A friend of mine that owns a flower shop in another state asked me how we get so many corporate orders. Of course, the topic had come up because of Professional Administrative Day (or Week as I like to refer to it) is next week. As I told her we already had quite a few orders and many of those were multiple arrangements going to the same business. Gosh, you have to love those, right?
Well for us, our corporate orders are a very large part of our client base and it's not easy task keeping them happy which got me to thinking about this blog. Are you a flower shop owner that would like to have more corporate orders? If so here are a few things I think you need to consider when going after that business.
- Do you have convenient hours of operation? Many of the companies that order from our shop start calling us at 7 or 7:30 am. Wow, you wouldn't think they would but by 8 am for sure, our phones are ringing. Are you still operating with traditional retail hours? If so, you might be missing out on those early calls. Do you close at 5 pm? Again, you'd be shocked at how many calls we get at our shop after 5:30 pm. Some of our clients work long 12 hour days, just like we do. They often don't slow down long enough before 5 pm to contact us about their flower needs.
- Are you willing to do early morning deliveries? For us, it's rare to not have an early delivery to a company. Because we do a good amount of balloon decor, often our corporate clients need their flowers and balloons by 7:30 am before the employees arrive for the day. I know most florists do whatever it takes to get a funeral or a wedding delivered on time, but what about those corporate deliveries and event sent ups?
- Are you able to handle their billing needs. For example, we have quite a few accounts that need us to bill them in very specific ways and capture specific information when an order is placed with us. Some companies use cost center codes and have other ways of tracking and expensing our product. Do you have a point of sale that captures their orders? Do you invoice them quickly at the end of each month? Are you willing to wait for your money? Some of our best accounts can't turn out the check to us in the standard 30 days. It does not mean they won't pay but you may have to wait. What about companies that want to do direct deposits into your checking account? Do you know how to handle these clients? Does that make you feel uncomfortable? I can tell you for sure that my husband the accountant loves these clients. He looks each morning to see who deposited money into our account. Sweet - huh? No waiting for a check and running off to the bank. For sure, not every florist can handle those larger corporate invoicing needs but we do and so they order from us!
- Are you able to handle all their needs? Sometimes they need things sent local, sometimes far away. Sometimes they need 100 gourmet baskets or 50 dish gardens. Sometimes they need 1,000 balloons for their picnic. Sometimes they need flowers for their lobby very early every Monday Morning. Can you do those things? If you can, corporate orders might be for you.
In general, corporate accounts are fantastic and I live and breath for them. Can they be demanding sometimes? Yes, but if you treat them right, they are loyal. Do you sometimes wait for your money? Yes but if it's a sound company, you'll get paid. All in all, they are worth the effort. They don't just fall in your lap. Wow their employees and you'll get more than the company business. You know, they get married and have personal lives too. Be in with their company and most likely you'll be the employees florist too!!