One of the things I enjoy the most about working in my business, is the variety of folks that I get to meet.
Unlike my previous career, people come to my place of business or contact me for services because they want assistance or need guidance. They actually WANT to be there.
Just as you are knowledgeable in your field, I am knowledgeable in mine. I am not an expert and would never claim to be. I believe that we all have something to learn and that we learn best by sharing knowledge. NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING.
I live and breathe horticulture and landscape design. I am an observer of the natural cycles. I pay attention to the seasons and the cycles of life. Pests and diseases, environmental and cultural factors, seasonal variations… Everything that impacts the health and wellbeing of the plant material that I work with, and our environment.
I’ll be honest, I do not know everything and sometimes I forget (for a moment) what I have learned. Fortunately I know where to find the information I need and I have hands on experience doing what I do. I shock myself some days with just how much information I am able to retain and apply. It is a great feeling when I confer with a colleague with many more years of experience than me, to find that I am spot on with a diagnosis or suggestion. Or, when I learn new things based on that same number of years experience. Real learning takes experience and time, observation and application. Nature is funny that way, not everything is exactly like it is outlined in a text or reference book.
One reason I love working in the nursery environment is the amount of questions I get and the number of things I get to see. Issues or problems that I would not necessarily encounter in my own business.
What is this (plant, pest, flower, etc.)? What can I grow in my yard? Why did this plant die? Can you help me figure out what to plant here (shows me a picture)?
I love it when people come into the nursery to browse. I mean who wouldn’t want to just walk around and look at all of the pretty and interesting things… Hundreds of trees, shrubs, plants… It is like a candy store filled with sights, sounds, textures and smells.
Contact in 3…2…1
The usual response when I ask if I may help someone is “I’m just browsing” to which I respond – “Great! I won’t hover then. If you need anything I will be right over here…(watering, I am always watering)”
Then, almost immediately comes the “Well… Actually, I do have a question” or “I could use some help with…”, and then we start the process of determining what the person needs.
Just like when I seek out professional advice, I recognize that while I may have some knowledge of a topic, I trust the person that I am working with. Trusting that they know what they are doing and will guide me in the right direction. I trust that they will speak to me in a language that I will understand and treat me with respect even though I may not have any clue as to what they are talking about.
I also recognize that they cannot know everything about my particular situation or every detail about my lifestyle and habits. It is my responsibility to give them the information that they need in order to assist and guide me in the best way possible.
Teasing out the issues…
It is important to know what you are trying to accomplish. You have arrived at the nursery for a purpose. You have an idea in mind. Maybe you are an avid gardener and you know exactly what you are looking for. More likely, you are a home owner that has very little experience with landscaping and are looking to freshen things up or fill things in.
We are here for YOU! Whatever your level of experience, we will help you find what you need.
I ask a lot of questions.
What is the exposure of the area you are working on? Full sun? Part sun? Shade?
How big of an area are you looking to fill?
What are you trying to accomplish (screen out your neighbor who walks around nude every morning, or keep your neighbor from seeing you walk around nude every morning)?
What type of plant material are you looking for? Tree, shrub, perennial, deciduous, evergreen?
It isn’t about selling you things you don’t need.
I am a horrible sales person. Seriously, I have talked people out of more things than I care to admit.
Sure, it would be awesome to sell you a whole bunch of things, but quite frankly I would rather see you more frequently because you know you can trust me to help you pick out just the thing you need.
Building relationships and having regular customers is important to me.
There is nothing more satisfying to me than going home at the end of the day knowing I have helped someone pick out the perfect plant material for their outdoor space.
The best thing you can do is stop by your local nursery and get to know your professional horticulturists. I am always referring people to resources that will help them with their landscaping questions and needs. I don’t have all of the answers, but I usually know where to find them.
There is no greater joy for me than seeing people happy and feeling like they have learned something.