Are your budtenders and customer-facing staff following sales best practices? Even when you have a busy shop or there's a line out the door, you want to ensure your team is doing everything they can to keep customers happy, ask them questions, and recommend additional products they'll love. Happy customers will rave about your business to their friends. They will brag about the VIP service they consistently receive; people love feeling important. Make sure your retail experience is memorable.

Retail Expert, Natalie Jo Gay Shares Her Tips on How to Build a Winning Sales Team That Naturally Sells More Cannabis:

Build Trust by Connecting with Each Customer: People can shop anywhere for anything; they will choose your place of business because of personalized interaction. People crave connection, even in the most minor moments of their day. Train your staff to genuinely greet each customer and make an effort to get to know them. Building lasting relationships builds trust; when your customers feel like their favorite budtender really knows them, they trust their recommendations.

Ask Questions and Listen: Once a genuine connection is made (this can be within the first few seconds of interacting), a customer will typically reveal information about their life, reason for being in your business, lifestyle etc. Listen to what they say and what kind of products they usually purchase.

Cookies Woodland Hills dispensary
At the Cookies Woodland Hills dispensary, floating sales staff help customers find cannabis products they'll love.

Practice Suggestive Selling: Your customers don’t always know everything you sell. People appreciate when their needs are anticipated. Train your budtenders to listen to the customer's needs and offer recommendations of what they might like. It is important that this is done in a genuine way because people also sense when someone is trying to up-sell for their own gain (ex. Sleazy used car salesman). Your staff may suggest something they never realized they needed and they will love them for it.

Boost Budtender's Ability to Upsell with Staff Samples: In any industry, we see growth when your sales team can harness customer data to better connect with the people who want to hear from you and build relationships by starting conversations and suggesting products you know they’re going to love. Your staff will have a hard time selling a product to customers if they don’t know anything about it. You want to ensure your staff have an opportunity to get to know the products you sell. The best way to do this is to allocate staff samples and ensure there's ongoing education for your sales team about new products. Be sure your whole team is knowledgeable about the products on your shelves so they can properly recommend them to the right customers based on what they are looking to experience with new products.

Stock Essentials Next to the Register for Easy Upsells: "Do you want fries with that?" This simple question is a tried-and-true retail tactic that helps fast food restaurants sell millions of dollars of French fries each year.

Does your team practice this type of upselling? Make sure your dispensary is set up with easy-to-grab common items like lighters, rolling paper and grinders next to the register. Train your team to ask at least one of these questions to every customer who comes through your doors:

  • Do you need a lighter with that?
  • Do you want rolling papers, filter tips, or a grinder too?
  • Do you want to grab one of our special Mellows singles or penny pre-rolls? (or whatever specials you're running).

Drive Sales with Friendly Competition: Create systems to incentivize and reward your staff for hitting certain goals. It motivates your team, keeps them engaged, and gives you an opportunity to celebrate them.

Consider launching an employee of the month or other rewards program that incentives your team to go above and beyond to delight your customers:

  • Staff discounts
  • Cash bonuses
  • A paid day off
  • Letting employees choose their schedule for the next month
  • Their favorite products to enjoy
  • Gift certificate to a local restaurant VIP dispensary swag (ie. hoodie with their name on it)
  • Visible recognition (i.e. a framed plaque with their name on it)

Discover more tips and resources to help you succeed at cannabis retail.

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