Budtender Best Practices

Budtender Etiquette: Dealing With New Customers In Cannabis

More people trying cannabis and these tips will help get you through the sale

Now that legal recreational cannabis has advanced knowledge and acceptance of cannabis, retailers are guaranteed to see all kinds of new faces enter their doors.

Some people have been put off by the illegality of cannabis, leading them not to choose to partake until it became legal to do so recreationally. Others may have gotten poorly grown bud from a friend of a friend on the black market and simply just don’t know the array of what’s available in legal cannabis. Either way, there will be droves of people who have not experienced legal cannabis and will be doing so with a bit of trepidation.

Budtender etiquette requires being sensitive to all kinds of users who will come through your dispensary. By reading people and getting to know aspects about them, you can help them feel comfortable within the legal cannabis retail space while finding products that suit their needs and interests.  

There are no one-size-fits-all approaches to customer service, and being a budtender is no different. Here are a few ways that you can deal with new customers in cannabis by keeping customer needs at the center while increasing your chance of making a sale.

Use Data to Inform Popular Products

Your dispensary POS system is full of valuable data that can provide insights into who is visiting your dispensary and exactly what they are buying. When you can use data analytics to understand your customer, you’re given a foundation of knowledge that will help you target exactly what someone is looking for based on the information you can find out about them.


For instance, look at what Generation X women are buying, and make suggestions to newcomers to a dispensary based on what you know people of this demographic buy, and repeatedly buy. Increase the value of the market basket by suggesting complementary products that people are buying to support the experience of a new cannabis user.

Don’t Act Like a Know-It-All

If you’ve been in cannabis a long time, and you’ve gotten to learn a lot about its science, the legalities, and the many therapeutic uses for it, it’s easy to forget not everyone has your level of literacy.

When displaying your knowledge about cannabis to your new customer, don’t be braggadocious about your knowledge about cannabis. Aim to be informative through active listening first, rather than spouting out all you know about cannabis. Ensure what you discuss is customer centered and not put out there to demonstrate your knowledge. Provide the knowledge, but not a self serving lecture.

Provide Cannabis Education Resources

You can supplement an excellent first experience at a dispensary with some suggestions for cannabis education sites that will add to what you’ve told them in store.


Suggest some of your favorite YouTube channels that show how to use cannabis in cooking, personal care, and medicinal treatments, and provide thorough information on the various research available on cannabis.

If your cannabis dispensary is ready to go the extra mile, provide your own cannabis education programs online and in-store to ensure you are leading in providing your customers the high-quality, accurate information they need to have a positive cannabis experience.

Use Personal Stories and Anecdotes

Rapport is extremely important when working with new cannabis users. A cannabis dispensary budtender should be informative, helpful, and professional in their approach, but can also make the customer experience that much better by establishing a connection.

A great way to warm people up to the cannabis experience if they’re new to some of the innovations in products or new to the experience entirely is to use personal anecdotes. Discuss a time or situation that you used a particular strain of cannabis, for instance, and how it affected you in that moment. Talk about a memorable customer who tried a particular product that they keep coming back for. If they ask you your favorite products, tell them, and be sure to find creative ways to upsell them by matching your suggestions with other products or accessories.

Build Customer Loyalty


It’s a basic principle of marketing that customer retention costs less money than marketing to new customers. When you have someone come through your door, that is your opportunity to make sure they choose your dispensary over the one down the street.

Your POS or data management system should support a Customer Loyalty or Rewards program designed to give people a reason to come back. Stay on top of the features of Customer Loyalty programs that make people sign up, and stay loyal, to get the most of seizing the important opportunity to retain a customer.

Keep Your Customer at the Center

Always put yourself in the shoes of the people in front of you who are buying legal cannabis. For many, it’s a big deal to begin using cannabis, or to begin exploring what’s available on legal cannabis markets. It’s your job to set the stage for a great cannabis experience that will turn into purchases that will increase your sales records as a budtender.

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