8 Tips to Increase 420 Sales From a Top-Rated Budtender

March 29, 2022

It's no secret that 420 is the busiest time of the year for dispensaries, making 420 sales one of the most significant contributors to the annual bottom line in the industry.

In 2020 alone, combined sales in Washington, Nevada, Colorado, and California hit $158.9 million through the week in 420 sales, a 24% increase to the year prior.

So, with 420 right around the corner, it's time to start gearing up to make sure you're capitalizing on this biggest sales day and week of the year.

This article will provide insights on how to increase dispensary sales from the #1 rated budtender at Cannabist San Diego, Shaggy Bullock.

The man's a wealth of wisdom regarding all things related to the cannabis industry.

Here are 8 top takeaways from a budtender to increase 420 sales:

  1. Learn to properly incentivize your budtenders. 
  2. Incentives and education.
  3. Raise morale, raise sales.
  4. Avoid missed 420 sales opportunities.
  5. Increase your dispensary's brand awareness.
  6. Resolve consumer-facing challenges.
  7. Stay on top of compliance.
  8. Have a 420 sales special.

Let's dig into each line item, and learn how you can utilize these tools when it comes to increasing 420 sales at your dispensary.

1. Learn to incentivize your budtenders properly.

One of the most popular questions that dispensary managers have for industry gurus is how they can incentivize budtenders in the most effective ways.

Offering incentives to budtenders is a necessary part of running your business since it allows them to genuinely enjoy working at your dispensary, which results in motivating them to:

  • Do a great job
  • Move more product
  • Explain products to customers

So, what are some of the ways you can start incentivizing your budtenders in time to boost your 420 sales?
Here are some of the ideas provided by Shaggy.

Give out samples.

Often distributors will provide dispensaries with samples of their products. Use these as an opportunity to show your appreciation for budtenders.

Some examples of times you might give out samples as rewards could be:

  • Going above and beyond
  • Doing a couple of extra things outside of the typical day to day tasks
  • High sales day

In addition to raising morale, providing your budtenders with samples of the product will help increase their familiarity and relationship to the product, thus increasing their ability and drive to sell what they like.

A budtender weighing cannabis flower to be sold on 420.

Promote friendly competitions.

Another great way to incentivize your budtenders is by promoting friendly competitions. These can take many forms, such as top sales for the day, week, or month. Or, if you're running promotional items, you can run a competition and have a prize for the budtender who sells the most of the promotional item.

The idea behind friendly competitions is that they are not challenging the budtenders negatively, in a way that will encourage them to destroy each other to get to the top. Instead, they offer a little extra push to get your budtenders more involved by giving them an incentive to earn more than their basic wages and tips.

Encourage them to learn more about products.

Ensure that your budtenders are sampling products to learn more about what they are selling to customers. When sampling products, ask your budtenders to provide you with a short paragraph or brief about their experience with the product. That way, you can make sure they know the product well and can therefore go on to sell it to someone else.

Not every budtender is driven and wants to learn more about products; for others, enthusiasm comes naturally. It's a delicate balance but, when you provide opportunities, you’ll easily identify those interested in learning more.

2. Incentives and education. 

Often, many of the top tips to sell more products, especially for 420 sales, can go back to the ways you are incentivizing your budtenders, and the education they are able to obtain about the product.

Along with rewarding high selling budtenders with sample product, or promoting friendly competition, helping budtenders obtain more education is a big factor in sales.

Here are a few ways brands and dispensary's can help with this process.

Patient appreciation days (PADs).

Take advantage of brands who want to come out to your dispensary for budtender education. This opportunity is often referred to in the industry as a patient appreciation day (PAD). Boost your 420 sales this year by having brands come out in the weeks leading up to this big week.


It can be challenging to schedule PADs with all of your budtenders, so online programs can also be a helpful tool. Toptender is one of the many learning and development platforms available online and accessible through mobile apps.

Toptender makes budtender education simple and easy since your budtenders can access it on their phones whenever they feel like it. Best of all, brands can reward your budtender for completing their informational sessions and quizzes all through the app program.

3. Raise morale, raise sales!

Generally speaking, the budtender role is a relatively transient job. Whatever the reasons, when you're running a dispensary, and especially gearing up for your 420 sales, you need to know how to retain quality budtenders.

Offer competitive pay. 

One of the top ways to retain budtenders, as mentioned by Shaggy, is to offer competitive pay. Currently, the industry pays slightly higher than other jobs in retail or restaurants. Make sure your rates are competitive for the industry.

For budtenders just entering the industry, you can start just above minimum wage. You should offer them a 30, 60, or 90 day probation period, after which you can talk about a pay raise should they show they are excelling in their position.

Increasing budtender retention is a key to raising sales on 420 and year-round, as your staff can operate with less friction and understand your store procedures and products better.

Recognize a job well done.

Don't forget to recognize and reward your budtenders for doing a good job. Make your budtenders excited to be at work and feel like they are a part of the team by rewarding them for simple things like:

  • Top sales
  • Going above and beyond

Seek out ways to provide daily happiness.

Small actions go a long way with your budtenders. Things like having snacks in your breakroom, coffee, pop tarts, granola bars, etc. These items are low-cost to you but are hugely impactful to your team. Raising morale will raise retention, and in turn raise sales.

4. Avoid missed 420 sales opportunities.

Talk to your team. After all, they're the ones talking with your customers every day.
They know what your target demographic wants and needs.

By gaining insight from your budtenders, you're getting a direct source to your market and helping to involve budtenders and evolve your team dynamic.

Consider sitting down with your budtenders before placing and large 420 orders to hear about any requests they have been receiving that may not be being reflected in your current inventory data.

420 sales stat.

5. Increase your dispensary's brand awareness.

Especially for newer dispensaries, you want to figure out how to increase your brand awareness. And that’s equally as important for dispensaries located in tricky spots. Before the big 420 boom take some extra time to invest in this opportunity, or perhaps run a campaign around it. Here are a few recommendations, according to Shaggy.

Optimize social media collaborations.

Social media collaborations are an excellent way to bring traffic flow to your business. Working with brands will help build awareness of your business on the back of their social media presence.

Since some cannabis consumers can be brand dependent, take advantage of collaborations by tagging brands during PADs, cross tags, and ultimately building relationships with these brands. 420 is also a great time to reach out and start building relationships.

Participate in community outreach.

Even though the cannabis industry has made strides, it still faces some pushback in some communities. One way to combat this is by participating in community outreach. That way, when you enter a community, it will help to stop them from trying to push you out. Some things your dispensary might want to take part in may be:

  • Beach clean-ups
  • Breast cancer charity walks
  • Any other thing your community might need

The specifics of the community outreach will depend on what the need is in the area. In the end, it comes down to showing up. It doesn't have to be the entire dispensary — just one or two people who show up every time.

Before your 420 sales this year, seek out different ways to get your dispensary involved in the community. If people try to push back on your business, demonstrate that you care about the community by partnering with a local charity or business.

Send the message to your community that you are a part of the community. You aren't here to do any harm — you are here to help make the community better.

6. Resolve consumer-facing challenges to increase 420 sales.

Some of the biggest consumer-facing challenges come from getting people to try new products. Thankfully, Shaggy has some thoughts on how to face these challenges head-on. Here are some tips to resolve any customer facing issues, and help the week of 420 go smoothly.

Educate consumers with patient appreciation days.

During the patient appreciation days (PADs), a brand will spend two to three hours demonstrating their products. These PADs are a great time to re-educate budtenders and educate customers about new products.

Offer deals or incentives to try new products. 

You can consider offering lower priced packages of lower doses for new products. For example, people might not want to spend $25 on a product when they don't know how it will affect them but be perfectly willing to pay $1 or $2 to try it out.

Create sample bags for budtenders.

Regulars build trust with their budtenders. If a budtender has confidence in a product, they can sell it by banking on that trust. Getting your budtenders to branch out and try new products by giving them sample bags is a great way to open up 420 sales of new products to customers.

Heart-shaped cannabis gummies for sale on 420.

7. Stay on top of compliance.

Know your legal regulations and stay on top of them. Also, make sure you do background research on any companies you work with, to make sure they are staying compliant as well. Legal responsibility falls not only on the store owners but also on the budtenders. Staying compliant in all areas in the business may not be a direct line to increasing sales, but it is a direct line to staying in business, and being able to sell at all.

8. Have a 420 sales special. 

Last but not least, one of the most effective ways to boost your 420 sales is by offering specials! Get creating, blast it all over your social media, and get people excited.
Offering a 420 special can also be a great way to get new visitors to check out your store for the first time. Another great idea for a 420 promotion that keeps on giving is to offer gift card special offers, thus encouraging visitors to return after the 420 buzz has died down at a later date.

Want to learn more? 

So, there you have it. You've heard it straight from none other than the #1 rated budtender at Cannabist San Diego, Shaggy Bullock.

Anyone looking to increase their dispensary sales will pay close notice to Shaggy's words of wisdom. After all, Shaggy continues to be wildly successful in the cannabis industry and wants to help others by offering his expert opinion. Formore insights from Shaggy, visit his website Shagwhelin’s Way.

If you're looking to increase your 420 sales this year but aren't quite sure where to start, hopefully now you've got your answers!

Increase 420 sales with these 11 checklists.

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March 2022


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