Owning a cannabis business (or any business) involves all kinds of make or break decisions. For marijuana, none of these are as important as location, location, location – maybe don’t set up shop across the border into Wyoming just because the Colorado real estate prices are out of control. But, other decisions are important too and they have the potential to influence your business to a great degree.In regards to customer retention – customers who come back for more – one thing exceptionally vital is your budtenders.
This isn’t to say you can charge clients twice as much as your competitors and they’ll return as
long as your budtender’s awesome, but a good budtender makes a big difference. It’s worth looking for one who is a freaking RockStar.
So, how do you find him or her? Sometimes someone will walk through your door or answer an ad and you’ll know: they’re definitely the one! Other times, it takes a little more digging on your part. But knowing what to look for helps.
Consider Hiring a Budtender with the Following Traits:
Someone who’s willing to learn: Budtenders should know everything and anything about weed. They should be able to make suggestions, talk of new trends, speak on health benefits, discuss growing, and anything else that’s asked of them. A budtender must be willing to learn continuously as well –
The history of cannabis might not change, but the future hasn’t been written yet. It’s a growing industry, getting bigger and better every day.
Someone outside the biz: It might seem strange to pluck someone from another industry and make them a budtender, but looking at other types of commerce offers you the chance to discover diamonds in the rough. Look at industries that are very heavily customer-centric and stay away from plucking anyone from Comcast. Personality is important: people respond to people they like.
Someone with passion: You can hire a budtender who has a Nancy Reagan poster encouraging them to Just Say No. You can hire someone who doesn’t give much credence to its benefits. But budtenders who are passionate about the cannabis industry tend to do their jobs with more vigor and enthusiasm. That’s, of course, true for pretty much every sales job: there’s a reason people selling health club memberships are more lively that those trying to enroll you in a low-fee savings account. Get in on this now before inflation.
Someone with a good work history: When it comes down to it, hiring a budtender involves many similarities to hiring anyone in any other industry, for any other job. You want someone with strong references, a resume free of gaps (or at least gaps that aren’t reasonable or explainable), an education, and workplace longevity.
It’s a bad sign if the person applying has had twenty jobs and has only been in the workforce for six years
Someone who will follow the rules: In some jobs, being a bit of a rulebreaker isn’t that big of a deal – a wayward writer or a no-nonsense cop avenging the death of his partner – but in cannabis the rules are rigid and they’re to be followed. Make sure whomever you hire knows this and abides by them fully and consistently. It only takes one person breaking the rules to lose your license to sell.
Someone who’s a people person: You don’t have to put an ad stating “Introverts need not apply” in the newspaper, but a budtender does need to be outgoing to some degree.
Moreover, they need to be patient. Dispensaries can be intimidating for first-timers (and even those who’ve been so many times they have their own strain)
A good budtender puts patrons at ease, allows them to ask silly questions, and offers up assistance when they look like they have no idea what they’re doing. A good budtender is also able to stay cool in stressful situations; some people, especially those using medicinal marijuana, grow overwhelmed by all that cannabis entails.
Someone with a clean background: A background check is routine for most jobs, but it’s particularly relevant in industries that involve a lot of cash. Hiring someone with a criminal record might be fine or it might not. For one thing, you have to make sure they’re eligible for a marijuana badge and many areas have policies that deny badges if the person’s ever been arrested for a drug-related felony. For another thing, you don’t want to have to worry about your employee’s actions when you have a business to run.
Someone with a good memory: Sometimes we hate those with good memories – Hey Carla, remember that one night in college when you took off your shirt and ran onto Main Street yodeling? But the ability to retain information is vital to a good budtender. Some of the things that need to be remembered include: lineage of strain, the benefits, the side effects, the flavor and aroma, and the percentage of THC (or CBD). If you have an extensive menu, you need a budtender with an extensive memory who can memorize a variety of details.
Someone who won’t sample while on the job: That’s the thing with the inventory…it’s actually for the paying customers.
Budtending is a new and exciting field that’s rich with applicants. Everyone and their mother seems to want the opportunity to work at a dispensary. Luckily for you, the business owner, this provides a sea to choose from. Remind yourself to fish around.