Imagine your shop on an ordinary afternoon. A man walks through the front door, looking a little confused — he’s definitely not a regular and you can tell he hasn’t been in many flower shops. How does your staff greet him? If the answer is by asking, “how can I help you?” you’re probably missing significant sales opportunities (and you may even send that skittish customer out the door). A better approach? Position yourself as the expert, and ban those “bland” questions, writes Tim Huckabee in his Smart Selling column in this month’s Floral Management. “We know that most customers enter the store either on a whim or without specific flowers in mind,” he explains. “Therefore, your staff needs to be taught by you to interact with and listen to customers. When you set the right tone from the beginning, you will make bigger sales, guaranteed. As the owner/manager, you must instill in your staff the fact that customers want to be engaged and listened to, not just asked the same bland questions that we’ve been using for the past 100 years! Read more.