Tricks of the trade come after being in one industry for a while, but there are a few elements any budtender just starting out in a marijuana dispensary must know. We’re not saying employees have to memorize the effects of hundreds of strains, but there are key components to their job that will make your shop a lot more successful if they stay ahead of the knowledge curve.
Aside from a few traits that all successful budtenders share, here are 7 things to think about when training your budtenders:
1. Require them to stay compliant
If you haven’t drilled this into your budtender’s heads already, they’ll eventually learn from everyone else in the industry. Cannabis compliance is a huge facet to working in a dispensary and failure to follow strict reporting, labeling, and inventory procedures could lead to the loss of your shop's license. Rules vary based on the state you’re in, so make sure your budtenders mind their P’s and Q’s every day they’re on the job.
2. Are they diligent about checking IDs
In an industry as tightly regulated as cannabis, one tiny misstep could have huge consequences. While consumers are expected to show identification before they even walk through the dispensary door, the potential risk of someone underage slipping past security highlights the importance of having multiple checkpoints. Prior to ringing up a customer, budtenders should make it a habit to check each ID one more time to ensure everyone making a purchase is of the legal age. And while budtenders already have multiple duties at the cashwrap, simple solutions like ID scanners and in-store signage reminding customers to have IDs handy can keep this small but crucial step top-of-mind.
3. Do they exhibit superior customer service skills
In most major areas there are a plethora of cannabis dispensary options, and customers create brand loyalty pretty fast. Visitors to your shop don’t come in just to buy flower; they see you specifically for the experience.
Learning the nuances of when someone wants to be left alone to browse versus helping them every step of the way can take time for budtenders, but a willingness to learn and grow in their skills is essential.
4. Make sure they understand all of your products
Product knowledge is huge when working in a cannabis retail store, as your employees need to be the authority on everything sold under your roof. Some staff members might think it’s sufficient to know about flower and call it good, but if your shop carries concentrates, edibles, or accessories, your staff has to be ready to answer any and all questions that customers might have.
5. They should be able to use a scale
The only time one might not need to master this essential skill is if your shop uses pre-packaged products, but what if you decide to make a change and go deli style with your flower?
While it’s pretty easy to use a scale if employees make a mistake weighing out product, their error will throw off your inventory in a big way. Basic math isn’t even a requirement, as long as they can press the right buttons.
6. They have to be able to assist cannabis newbies
Not everyone has cannabis experience. In fact, due largely to legalization and changing societal attitudes, many people are exploring cannabis for the first time in their lives or after not having consumed for years - and there’s a lot they don’t know. It’s a budtender’s job to be able to navigate conversations with cannabis newbies and those customers still trying to wrap their heads around legalization. Whether explaining the differences between indica and sativa, outlining the benefits of CBD, or simply clarifying what’s legal to possess, consume or grow in your state or province, every budtender should be able to demystify cannabis by covering the the basics with customers when necessary.
7. Can they associate ailments with suggestions
The ability to match products with a patient's medical concerns is the mark of an experienced budtender. Remember, your budtenders cannot legally make recommendations, but it’s a skill to be able to match specific customer requests with preferred strains.
Working in a cannabis dispensary will clue your budtenders into these skills after a while, but knowing it beforehand will put them way ahead of the game.
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