Making the sale

Here are some tips on how to use new plants as sales tools.

January 17, 2012
Supplier News

So, you’ve got all these new plants that you think are great and will really accentuate a job. But how do you get that stingy property manager or home owner to buy them? We asked growers across the country for their advice on how to use a new plant as a sales tool.

Ken Ruch, George Didden Greenhouses – I think we as an industry have to keep looking at ways to keep inspiring people and keep them excited about decorating and improving their living areas with flowers and plants.  One of the ways to do this is to give them choices using plants that will be successful for them.  Many of the newer plants offer some good improvements over the older varieties.   Sometimes I get caught in the rut of just trying to survive in this business.  From time to time, I need to step back and realize that we have to opportunity to bring beauty, smiles and joy in to people’s lives through the use of flowers.
One of the issues we run in to is that some of the breeding is being done with the box stores in mind – some varieties are being bred to stay compact so the plant can fit on the carts they use in the box stores. For the landscape customer, I believe we need plants with vigor that will fill large areas and perform strongly all summer. Work with your grower to identify varieties that work best for you and your conditions.  Set yourself apart from the box store mentality. Don’t always get stuck planting the cheapest thing – look for the best value and best performing varieties that will give your customer the “wow” factor.   

Donal Nichols, sales manager, Mobley Plant Farm – If they have done their research, adding new plants and trendy plants is a way to upsell their services and set them apart from their competition. Change is what drives this industry, and designs should always be fresh and updated. The landscape is no different than the fashion industry; with the new season and year, new designs and plants should be updated.

Steve Abruzzo, sales manager, Martinez Farms – Take photos of a job site that is having success with new or different plants and use these in a presentation format. Or take your customer on walkthroughs to show them new or different plants or concepts. Also, trialing small sections of an existing property is always a good idea. We all know how hard it is to convince people to consider change. The old adage "If it’s not broke, why fix it" is still prevalent in our industry.

But there are so many new and exciting plants out there, that are worth a look. This is also one way of separating their business from the competition. People have to be sold, and that is something lacking in our industry. We need more people to passionately promote better plants. I think the challenge is to continue to educate and keep learning. The proof is in the pudding as they say.