Monday, May 20, 2013

Techniques for increasing sales Pt. 2

By Jeffrey Scott, consultant

Last month, Landscape Management published Part 1 of this post (Check it out here.). Now, here is Part 2, a collection of more important ways you can stay on the right track this season.

1. Find out how they make decisions.

It is important to know that you are speaking to the decision maker. But it is not always polite to outright ask. In this case you can ask how they will be making their decision? Will other people be involved in the process? Opening up this line of questions also allows you to ask if they will be interviewing other service providers as part of the process. These kinds of questions are useful in sales: the more the prospect talks and you listen, the more targeted your proposal can be.

2. Use pain to create urgency.   

Pain is the ultimate motivator for hiring a contractor, especially for switching from an existing contractor to a newer one. If you are not hearing and exploring your prospect’s pain, then you are not practicing the refined art of selling.

Your ability to create "urgency" is linked directly to the amount of pain a client is feeling. You cannot pressure ("push") a client into a sale, but you can create an environment where the client is "pulling" you towards them, urgently asking you for a solution to their problems. When you uncover a client's pain, dig into it and make sure you understand it, and let your client simmer in their own pain. This will move them urgently to action.

3. Identify their priority.

Everyone places a different value on different parts of his or her property. You might be surprised what they find important, and where they are willing to spend more money. You can't assume that what you think is important is the same as what they think is important. This is relevant on both extremes of the sales process. 1) When you are trying to submit a tight budget, and 2) When you are looking to expand the sale.

Knowing their priorities allows to you to propose higher margin add-on sales, higher margin materials, and higher margin solutions -- especially when it corresponds to services that you uniquely provide.

4. Set follow up dates.

In the busy spring it is paramount to leave each appointment and phone conversation with a follow-up date. You can raise your sales by up to 50% by doing so, and concurrently free up more of your valuable time. Some prospects will resist you when you try to do this, but don't let their lack of being time-focused impede your need for working in an orderly fashion. Most of the time you can ease a truly qualified prospect into agreeing to a follow up date. By taking control of the conversation, you will separate out the shoppers from the truly interested.

5. Make the 3rd sale first.

When making the first sale to a new client always think about the 3rd sale. Treat your qualified prospect as if they are already a client; give them great service and show them why you are the vendor of choice. Caveat, this should be done on qualified (Green Light) prospects. Be prepared to let them win on small points, and you focus on winning their trust and the sale. 

As I always say, Treat prospects like clients and clients like prospects, and you can’t go wrong.

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author and consultant, grew his landscape company into a successful $10 million enterprise, and he's devoted to helping others share the same success. He facilitates PEER GROUPS for landscape business owners who want to transform and profitably grow their business. For more information, go to, email, call (203)220-8931 or log onto

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Attention LM blog readers: We've moved

Thanks for reading Landscape Management's blog, which has been hosted here on Blogger for nearly eight years. We're now making the move to our redesigned website, so please visit our blog over there so you don't miss out on any of the great posts, including:

FD2B Talk Radio Insight of the Night posts by Jody Shilan
Randy's Way posts by Randy Newhard
• The latest from Jeffrey Scott, the editors and more. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

FD2B Talk Radio Insight of the Night: Mark Chisholm

Many of you may know that “girdling” may cause a tree to fail over time. Girdling occurs when a tree root wraps itself around the trunk of the tree, literally choking it to death. The typical cause of girdling, according to Mark Chisholm of Aspen Tree Expert Co., is too much organic material, such as topsoil and/or mulch, covering the root flair of the tree.

This can occur naturally, but in the suburban landscape it's Green Industry professionals that often cause the problem. This is due to the homeowner’s addiction to mulch and our own annual spring process of over mulching, which creates what's commonly referred to as mulch “volcanoes.”

Although improper planting techniques and “mulch madness” are part of the problem, the plants that you, the landscape contractor, purchase from growers and re-wholesalers are often already in distress. As Chisholm points out, the trees may be planted too low in the container or when they're balled and burlapped.

Show: Why Should I Care About Tree Care

Guest: Mark Chisholm, Aspen Tree Expert Co., Freehold, N.J. 
Date: May 1, 2013
To listen to the full show, CLICK HERE.  

Friday, May 03, 2013

Landscaper to the rescue

Oh how I love stories like this. Stories about landscapers who've got their mind on the job, until they notice something askew and leap into the role of hero.

That's what happened in Sturgeon, Mo., this week, when a vigilant landscaper showed up for work at a home and noticed three people he didn't recognize "tossing tools into the back of a vehicle," reports Missouri newspaper the Centralia Fireside Guard.

As the story goes, the perpetrators sped off as the landscaper neared the vehicle. The landscaper called 911 as he "gave chase" in his truck, telling authorities he had the thieves in his sights near a high school.

Ultimately, two of the perpetrators fled on foot and the third, a 17-year-old, was arrested on suspicion of stealing and possession of burglar tools. The drama continued when the school was put on lockdown and authorities spent two hours hunting the escaped perpetrators down through aircraft and with tracking dogs, to no avail.

Kudos to that brave landscaper for saving the day!

Read the full story here.

Beth Geraci

Thursday, May 02, 2013

FD2B Talk Radio Insight of the Night: Jon Goldman

One of the many insights Brand Launcher's Jon Goldman discussed was the concept of looking at your business as a boat with you as the captain. The front of your boat is sales and marketing, the back end is teams and systems and in the middle is you, steering the boat with your belief structure.

As he aptly points out, if you spend too much time on marketing, growing sales beyond your capacity to produce, your boat will be top heavy and sink. If you invest too much time and energy into your teams and systems but don’t have enough sales to support them, your boat will be bottom heavy and sink.

Finally, as the captain, if you don’t have a clear MVP (mission, value, purpose) one of two things will happen. Either you’ll aimlessly drift in the water until you’re lost at sea or you’ll be tossed around until your boat is smashed on the shore.

No matter how you slice it, if you don’t properly manage all three parts of your business boat, ultimately, you will sink.

Show: Brandscaping – How to Create Your Own Brand 

Guest: Jon Goldman, Brand Launcher, Baltimore
Date: May 1st, 2013
To listen to the full show, CLICK HERE. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Casting call: Opportunity to be part of a new TV series

Calling all landscape company owners with 50-plus employees and multiple divisions ready to take their success to the next level. Shed Mediaa TV production company known for Emmy-nominated Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC, ABC’s Supernanny and many morecontacted me to spread the word to our readers about its nationwide search to cast a new documentary series for a major non-cable broadcast network. Shed is looking for a variety of small- and medium-sized business owners from a variety of industries.

Each hour-long episode will center on one medium-sized company as it participates in a management experiment intended to motivate and inspire, says Lauren Willems, casting producer. Viewers will see how that company runs its business and will meet the hard-working people who make up its workforce.  

This series offers owners or other high-level managers the opportunity to gain a unique perspective on the inner workings of their companies, while celebrating some of the unsung heroes of their workforce and learning something about themselves in the process, Willems says. Ultimately, your company’s one-hour episode will provide high-profile exposure. What a great branding opportunity.

Are you ready for prime time? Please contact Willems for more details at 323-904-4680 x 2071 or email ASAP.

—Marisa Palmieri

Friday, April 26, 2013

Brickman Group donates $10,000 to Hurricane Sandy recovery effort

Just a shout out to the Brickman Group's Long Island location in Holtsville, N.Y. The team there has donated $10,000 to a non-profit in the area in support of the organization's Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery program.

The non-profit, called Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank, aids Hurricane Sandy survivors in communities on Long Island's South Shore who still require food, pet food and supplies in the face of the storm's devastation.

April 2013: Gaston Nesci, Lisa Owens, Mayor Tom Brennan, Karyn Condoleo, Paule Pachter, Doug Reedy, Sam Brush and Ray Nobile (l to r) Credit: LI Cares
Gaston Nesci, Lisa Owens, Mayor Tom Brennan, Karyn Condoleo, Paule Pachter, Doug Reedy, Sam Brush and Ray Nobile (l to r) Credit: LI Cares

"As a family-owned commercial landscape company that's been based on Long Island for more than 10 years, the devastation caused by this horrific storm directly impacted our clients, our employees and all of our families," Ray Nobile, Brickman regional manager, told "After we did our part to clean up debris and destruction caused to homes and properties across both counties, we felt as if we should do more to assist in the recovery efforts."

Check out the full story here.

Beth Geraci

Randy's Way: Giving thanks

By Randy Newhard

What a good Friday this will be. It’s our annual company picnic today. Our teams come from all over southern California—from 11 satellite offices—for a barbecue just for them. Today is all about the guys in the field. Our regional branch managers and account managers cook up carne and pollo asada for the more than 200 employees. This is a few-hour task over hot charcoal grills. It’s a great time for me to see all of us gathered together in one place.

I take the time to shake everyone’s hand and say “thanks.” We usually do this after the long, hot summer, but this year we wanted to do it early and talk about safety. Our new director of safety, Jonathan Matthews, will address the team on how important it is for them to protect their body parts on the job. Jonathan is an ex-Marine who fought for our country in Iraq. He knows how important safety is.

We have a raffle with an insane amount of prizes, including a big-screen TV donated by our friend and attorney Joe Strazzeri. Other vendors donate a lot of prizes, too. Our president, Kathryn DeJong, will speak about operations and about our Wall of Fame, which is based on customers’ emails and letters of thanks about the good job our guys do in the field.

Lots to be thankful for every day, but especially today. I’m thankful for the great team we have at New Way Landscape & Tree Services. Today is my day to see them all in one place and offer my gratitude to them.

Randy Newhard, CEO of New Way Landscape & Tree Services in San Diego, will begin blogging again for Landscape Management. Look for his "Randy's Way" insights weekly.