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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Train to be a nursery sales assistant - update and improve your knowledge

  • Gain skills in techniques and procedures of sales.
  • Develop the appropriate skills to work as a nursery sales assistant.
  • A valuable and unique course - developed and taught by experienced professionals with real-world experience.

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Train to work in Garden Centres

  • Learn to identify lots of different plant cultivars.
  • Develop the skills and knowledge to be able to advise customers on what to grow where.
  • Develop your knowledge of plant care.
  • Understand customer service and how important it is.
  • Course Duration: 100 hours of self-paced study.


There are 5 lessons in this course:

1. Introduction to Plant Identification

  • Understanding plant classification and pronunciation of plant names.

2. Basic Sales Skills

  • Different customer types.
  • Communication skills to sell.
  • How to open and close a sale.

3. Caring for Plants

  • Planting techniques.
  • Understanding soils.
  • Plant nutrition.
  • Pest management.

4. Selecting the Right Plant for the Right Place

  • How to create different affects and moods using plants.

5. Advising Customers in a Nursery

  • Developing good communication skills.
  • Knowing your product.
  • Plant placement.
  • 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 Do You Get Someone to Buy?

The first task for any sales assistant is to engage with the customers.

Once a connection has been made; it is important to foster a degree of trust. In some situations, this may come easier than others; and you do need to be able to evaluate each situation and make a judgement call. Sometimes it is necessary to give some free "no strings attached", advice, to convert a person from being apprehensive, to being receptive. At other times, it may be enough to smile and simply say, can I help you.

Once the mood is positive, the opportunity exists to convince the potential customer. Poor product knowledge, poor communication skills or slow response times can all contribute toward failure at this stage though.

Closing a Sale 
Some nursery sales people have an great ability to develop trust and confidence in others; but still fail to get a commitment from the customer. This could be because their natural tendency is to be indecisive. People who are indecisive in their own lives, are more likely to be indecisive when interacting with customers; and that is not going to encourage anyone to buy anything.

Consider a nurseryman who is told by a customer that they want a fruit tree for beside their patio, and responds: "Are you sure? They can create a mess when they drop fruit".

A nursery sales assistant is employed to sell. Despite the intent of any remarks, they are doing a disservice to their employer if they constantly point out the negative characteristics of a plant, rather than the positive.

Consider a retailer who is excessively considerate towards customers and keeps telling them to go home and think about the purchase first before making a commitment - this type of sales person may be someone who has a tendency to see the sale more through the eyes of the customer instead of through the eyes of the business owner. 

Collecting Payment 
Some businesses make lots of sales, but give too much financial credit to customers. For instance, they may offer deals to landscape companies such as ‘buy it now with no payments for 6 months’, or they may simply not follow up very well on bad debts. If the bookkeeping and billing systems are poorly operated, it can be difficult for a business to keep track of who owes what, and when they owe it.

Ensuring Customer Satisfaction
If customers are satisfied, they are potentially good ambassadors who can help you increase sales into the future. If they are dissatisfied though, there is a very real potential for past customers to damage a business’ reputation, resulting in a decrease in future sales.

The old adage which states that bad news spreads faster than good news is quite true of business. One bad customer experience can quickly erode ten good customer experiences. These days, with the use of social media, you also have to consider how far-reaching a disgruntled customer’s sentiments can be, and how quickly they can express their dissatisfaction.  

Following Up
Repeat business is the easiest business to get. A nursery sales assistant should work hard to build relationships, and encourage return visits. It never hurts to say things such as "If you come back next winter I can explain how to prune that plant then".

Why Study This Course?

  • An ideal introductory course for people looking to get a start in the nursery industry.
  • The course seeks to develop both plant knowledge and knowledge of sales and customer service, both essential areas in retail nursery work.

The course will suit anyone hoping to work in the nursery industry no matter what sort of plant nursery it is, and would suit students looking to work in:

  • Tree Nurseries
  • Plant Nurseries
  • Garden Centres
  • Plant Retail
  • Market Gardening
  • General Horticulture 


Enrolling is easy - just go to the box at the top right-hand side of this page.

If you have any questions, or need help in choosing the right course for you please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert tutors, use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.

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Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

RosesThere are few things as uplifting as being greeted by the sweet fragrance of roses from your own garden. If you have always wanted to grow roses, or perhaps improve an established rose garden, make sure you are armed with the right knowledge! Learn from the masters in horticulture. This wonderfully colourful ebook will teach you everything you need to know about the passion of growing roses.
Starting a Garden or Landscape BusinessExpert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.
Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmIt's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. To work efficiently and profitably, a nursery or herb farm must be both well organised and properly managed. As with any business, it is essential to be confident enough to make firm decisions as and when needed. This e-book is your ticket to a fragrant future.
Rhododendrons and AzaleasGrow & Know Rhhododendrons and Azaleas by John Mason