The Art of the Long Term Sale
Just as we cultivate the soil for the long term, so should you cultivate your customers. They may not bear fruit this year or the next, but they will eventually.
If you ask any entrepreneur or start-up company, the first couple years are rough. Financially, workload, but also in terms of clients and customers. This is because you’re new - and in a way, you kind of have to prove yourself. You have to prove that your business is legit, that you’ll be here long term, that your flowers aren’t a ripoff and that you are a long term partner for your customers that they can rely on to produce a good product.
It’s like dating - you don’t sign up to get married on the first date. No, you go on a small first date, ask questions, get to know each other. If things go well, then you start to do more together, slowly getting to know one another and building a sense of trust and respect.
Business relationships for flower farmer’s are the same way. You are trying to see if a designer is someone good to sell to, testing to see if the farmer’s market has enough traffic of the right people to sustain you, seeing if the location and market is a good match for your operation. And just as in dating, there will be some where it doesn’t work out for on reason or another.
And yet, there are some where it will work. Maybe there’s a good reason for it, like you’re compensated well, or maybe there’s not a good reason for it and you just really like working with the other person. The same result ends up happening - you make it a long term prospect and start forging that relationship.
With retail customers that works the same way. Customers are wary, suspicious, speculative of you and your product. And they should be - they’ve worked hard for the money they have, and it’s in their best interests to be cautious about money and not just make purchase decisions Willy-Nilly.
It’s your job to convince them that you are trustworthy, your product is good and that you’re not going to rip them off. Harder said than done - we all shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes, but the important thing is to gain the customers’ trust - and you do that by forming a relationship with them.
Every social media post, every interaction at the farmer’s market, every wedding you do, you’re forming relationships with your existing customers and potential new customers as well.