The Lover, The Rose, A Wedding? The Significance of an Insignificant Sale

By Larry Galler 

The young man went into a flower shop to purchase one beautiful rose for his girlfriend. The florist seemed to take extra time selecting the flower. After the lover left the store with 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, cleared his throat, and delivered his “Lecture of the Lover’s Experience” speech.

“Did you see the rose I selected for that young man? It was perfect! It was just about to burst into full and 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 1000 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 get the big sale and the long-term loyalty of the customer, the florist must ensure the quality and service in this otherwise insignificant sale and in every other sale whether it is one rose or a whole greenhouse of roses.

Question or comment to Larry at [email protected].

Larry Galler coaches and consults with high-performance executives, professionals, and small businesses since 1993. He is the writer of the long-running (every Sunday since November 2001) business column, “Front Lines with Larry Galler”. For a free coaching session, email Larry for an appointment – [email protected]. Sign up for his free newsletter at

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