Let’s be honest – The Pure Sunfarm’s and Redecan’s of the world sell themselves! They offer safe, legal cannabis at near illicit market pricing. Stock your shelves with their products and they are sure to sell.
That said, how will you differentiate your store from every other store that has the same products? How will you accomplish your desired profit margins by selling low-price SKU’s? How will you engage your customers by telling the same story about the same products every time they visit?
The answer – craft cannabis!
To help accommodate the shift in consumer preference from factory-farmed LP products to craft cannabis, the OCS recently announced they’ve created a new craft designation to help customers find the hand-crafted, small-batch flower they’re looking for. All the dried flower and pre-rolls in this collection are hand-trimmed, hang-dried, hand-packaged, and grown in a facility that produces less than 10,000 kg of dried cannabis (or equivalent) a year.
After arriving in cannabis from luxury retail, I knew there would be many transferable skills I could use to grow my business. The most important – The Art of Selling! I was a million-dollar seller at Gucci. If you can sell a $3000.00 Gucci bag to a consumer who has no actual need for it; selling cannabis is easy!
Passion, personal experience, storytelling, product knowledge, the start-high strategy, and up-selling.
Through using these tools, I have been able to turn my store into a craft cannabis destination. We have a strong craft cannabis clientele which we developed ourselves and sell out of our high-priced craft cannabis SKUs weekly.
There have been countless instances in my store where customers have said to me:
”You seem very passionate about it, so I will give it a try
It is really that simple! When you are genuinely passionate about a product; a customer can sense that. Once they sense that passion, they will be more open to you trying that Cherry Punch by BLK MKT you suggested over the D. Bubba by Pure Sunfarms they originally selected. When I am passionately beating my chest as I explain how the Cherry Punch literally punched in my chest, my passion is creating excitement and making the product more desirable for the customer.
In the infancy stage of the legal cannabis market; where consumers are not the most knowledgeable about the products and LPs; personal experience is the most valuable tool to utilize when selling craft cannabis.
I could stand there for 10 minutes and list the terpenes, genetics, and production style of a product and fail to catch a customer’s interest. If a customer is not knowledgeable about cannabis nor how and why these factors contribute to the overall price of the product; I am wasting my time. However, if I say:
”Citizen Stash by Mac-1 is the smoothest, cleanest smoke I have ever tried. It's almost as if you are smoking air, but then you get really stoned.
That is much more valuable and relatable to the customer than terminology they do not understand.
Stories. Everyone remembers them! Whether it was breaking an arm at 13, or your first kiss.
When facts and data are framed within a compelling story, you will hold the listener’s attention and help them connect bits and pieces of the story to the experience they are looking for.
”I rolled up the Dunn Island Pink Screwhead from Artisan Batch before I went to bed. Half-way through my blunt my toes automatically went numb and when I woke up, I was still high!
Stories also appeal to both logic and emotion. When listening to stories with rich imagery and meaning, the brain is stimulated as a whole. Usually, a buyer is debating between logic and emotion. When telling a story – you can use both to your advantage. A budtender who knows how to use storytelling to engage and lock in a client is one who can successfully sell craft cannabis.
Not all consumers lack in-depth product knowledge. There are experienced smokers who have been smoking for years but are now just entering the legal market. These consumers want to know exactly what they are smoking and why they are paying a certain amount. They want to know what Landrace strains a new hybrid consists of, and they want to know if the terpenes are displayed on the packaging. They want to know if the flower is machined trimmed or hand-trimmed, and they understand the difference between small-batch and mass production.
I personally enjoy my experiences with these customers because we can have great, educated conversations. I find it easier to sell to these customers because they understand a lot of the terminology and selling points I am outlining.
However, if your staff lack product knowledge; they will lose this customers interest right away, and then some. I hear a lot of feedback about people who stopped going to cannabis retail stores after encountering staff who lacked product knowledge. Hard to make a sale when you cannot speak about the features of the product you are selling!
In my experience, many sales associates do not feel comfortable or are intimated by the idea of recommending high-priced SKUs. This is unfortunate because recommendations are so valuable in this market. Most customers are not very knowledgeable about the LPs and are looking to budtenders for recommendations. As a result, using the ‘starting high’ strategy gets you halfway there. If you suggest a $23 3.5 and then suggest at $49 3.5; it is obvious most customers will go for the first recommendation, the cheaper option.
However, if you start at the high-priced SKUs, passionately detail your experiences and how the benefits relate to the customer – you have a higher chance of closing the sale. Oppose to the opposite, which includes having to explain why a customer needs to spend more for a similar experience.
Even though it is easier to start high as opposed to upselling; upselling is still extremely important to successfully sell craft cannabis. The majority of our market is price-conscious. They are looking for a cheap option to accomplish the high they desire. However, similarly to starting high, many sales associates are intimidated or not comfortable up-selling.
Many customers do not know the benefits of higher quality cannabis. As a result, I try to explain to my staff that when we are introducing a customer to higher quality craft cannabis, we are actually doing them a favor by elevating their cannabis experience. This thought process can make up-selling less nerve-racking.
The craft cannabis LPs put a vast amount of time and effort into the cultivation of their flower. If Budtenders avoid recommending these products, many customers will go without knowing they even exist.
”I noticed you chose the Cold Creek Kush by Redecan; great selection! But for a little more you can get the White Wedding by Msiku. This is the best tasting Hybrid we carry!
Cannabis Retail Differentiation
If you want to differentiate your cannabis retail store from every other store that is carrying the same products, accomplish your desired profit margins, and engage your customers by telling unique stories about unique products. Sell craft cannabis.
By exuberating passion, speaking on personal experiences, and storytelling, you can strengthen your store’s ability to sell craft cannabis. Through displaying product knowledge, using the start-high strategy, and up-selling – you can turn your store into a craft cannabis destination as well!
Written by Erik Weekes and originally published on LinkedIn.
Last Updated on May 5, 2021 by ADCANN