out of bounds with this approach, most people will tell you. And if you are not sure, feel confident to ask for the sale. There is nothing wrong with telling the bride that you are excited about her wedding, and that you would be honored and most appreciative of the opportunity of having her business.

The sixth and final point in this plan is the price. The price is last for two reasons. The first is to restate that for most customers, price is about the sixth most important concern on their list. And the second reason is to reinforce the situation regarding the 95% of florists that we have already mentioned.

The problem that confronts many florists is that of pricing their services - not the flowers themselves, but determining the value of the service. Florists often are confronted with the $8.00 syndrome.

Simply stated, the price per hour for the individuals working in your shop is about $8.00 per hour when you consider the base salary, benefits, insurance costs, and all other expenses that directly relate to personnel. When you consider the time and effort put into the work that you or your wedding planner gives, many florists will think about this $8.00 cost.

Seeing that you are working with people around you that have this cost basis, too often, the owner, manager, or wedding planner considers these people to be their peers in value as well as work. This is just not so.

If everyone working in floral shops had the necessary knowledge and skills, then there would be a lot more floral shops in business. Your value, to your business and the customer, should be a multiple of the cost value of your employees.

You have shown to the customer your exceptional skills that separate you from the other florists, and you should feel confident in pricing your efforts with an equation like this: price plus quality plus service plus information equals value.

With this six step plan, will you perform the wedding planning for every bride to be that walks in your door or calls? Absolutely not. But, when you look at the wedding you did not get because a competitor had roses for $17.99, and performed the wedding for a total of $125, did you really lose an opportunity to have a profitable sale, or just an opportunity to give away your services and knowledge for minimum wages?

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179