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   In Louisville, Florists Talk Millennials, Events, Facebook
by The Society of American Florists
Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 3:31PM EST

ALEXANDRIA, VA  — Connecting with millennials and down-sizing boomers. Running events more profitably. Increasing average orders. Finally (finally!) getting a handle on social media organic posts and advertising.

These were the topics that drew nearly 70 floral industry members to Louisville, Kentucky, in early November for the Society of American Florists' latest 1-Day Profit Blast. Sponsored by the Bill Doran Company, with lunch courtesy of Hortica, the Louisville event featured targeted business advice from experts, lively question-and-answer sessions, and a Supplier Showcase filled with distinctive varieties and innovative products.

"When an educational event is within even 100 miles of you, you mark your calendar and attend," said Carolyn Minutillo, AIFD, EMC, of Lavender Hill, who traveled from Jeffersonville, Indiana, to attend the conference. "You'll learn something, meet new flower friends and share ideas and leave ready to take back new tools to improve yourself and your shop."

Natalie Combs of Green Thumb Landscaping & Garden Center in St. Anthony and Jasper, Indiana, agreed. "I gained knowledge about how to better market ourselves through Facebook," she said. "I also appreciate knowing how we fall short in selling and our phone presentation as florists."

Among the program highlights:

  • Small space? No problem. Helen Miller, AIFD, CAFA, CF, of Flowers & Such in Adrian, Michigan, offered inspiration galore for florists hoping to appeal to younger buyers and customers with smaller spaces. Acknowledging the popularity of terrariums (and terrarium bars), Miller made the case that florists don't need lots of showroom space to tap into the trend. Instead, try a pop-up area. That's what Miller did for about three months this spring and summer.
  • "This is the first year we did it and it worked well," said Miller, who encouraged attendees to display a range of accessories, mediums and containers, in addition to unusual plants. (Syndicate Sales sponsored Miller's session.) One misconception about terrarium bars and pop-ups: Don't expect the areas to be DIY. "Customers need help from your staff and you'll need good signage with clear pricing," said Miller.
  • The key to profitability? Goals. Floral Management contributing writer Derrick Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI, of Crockett, Myers & Associates Inc. dished on pricing strategies for profitable events, but he also gave some New Year's resolution-worthy inspiration with a global tip for florists who want to improve their profitability in 2018: "Write down your top goals every day for 30 days," he suggested, noting that research has proven that the simple act of writing down a goal makes it more attainable. "The activity of writing down a goal opens up a filter in your brain — it makes you aware of possibilities. It's like when you buy a new car and then suddenly you start noticing that same car everywhere."
  • Offer advice, not questions. Customer service pro Tim Huckabee of Floral Strategies LLC said he has to beg florists to STOP ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS. In a lively session that included a call to a real shop, Huckabee argued that consumers are coming to retail florists for expert advice, and instead are getting inundated with questions that confuse them ("Would you like a leaf wrap?"). Even worse, he said, some shops insist on 1997 (or 1987) prices in a 2017 world.
  • "Your customers are down the street buying a $6 latte from Starbucks and when they come in your door, your staff is saying, 'How much do you want to spend?' or 'Our minimum starts at $35,'" Huckabee said. "When you go into a furniture store, does the salesperson ask you how much you want to spend? Does he direct you to their cheapest sofa first?" That question — "How much do you want to spend?" — is "crippling the industry," Huckabee said. "We have to stop asking it."
  • Get with Facebook Live. The days of all of your followers seeing your posts on Facebook are long gone, but that doesn't mean free reach is extinct, said Floral Management contributor Crystal Vilkaitis of the Social Edge. "The best way to get free reach is by doing Facebook Live videos," said Vilkaitis, who also encourages florists to utilize paid advertising opportunities on social platforms. "This is the best tool in today's social media space to get free, organic reach. Customers can ask questions, they can comment. You can ask people to react. If that post becomes more popular than your usual post within 30 minutes of publishing, Facebook will bump it. A consistent live video can help your reach go up."

SAF's 1-Day Profit Blast Series will gear back up in 2018. Hungry for more education now? Check out SAF's webinar series at safnow.org/webinars.

See more photos from Profit Blast on SAF's Facebook page atFacebook.com/SocietyofAmericanFlorists.


About SAF 

The Society of American Florists is the leading organization representing all segments of the floral industry. SAF is proud to provide marketing, business and government services to its members, including growers, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, importers, educators, designers and allied organizations. The association was chartered by an act of Congress in 1884. To learn more about SAF or to join, visitsafnow.org.

Source: The Society of American Florists

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