Becoming a Budtender
Budtending is a funny name for customer-facing dispensary employees, but the job is no joke. Marijuana dispensary budtenders are the front-facing part of your staff that can make or break the experience for your customers.
The significance of the interaction increases even more when helping a first-time customer. To that end, here are five things your budtenders need to know when waiting on first-time cannabis customers.
- First-timers are probably nervous, so budtenders need to help them relax. Honestly, buying legal marijuana can be intimidating for someone who has not done it before. It is even a little overwhelming for those that have bought illegal weed for years to buy at a cannabis dispensary. The budtender can help customers relax by finding ways to show with their body language they are listening to the customer. Examples can be making eye contact, smiling, affirming their statements when possible, and standing with an open posture (read: no arms crossed across their body—unless it’s cold, of course). Over time, this behavior will help a customer feel cared for and important, which are two feelings that bring a customer back again.
- Budtenders are the experts here, so they need to share their wisdom. We think of budtenders as the sommeliers of pot; or, in other words, the knowledgeable pot stewards of the dispensary. When appropriate, budtenders should present different options available in the dispensary to match the effects of the product with the needs of the customer. A first-time customer might know about smoking flowers and eating edibles, but have they ever considered a tincture? Would a concentrate deliver the high they seek? Budtenders should listen for opportunities to acquaint their customers with all that the world of recreational weed has to offer—and prove themselves to be a trusted advisor to the customer.
Example 1 Budtenders are the experts, so they should expose customers to new products, like tinctures for one.
- Recreational marijuana dispensaries are a business, so professionalism is required. The legal cannabis community is establishing itself as a legit enterprise. It will likely drive economic growth and tax revenues for the states where legalization has passed. However, it is still federally illegal, which means the marijuana industry leaders are working hard to stay out of the feds way. All of this to say, cannabis dispensary owners cannot afford to hold onto employees that bend the rules. Communicate early and often what your dispensary’s standards of professionalism are and be firm but fair with those budtenders who do not live up to them.
- Brush up on budtenders’ metric knowledge. Cannabis Culture brings up a high point about budtending that most U.S.-educated people might need to review: the metric system. Sure, a customer can have up to an ounce, which is an American measurement. However, first-time buyers aren’t likely to invest in the maximum amount. Beginners are more likely to sample a strain that hopefully the budtender recommended based on their needs in a 4-gram weight (or the far-less customer-friendly .141 oz.-size). Learning all the common weight measurements for a marijuana dispensary can help budtenders manage the transactions smoothly for the first-time customer. Have training so budtenders can explain the weight packaging to customers, who also likely need a metric-system refresher course.
- Create your own edible education speech for first-timers. Many people who try edibles make the rookie mistake of taking way too much the first time. Mainly, it happens because beginners don’t have enough patience to wait for the effects to start, which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Then, if they take too much and the customers get too high, it’s too late. All they can do is wait it out. Budtenders should help beginners by explaining in detail how edibles work and what they should expect. Also, budtenders should steer them toward the lowest dose products. Sure, customers can have up to 10 mg in an edible, but for a beginner that can still be too much of trip. Have your budtenders start at 2.5mg and work the customer way up to ten. After all, a person can always eat more to get higher, but it isn’t possible to eat less to get lower. And who are they going to blame if they fly too high? That’s right, the budtender and the marijuana dispensary where they work.
Your budtenders have a crucial job at the dispensary, especially with first-time customers. Ensure that you have people who build trust with customers, present themselves professionally and share their knowledge with the less experienced marijuana customer. Budtenders with these qualities can lead your customers to a good marijuana dispensary experience. Budtenders are not selling customers weed, but matching customers to the weed they need. If they do a good job, customers are going to need more, which they can get with the budtender they met and trust at your store.