The Customer and the Rose: A Valentine’s Day Story

Larry Galler recounts a Valentine’s Day story that teaches an important lesson in customer loyalty.

man giving Valentine's Day rose

It was Valentine’s Day and a young man went into a flower shop to purchase a beautiful rose for his girlfriend.

The florist seemed to take extra time selecting the flower. After the man left the store, wrapped rose in hand, the new employee asked the florist whether there was some difficulty selecting one rose from a container that held a few dozen similar, if not identical blooms.

The owner of the flower shop took his new employee aside and explained: “Did you see the rose I selected for that young man? It was perfect! It was just about to burst into full, glorious bloom. I picked the best rose for him to give to that special someone. Why? I’m sure that is the only rose that young lady is going to get today. We want her and our customer to remember the experience with fondness. We florists may see thousands of roses today, but they will see only one. Our reputation stands on that one rose, so it better be perfect. If that rose makes a good impression and that young man makes a good impression on the young lady, who knows, if things go well, maybe we’ll get their wedding business!”

“And, if that happens, we will get orders for anniversaries and babies and when their babies grow up and get married, we’ll do those wedding flowers also, all because of one, perfect rose. Of course, odds are that none of this might happen, but, if we have this long-term mindset every time we select an exceptional flower for a customer, it will be well worth those few moments I took to select that one rose because some customers will remember the extra care and service we give them.”

His point was that the buyer’s experience is different from the seller’s experience. The buyer, in this case, is making a “unique” purchase, one he may remember for many years. The seller is making an “ordinary” sale, one of many in the day, and from a sales volume standpoint it is a minor sale, yet there is potential for much more business.

To gain the long-term loyalty of our customers we must strive for perfection in every customer interaction – from the sale of one rose to a whole greenhouse of roses. Taking this approach will not only result in the loyalty of our customers, but the long-term success of our business.

About the Author

Larry Galler works with professionals, small-business owners, contractors, and entrepreneurs to increase sales and profits through better, more creative marketing and effective administration systems.

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