Why Brands Must Invest in Budtender Training and Development
Reaching consumers in any market requires building and maintaining a relationship with your target audience beyond the product itself. However, success in the cannabis industry requires a little more. Not only must you create a bond with consumers, but you must also create a bond with budtenders. After all, they're the ones that will be directing consumers to your product — or someone else's.
"Creating an emotional connection with consumers will continue to be key to success in cannabis, much like any industry. But in cannabis, brands must also create a strong connection with budtenders, who are highly influential in shaping consumers' buying preferences," Richard Batenburg III, Chief Investment Officer of Cliintel Capital Management Group, told Forbes. "You can spend all the money you want on marketing, but if the budtender suggests a different product, then you can't win."
Here's why investing in budtender training and development is the best way to reach more consumers, increase budtender recommendations, and boost the adoption of your products.
You need more than beautiful branding when it comes to product education. The more that budtenders know about your product, the better they will promote and recommend it.
This is so significant because it's a win-win for both parties. You want to get your product to the right buyers because they'll keep coming back when it meets their needs. On the other hand, the budtender achieves more successful sales, tips, and referrals because they were educated enough on the product to genuinely help the customer make the right decision.
Marketing materials are frequently just watered-down documents that appeal to the minds and hearts of consumers. Budtender training, however, is far more educational for budtenders and allows them to understand the nuances of your product so they can effectively communicate with the consumer.
Most importantly, training doesn't have to be boring — use your brand effectively to create great training content. While you're at it, include the following in your budtender training manual:
- Product development
- Safe dosing and usage specifics
- Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and testimonials
- Memorable branding
- Mobile access
The Effects of Budtender Training and Development
Enhanced Product Knowledge
Better product knowledge means better customer experience and satisfaction with you, your product, and the budtender. This is important because every touchpoint with your brand should be consistent and positive. A budtender cannot keep the same consistency if they don't know enough about your product to:
- Sufficiently answer consumer questions
- Expertly recommend your product when the opportunity presents itself
- Promote with confidence and knowledgeable insight
Everyone associated with your product should know everything about it. After all, if budtenders don't understand the amazing features of your product, how do you expect them to connect to the ideal customer?
With enhanced product knowledge comes more directed recommendations from budtenders. Many customers may have previously come into shops perfectly suited for your products, but budtenders weren't aware of how well your product was a match for their needs. Make sure the next time they make their way in and ask for recommendations, budtenders are armed with information on how beneficial it would be to purchase yours.
According to New Cannabis Ventures, "Twenty-two percent of respondents who buy from dispensaries or recreational shops report always following the budtender's recommendation and another 69% seriously consider the budtenders recommendation, though they weigh other factors in as well."
When it comes down to it, consumers highly respect the opinions of budtenders when making purchasing decisions, so you want their respected opinion to represent your brand. Research shows that more than half (63%) of consumers are interested in personalized recommendations, making it essential that budtenders are fully prepared to deliver those experiences.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Suppose a budtender incorrectly represents the benefits of your product. In that case, that will likely stick with the consumer and give them a negative impression of your brand. Even more, if a customer has a bad experience, they might be turned off cannabis for years.
Take, for instance, a case where a budtender with minimal training on your product recommends it for certain benefits, yet it delivers an entirely different experience. In this case, the consumer will permanently remember their bad experience when they see your brand.
It's also likely that they will spread the word to whoever will listen while they are at it since negative reviews are often shared much more than positive ones. In fact, it could take as many as 12 positive reviews to make up for that one negative review that was only a result of poor training, not an accurate representation of the quality of your product.
On the other hand, if a budtender has proper knowledge of your product, they recommend it correctly to a customer. If it delivers the desired benefits, that customer will be more likely to buy from you again.
Train and Engage Budtenders With ZolTrain
Training budtenders may have once required associates to meet in-person with budtenders to discuss product information and engage in small group activities — but times are changing. While this is more beneficial for brands than doing nothing as an alternative, online training has become more practical. It's safer, more efficient, and accessible, and it meets budtenders where they already are — on their phones!
With ZolTrain, your training can include mobile-based incentives (i.e., digital gift cards and other incentives to complete training), digital feedback tracking opportunities, gamification, and more. Ready to experience the ZolTrain difference? Contact us today.