“If you provide floral services for corporate clients, how did you break into that segment? What advice do you have for reaching this client base and serving corporate clients?”

I do it the old-fashioned way: I walk in the door and introduce myself; I bring a small floral sample or a blooming plant; I try to get the contact info of the person who handles events for the company; and I leave a business card or post-card size brochure.
It’s important to understand that the corporate world expects service and quality. Also, budget is a big issue. Be prepared to be creative and flexible and to give great service. You have to do everything well. Most important, be honest with them from the start about what you can and cannot do within their budget, time frame and other parameters.
Once you get established with a company, the word about you will spread. It’s all about relationships, service and account-ability. You are selling yourself and your abilities – not product. Anyone can sell product.

Darlene Nelson
DLN Floral Creations; Naperville, Ill.

We specialize in weddings, but we have such a strong floral department that venues we work with remember the quality of our work and our professionalism, and they often recommend us to their clients for other types of events.

When a person calls you for corporate job, get back to him or her quickly! Corporate clients demand straightforward, clear, professional and responsive service. They want to know what a piece will look like and how much it will cost, and they want to know right away.

Brittany Madon
Florida Beach Wedding, Inc.
Hallandale Beach, Fla.

We have gained most of our corporate work through referrals from employees of companies who are our customers individually. A bonus is that we garner new business each time an employee starts a new job at a different company! We also get business from companies searching for a corporate florist, and our five-star Google rating entices them to call. We then have to live up to our promises and reputation by providing the highest-quality service and product, both of which must be exemplary – always!

We make ordering easy: Clients can place orders by phone, by e-mail or on our website; we send electronic receipts and photos, if requested; and we keep their credit cards on file for quick payment.

Tracy Bell
La Belle Fleur Floral Boutique Ltd.
Surrey, B.C. Canada

First contacts are always made by delivering a small bouquet of flowers to a business. While there, we collect a business card or name of the person in charge of ordering flowers. We follow up with phone calls and/or emails. We also attend business networking events. When someone expresses an interest in our services, we send an arrangement to them at their office and then follow up.

My best advice it to always follow up. The fortune is in the follow up.

Jayson Waits
Bloomtastic Florist; Columbus, Ohio

Networking! We ask current customers and other people we know who have access to potential clients to put us in front of them. That gives us our first contacts, which has, many times, resulted in us doing the flowers for multiple events for them.

Tasha Lee
Tasha Flowers; Baltimore, Md.

Make visits to businesses, dress well, carry flowers, have business cards, and give your presentation to the owner or other high-level employee. For example, say, “I am here today to introduce a new rose.” Present the rose name, lasting quality, fragrance and other interesting characteristics. Then present your business card and say, “I don’t know if you have a florist, but if you call me, you will never use anyone else. I provide unequalled service and quality.” (Then make sure you do!)

I called on businesses for 38 years, and these calls produced many clients. I also gave speeches to business organizations’ meetings. They increased my business greatly, and I would not have been so successful without those contacts.

You have to make these contacts regularly. I committed every Tuesday to making these contacts. It worked!

Frankie Shelton, AIFD
Florenco, Inc.; Houston, Texas

When new companies come to town, I make sure to meet them at a chamber-of-commerce or other networking event. I deliver flowers to them personally and introduce myself so they think of me the next time they need a client or employee gift or have a party. It’s important to belong to your community chamber of commerce and to be involved so that everyone knows who you are and what you are about. It’s also important to shop local; that gives you greater awareness in your community.

Renee Polreis, AIFD
Nepstad’s Flowers & Gifts; Mitchell, S.D.