You’re passionate about plants, but can you sell them effectively? Many nursery workers have great product knowledge but lack the skills to assist or engage potential buyers and ultimately nail the sale. Ideal for market stall holders, garden centre workers or nursery sales staff, our Certificate of Nursery Sales is a professional development course that will expand your knowledge of plant identification and classification as well as improve your sales skills.
In our retail nursery course, will learn how to pronounce plant names and learn more about soils, plant nutrition, planting techniques, pest management and how to create different moods using plants. You will also gain insights into the different types of customers, basic sales techniques and procedures, and valuable communication skills including how to successfully open and close a sale.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a retail nursery course include:
- Understanding plant classification
- Learning about plant names
- Exploring the levels of division
- Gaining an understanding of terminology
- Studying the pronunciation of plant names
- Discovering the botanical families of genera
- Gaining insights into the structure and arrangement of leaves and leaflets
- Examining flower structure
- Learning about the different types of flowers
- Exploring how seed forms
- Gaining an understanding of basic sales skills
- Studying products and services the nursery industry sells
- Discovering the factors to consider including costing, display and spacing
- Gaining insights into what sells best, sales techniques, and the selling personality
- Examining how to open and close a sale and add-on sales
- Understanding how buyers make decisions and the four stages of the decision-making process
- Learning about heuristic procedures – heuristic procedures, representative heuristic, attitude heuristic and availability heuristic
- Exploring the types of customers, buyer promotions including timing and customer relations
- Studying staff training and sales and first impressions
- Gaining insights into personal style inventory and its interpretation
- Examining the salesperson, the key rules, the strengths and after-sales service
- Understanding holding stock and managing plants in retail nurseries
- Learning how to care for plants – caring for them, preparation, planting, procedures and common mistakes
- Exploring how to establish woody plants and planting and stake deciduous and bare-rooted plants
- Studying improving soils, organic matter, composting and mulching
- Gaining insights into potting plants, trees and shrubs
- Understanding nitrogen draw-down, soil pH and living plant cover
- Learning about plant nutrition, the nutrient elements and total salts
- Exploring plant pests and diseases, integrated pest management and common pest problems
- Studying fungicides, chemicals and weed control
- Gaining insights into pruning — winter and annual and in the
- Examining pruning evergreens and in the home garden and orchard
- Understanding how to select the right plant for the right place
- Learning about environmental influences on plant selection
- Exploring how to select plants for use in horticultural situations
- Studying colourful year-round foliage
- Gaining insights into annual and herbaceous plants
- Examining how to select woody plants
Popular Ways of Marketing Nursery Products
Marketing can make or break a nursery business, but as you’ll learn in our retail nursery course, there are a variety of ways to market nursery products. They include:
- Shops – These include nurseries or garden centres which concentrate on selling plants. They can also be sections within other retailing businesses like hardware stores, florists and even supermarkets.
- Online – Products are usually promoted via catalogues, magazine ads or through websites.
- Specialist nurseries – These businesses concentrate on growing one particular type of plant, which are sold directly to the public.
- Shows – Home Shows, Trade Shows, Agricultural Field days and other similar events are often used as an outlet for selling plants.
- Markets – Markets come in all sizes and types, from farmer’s markets to craft and fruit and vegetable markets. Many nurseries find their regular attendance at these can make a significant contribution towards their sales.
- Truck sales – This involves vehicles loaded with plants calling on retailers with stock sold directly from the truck, or smaller vehicles with stock samples that allow retailers to submit their orders.
- Markets -Trade markets can be private markets or run by industry associations. They typically sell to landscapers, retailers and others in the industry at wholesale prices. Those operating the markets will also often charge participating nurseries a commission, a fee or both.
- Agents – These may sell using one or several of the methods mentioned above, and they generally take a commission from the wholesaler grower. This method can negate the need for marketing, however it can affect profits depending on how good the agent is!
Most Common Types of Customers
From customers on a mission to those that are indecisive, retail sales staff deal with a myriad of people on a daily basis. And unfortunately, there isn’t one strategy that will satisfy all of them … or result in a sale. But as you’ll learn in our retail nursery course, there are some common customer types. Here’s how to recognise them and more importantly, how to sell to them!
Many shoppers these days fall into this category as most do their research before making purchasing decisions. The best way to approach them in-store is to acknowledge their expertise, listen to what they have to say, and then ask questions to see if you can unearth information that perhaps they’re not aware of. Another approach is to provide insights that make them feel like they are gaining insider access or knowledge. Focus on value rather than pricing or features (which they’ll probably already know), and highlight products or services that only your business can offer.
These types of customers will often view products in-store but then purchase them online if they can get a better price. They can often be spotted with their mobile phone in hand undertaking price comparisons while they are browsing! To convert them to a sale, try and shift their focus from price to value. Emphasise loyalty programs, in-store offers, uniqueness and immediacy (taking home the product straight away instead of having to wait). And if possible, offer them a price-matching deal!
Ask these types of customers if you can help and they’ll often reply, “No thanks, I’m just looking”, either because they are killing time or something has caught their eye. Make them feel welcome, but don’t go overboard, as they will probably leave immediately! Try to engage their interest in your products by mentioning discounts, sale items, new arrivals or encourage them to browse the store where they may be encouraged to make an impulse purchase.
The Mission Accomplisher
These customers know what they want and just want to purchase as soon as possible and be on their way. The best strategy to dealing with them is to leave them to it. If they ask questions, give them honest answers, avoid up-selling, and make the process as convenient and simple as possible. You should also minimise any barriers (for example, long checkout lines) so the sale is more likely to be done and dusted.
The Confused or Indecisive
These customers either aren’t sure if they want to purchase or can’t decide what they want. Often it is due to being overwhelmed or because they don’t have enough information. Your best approach is to ask questions so you can define their specific needs and then tell them what they need to know. Don’t prod the customer to make a decision that’s not right for them, however, be honest and it may just persuade them to buy.
The Bargain Hunter
This customer is focused on price, ie. the lowest! They are willing to shop around for it and brand loyalty often doesn’t come into play at all. Try to make them feel like they’re getting a great deal — sell them on higher quality, value, a better guarantee or point out that purchasing from you will actually save them money in the long run. As a last resort, try and capture their information so that you can alert them to a sale or promotion in the future via email or text.
These customers are typically combative, condescending or sometimes downright rude. They may have been unhappy with the service in the past, have a complaint about your products, or perhaps they’re just having a bad day. Regardless, you’re in the firing line! Your best approach is to stay calm and do your best to appease the situation by offering an apology, a refund or a credit. If that doesn’t work and the situation escalates, it’s probably time to bid them a hasty farewell (or call security!)
Learn how to identify a range of nursery plants, understand basic sales techniques and provide invaluable advice to customers with a retail nursery course, such as our Certificate of Nursery Sales.