“Increased marketing efforts and expanded services can help increase corporate sales.”
An undeniable challenge about wedding work is that it’s “one and done.” Weddings require you to constantly cultivate new customers because there is rarely repeat business. Expanding your offerings to include corporate and holiday event work can be a savvy way to add a new income stream to your floral business.
A florist asked me about attracting corporate clients, and she wondered, “Practically, what do I do? Send out letters with fliers or emails with photos of flower arrangements and a corporate discount coupon? Or grab some arrangements and go talk with office managers?”
I’ve tried all of the above at some point in my business, and if you’re serious about expanding your offerings, you should reach out to the people in charge of planning parties and events for the corporations you want to work with. If it’s a new service for your business, let people know you’re branching out. Whether you offer a discount on their first orders or throw in a free delivery as an incentive, remember that flowers are always ordered by real people, so you have to connect with those people.
One difference between corporate and wedding work is that you may hear a client say, “We don’t want the flowers to look like a wedding,” which usually means they don’t want fluffy white arrangements in fancy gold containers, but it may also be a reference to the size and fullness of the design. It’s always wise to clarify the style the customer really wants, but if you’re known for wedding work and you want to expand your offerings, you have to let customers know that you get the picture if they say they want something that “doesn’t look like a wedding.”
It’s important to note that corporate work can also present unique design opportunities and challenges. You may be asked to incorporate a logo onto a flower wall or use the company’s colors in an arrangement for a grand opening or create an epic holiday party.
If you get one corporate account on board, they might order flowers from you for birthdays, times of sympathy, new baby arrivals, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Administrative Assistants’ Day, etc., and you may find that one business results in many thousands of dollars in sales each year.
Another difference between wedding work and corporate events is the conversation around pricing. Talking about price can be easier when it’s business to business because you don’t have the same emotional pull from a couple or their parents to “make it extra special,” as with a wedding.
Most hotels, schools and corporate accounts have an annual budget in mind, so don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes a corporate event has a budget that’s ample, but other times, they need you to give them a price so they can see if they can make it work. In regard to pricing, I’ve been asked, “Do you charge the same for corporate as you do for weddings?” The short answer is yes, but the real answer is, it depends!
It may depend on what you charge for weddings. For example, do you have a “slightly higher design fee” for weddings than for the daily work you create? If so, does that slightly higher fee have to do with additional time spent on meetings? And if so, will this corporate work require the same time investment? More? Less?
It’s up to you to set your corporate rate, whether it’s the same as your wedding work or your daily work or somewhere in between. Consider how you can add value through service. Can you create a contact person who handles a company’s events? Do you keep detailed notes so that re-ordering is easy? How can you keep the communication consistent and invite the client to order again. Part of your customer service process might be to check in periodically to find out about upcoming events on a client’s calendar – a courtesy for them that helps secures new business for you. If you want to expand your offerings to increase your income, get out there and capture some new clients. Keep doing beautiful work!