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Power Your Flowers: Building Thriving Customer Relationships
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Power Your Flowers: Building Thriving Customer Relationships

Build Your Business With A Customer-First Mentality

I’m back this week to help you thrive in your business this season. We’ve talked crop planning, we’ve talked record keeping, and now we’re going to change it up a bit and focus on something a bit less technical but equally important. It’s about you, your customers, and how you can grow a strong, sustainable, and resilient business by cultivating a customer-first mentality.  

Here are the top 5 things to keep in mind in a customer-focused flower farm business.

1. You can’t specialize in every type of customer. Farms that specialize, prosper.

I was hoping to make that sentence rhyme but I just couldn’t figure it out (help me out in the comments if it comes to you!). Sure you can try to sell to florists, farm stand shoppers, wholesalers, fancy wedding couples, grocers, farmer’s market passers-by, and CSA subscribers. I’ve done it. But I would bet that I wasn’t making anyone very happy. Different customer types demand different levels of hand-holding, different language, different boundaries, and different strategies. When you’re spread too thin, there’s no way for you to fine-tune your approach with each (the same advice goes for the crops you choose to grow, incidentally). The more you can hone in on just a few customer types, the greater impact you’ll have with each and every one.

2. It’s easier and more efficient to sell more to your current customers than to acquire new ones.

This is sage sales & marketing advice, passed down through the ages. Acquiring each customer that first time is the bigger and more costly battle. When our businesses are new and small, and we have no marketing budget to speak of, it’s your time that you invest. All those days at farmer’s market when no one gives you the time of day, reaching out to florists and hearing crickets in return, time on Instagram. These are your biggest marketing hurdles. Once you’ve got someone’s attention, they’re yours to keep.

3. Once someone buys once, you should devote serious resources to getting them to buy again.

Building off the last point, it’s crucial to keep a new customer in your orbit once they’re there. Against all odds, they’ve chosen to buy from you and now you’ll be top of mind the next time they’re looking for flowers. While you have their attention, keep it! What can you do to build trust and familiarity right from that first purchase? How can you encourage more frequent purchases, bigger purchases, and raving reviews? This is the time to invest in an email marketing strategy and to think strategically about offers and discounts to get them to keep coming back.

4. Your flower farm customers want to live vicariously through you, so let them!

People want to buy from people that make them feel good. Don’t guilt your customers, don’t play the martyr, and comb through your copy to make sure it’s not full of complaints. Farming is incredibly hard work, but it’s work we chose. Invite your customers behind the scenes of the beautiful parts of our job. Share glimpses of the hard parts, too, but steer clear of using guilt as a motivator to buy. You’ll find it working against you, rather than in your favor. Let your customers experience the first narcissus of the year, the sound of crickets or frogs in the evening, your frosty beer after a day planting tubers! Let them get to know you and your farm so that whenever they hold your bouquets it’s as if they’re catapulted into a still morning on the farm with you.

5. People want to feel special, appreciated, and heard.

Celebrate your customers at the end of each season! I highly recommend going out of your way to let them know you appreciate them. Could you send hand-written cards to your top 20 or 50 customers? Offer discount codes for their first purchase the next season? Throw a party just for them? Going a little bit above and beyond will set you apart from the pack. There’s so much buzz recently about ‘crowded markets’, and your best bet to fight the noise is make your customers smile when they think of you. Get creative, get generous, and prioritize showing appreciation. It’s truly our customers that make our businesses work and thrive. I hope you’re inspired to find them, keep them, and celebrate them. Here’s to a great season ahead! 

Read More from Lennie Larkin: 

Power Your Flowers: Record Keeping Systems

Power Your Flowers: Crop Planning 

How To: Set Business Goals for a More Focused and Satisfying Season Ahead

Flower Farming for Profit: A Complete Guide to Growing a Successful Cut Flower Business (Chelsea Green)

 

2 comments on Power Your Flowers: Building Thriving Customer Relationships

  • Rachel
    RachelMarch 25, 2024

    Farms that specialize, become farms fully realized! Thank you for sharing !
    ———
    Farmer Bailey Inc. replied:
    You said it, Rachel! Thanks so much for reading! ~Felicia

  • Patti.     Stone House Flowers
    Patti. Stone House Flowers March 20, 2024

    Farms that specialize monetize!$$$$$😊😊
    ———
    Farmer Bailey Inc. replied:
    You said it, Patti! Thanks so much for reading!

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