Nursery Sales Course

Course CodeVHT103
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

 Improve your ability to sell plants and allied products.

Many nursery sales assistants are passionate about plants, but lack the necessary sales skills to boost sales. Others have a good selling ability but lack the plant knowledge needed to assist customers and really ‘sell’ the product.

The Nursery Sales Assistants course has been developed to provide the necessary balance between plant knowledge and sales skills. You, or your staff will learn all about:

  • plant identification
  • plant care
  • how to advise customers
  • important sales secrets that will boost your bottom line.
  • how to ‘open’ and most importantly, ‘close’ a sale!

“Whether dealing directly with members of the public or with other professionals such as landscape gardeners, it is imperative that nursery sales staff have sufficient plant knowledge to communicate effectively. That’s where this course comes in. A must do course for those wishing to improve their sales skills whilst simultaneously improving their awareness of plant identification, use, and care.” - Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor.

This course is aimed at:

  • those working within a nursery setting 
  • managers of nursery settings 
  • anyone wanting to develop their understanding of sales within a nursery setting


Lesson Structure

There are 5 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Plant Identification: Understanding plant classification and pronunciation of plant names.
  2. Sales Skills: Determining different types of customers; developing the communication skills to sell, including how to open and close a sale.
  3. Caring for Plants: Planting techniques, understanding soils, plant nutrition and pest management.
  4. Selecting the Right Plant for the Right Place: How to create different moods using plants.
  5. Advising Customers in a Nursery: Developing good communication skills, knowing your product, plant placement.


  • Identify a sales opening.
  • Identify and demonstrate how to 'close' a sale.
  • Demonstrate a range of sales skills in a horticultural workplace
  • Identify a range of different plants, based on their flower and leaf structures.
  • Describe the importance of effective communication and sales techniques in the retail nursery industry.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to care for plants, both in the garden and in the nursery.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate plant selection for a range of different sites.
  • Identify a range of plant health problems and describe appropriate chemical and non-chemical control methods to control those problems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and use of nursery products.
  • Describe the importance of plant placement in the retail nursery.

How to Attract the Customer's Attention
A salesperson must get the buyer’s attention within the first few seconds and interest them in the sales offer (after the initial greeting chat of course).  There are 4 different sales techniques that can be used to gain and hold a buyer’s attention:
Factual Opening
A buyer will always be interested in actual facts related to their business.  People are naturally curious to learn more about topics which interest them.  e.g. If you are selling a relatively new type of plant, you could first find out the facts about the area and begin by saying “it is a fact that some plants require more maintenance and care than others, but with these types of plants you can just plant them and leave them.  They love the soil in this area and shoot up very quickly”. 
The Question Opening
Asking the buyer a serious and sensible question related to your sales offer allows instant buyer involvement.  The question should be related to the buyer’s world.   For example, if a buyer is looking at your nursery’s flower plants, you could ask, “what is the colour scheme of your garden?”   Most people are only too happy to answer questions which relate to themselves and their world.   In the questioning opening, the buyer becomes involved in the sale.
The Reference Opening
People are influenced by a recommendation from someone he/she knows.   Everyone loves a good recommendation because it saves them groundwork, adds certainty, and is considered valuable information.  For example, if a potential buyer says they are considering a holiday in Fiji, you can offer a reference:  “you must stay at the Grand Tiger Hotel, the service is fantastic, their food is the best I’ve ever had etc”   The recommendations you provide don’t need to be about plants, they can be about anything the customer clearly needs information about.
Demonstration Opening
A great demonstration offer can instantly involve a buyer.  If the seller doesn’t have the plant or examples in front of them, the demonstration opening can be simple as explaining how an offer can save the buyer money.  Whipping out a pen and paper and involving the buyer in the demonstration of the calculations.   Alternatively, the demonstration can involve showing how the plants look when fully grown, or drawings of how to position plants in a garden.
Principles of Approaching
  • Relax the prospect.  Remove their fear, by coming on softly.  A good salesperson doesn’t want the customer to be worried about being pushed.  A good salesperson wants the customer to be thinking about the product.
  • Smile, look into their eyes, greet them properly (consider however, that the customer may not want to be touched by, or shake hands with a total stranger).
  • Be mindful of your internal thoughts. Internal thoughts often project outwardly.  Ensure your internal thoughts are not desperate (eg, I must make them trust me).  Internal thoughts should be more relaxed and build your own self confidence (eg. this person is going to like and trust me because I am a likeable and trustworthy individual).
  • Consider whether the prospect has been referred to you or not, and adjust your approach accordingly.  If they have been referred, it is polite to introduce yourself by name.  If they have not been referred, exchanging personal details may not be appropriate. Never crowd a potential customer.  Handshakes, names and personal details indicate the type of commitment and attention that signifies purchases.  The prospects may be frightened off by this, particularly if they have simply come in to browse.  Advise the prospects to feel free to browse and that you are there if they need you – then walk away.  Giving prospects some space allows them to relax; this is the first step in gaining their trust. 
  •  If the prospect spends notable time at one particular plant and hasn’t moved, it is time to move back in and ask an ‘opening involvement question’.  An involvement question is any positive question they’d ask themselves about the benefits you are going to sell. (Eg.  Would this plant be adding a new dimension to your garden or do you want intensify the ‘look’ of these in your garden?)  The idea is to get them talking and thinking for themselves about why they want the product.


There are lots of reasons why you should sign up to do this course with us, including:

  • The course is detailed to ensure that you have the level of knowledge required to apply the practices in the work place, helping you and your team improve the business' sales
  • Within each lesson you have the opportunity to apply your learning to activities which enables you to practice different concepts and expand your own research in areas of interest
  • Knowledge of these sales techniques will enable you to stand out from other applicants when it comes to applying for jobs, it will also give you greater confidence
  • Having the knowledge of sales approaches will enable you to work in many different sectors and business types, giving you flexibility now and in the future
  • Our subject specialist tutors will be there to support you throughout your course, they are only too happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you
  • When studying with us you set your own deadlines, meaning you study at your own pace enabling it to fit around other commitments


You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you!

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