Dawn Smith, sales manager at Smith Bros. Florists

Dawn Smith has business in her blood, her father having opened a flower store in the 1950s. Today, she manages a team of salespeople for the Montreal-area store, Smith Bros. Florists. To successfully compete against larger outlets, quality service by attentive sales staff is key.

What do the salespeople at Smith Bros. Florists do?

We have two teams of salespeople—one team answers the phone and takes down orders, and the other works in the stores advising customers. Store salespeople help customers find the products they are looking for; their main role is one of guidance, since often people don’t know exactly what they want. They then make a floral arrangement or gift wrap the flowers.

What main qualities do you look for in a salesperson? 

The salespeople have to know the products inside out. And while they are not florists by training, they need to be able to talk about our flowers or plants, and to advise hesitant customers. They also require good interpersonal skills, and the ability to smile, be helpful and pleasant with customers. And in the flower business, they need to adapt to all kinds of circumstances.

Can you describe what type of circumstances you mean, and how do they adapt? 

Flowers are a very particular kind of product. They are related to life, but also to death. So regardless of whether the occasion is a birth, a wedding or a death, the salespeople need to have the appropriate demeanour. This means having empathy, sensitivity and a lot of insight. And ultimately, regardless of why they came in, customers need to walk out feeling happy or soothed. When they adapt to customers, salespeople provide personalized service. And if the idea of service is crucial in sales, it’s not by chance—it’s what keeps customers coming back!

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