Improve Your Sympathy Business at the 2016 GLFE

Clay Atchison, florist and expert on the sympathy side of the flower business, will help you improve your sympathy business at the 2016 GLFE.

Improve Your Sympathy Business at the 2016 GLFE

As always the lineup for the annual Great Lakes Floral Expo is outstanding, with the best possible design and business content for florists. This year the MFA is also doing something very interesting and presenting an entire track on the sympathy aspect of the flower business. Clay Atchison, retail florist (owner of McAdams Floral in Victoria TX), and sympathy expert will share his knowledge in three sessions designed to help retail florists generate more – and more profitable – sympathy work.


For over a decade Clay has been on a mission to understand – and reverse – the drop in sympathy work he saw at his own store. He spoke with countless funeral directors and funeral industry insiders, visited their conventions, meetings and trade shows – with the end result of dramatically increasing sympathy sales at his own shop.

Clay now shares his approach with fellow florists through a website he created,, helping them to combat the lack of understanding of “in lieu of flowers”. He has served on many committees for both the Texas State Florists Association and Society of American Florists.

This is the first time he has presented a full track like this, and we're very grateful to Clay for generously coming all the way from (warm) Texas to (less warm) Michigan so that he can share his recipe for sympathy success with the members of the Michigan Floral Association. We're also very grateful to the volunteers and staff of the MFA for seeing the value in this kind of material and allowing FloristWare to sponsor it.

Here are the details on Clay's sessions:


Building/Maintaining/Monitoring Relationships With Funeral Directors

Date: Saturday, March 5, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Location: Steelcase Ballroom B

In this interactive session, Clay Atchison will show you how to get through the door and connect with funeral home directors. Establishing and maintaining this connection is the essential first step to communication and a profitable relationship. He’ll also cover the importance of monitoring the relationship – you always need to know where you stand and look at proven ways of doing just that.


Working Around Changes in the Floral and Funeral Industries

Date: Saturday, March 5, 2016
Time: 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Location: Steelcase Ballroom B

Changes in the funeral industry like the increased popularity of cremation, “in lieu of flowers” messaging and free websites from floral order gatherers have made sympathy work harder to come by and less profitable. This session, using a combination of presentation, discussion and Type in Action activities will show you how to stay profitable while working around these issues. It will also look at marketing to customers that increasingly default to order-gatherers and drop-shippers when buying flowers.


Sympathy Roundtable With Michigan Funeral Directors

Date: Sunday, March 6, 2016
Time: 10:15 a.m. - 11.15 a.m.
Location: Steelcase Ballroom B

Join Michigan Funeral Directors Association members and Michigan Floral Association florists for a panel/roundtable discussion, using the excellent American Floral Endowment report on sympathy business as a starting point. The interactive session will also include questions from the audience.


For more information please visit the GLFE section of the MFA website.



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