Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oyler's presentation on sales got the troops stirred up

Tom Oyler, hobbled with an injured leg, nevertheless was at his animated best in sharing some of his sales and marketing thunder at the Next Level Network (NLN) University in Dallas recently. From time to time, in fact, he grabbed the wooden cane he kept at his side, and waved it around when making what he felt was a particularly vital point.

Wow, that kept everybody’s attention riveted on the speaker! That and Oyler’s recipe for marketing and sales success which he shared in his day-long presentation to a full room of managers from the seven participating NLN companies. They expected some powerful sales advice from Oyler who has sold tens of millions of dollars of landscape services and built and operated several successful Florida businesses . . . and they got it big time.

And as the presentation rolled along audience members started chiming in with their own experiences and thoughts, making for a lively exchange of ideas, some of which Oyler agreed with and some he challenged.

And why do we keep returning to the NLN event, since we’ve reported on it in previous blogs? The answer is simple. When we review our notes from the event we keep finding things to share.

In this post, let’s talk branding which Oyler says is one of the toughest things for a landscape company (or any high-labor service business) to establish. That's too bad. A brand is differentiator in the market with a “good” brand commanding a premium in sales.

So, what’s a brand, according to Oyler?

— A brand is a “living” thing.
— A brand is the “idea” about your company your created with your customers.
— A brand is what your company “stands for” in the market.
— A brand deals with every way you deal with your customers.
— A brand is “grounded” at the point of delivery of your goods and services
— A brand is a major differentiator.
— A brand is often poorly managed in high labor services industries
— A brand once established generally lasts a long time — for good, bad or for worse.

Again, the reason why you want to establish a brand, a "good" brand in the market is so that you can command a higher price for your services. And generally that's the case when everybody is offering pretty much the same services and saying pretty much the same things, such as "we can do it faster, cheaper and better." And who doesn't say that these days?

For the record: Oyler partners with Bruce Wilson in the Wilson-Oyler Group, a full-service consulting firm specializing in business improvement services to the landscape industry. Read Wilson's "Best Practices" column in Landscape Management magazine each month.

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