3 keys to success in commercial maintenance sales

August 6, 2021 -  By

If you want to be successful in winning commercial maintenance market share, you need to up your sales game. So, what are the keys to success in commercial maintenance selling? Let me suggest three tips for successful business-to-business (B2B) selling, whether you are an owner, sales manager or sales professional.

Upward building block toward target (Photo: Dilok Klaisataporn / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus)

Dilok Klaisataporn / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus

Hire the right person.

Let’s face it: Not everyone is cut out for B2B sales. We all have an idea of what a salesperson looks and acts like: outgoing, friendly, energetic. Those are great characteristics to have in sales; however, a great personality alone will not lead to increased sales. The truth is there are a lot of nice people who just don’t have the killer instinct to ask for the sale. Top salespeople typically fit into the hunter or results-oriented profile.

So, how do you know before you hire someone if he or she fits the mold? Over time, we have come to depend on assessment surveys such as the DiSC assessment and Predictive Index to help us identify people with true sales personalities. Personality profiles offer an objective overview of a person’s strengths and weaknesses. Business development is a long game. It may be six months to a year before you realize that your business developer will not make it. Making the wrong hire is not only expensive but may set your sales efforts back a full year.

Develop a strategic sales plan

Any great success starts with planning. In commercial maintenance sales, a great plan starts with a breakdown of key targets, including:

  • Properties;
  • Management companies;
  • Market segments; and
  • Geography.

Properties come in all shapes and sizes. To maximize your return on people and assets, focus on properties that will support at least half a day’s worth of “green” work during the growing season. If you are in a snow market, layer in hard surfaces such as roads, sidewalks and parking for additional “white” opportunities. Shy away from smaller sites such as banks, convenience stores and sites with small green footprints where mobilization costs can eat up your day and your profits.

In each market, there are top property management companies that control a portfolio of desirable accounts. Identify these companies and build an organizational chart that includes the properties and property managers associated with them. Develop a working plan to get to know the decision-makers within each company. Consider offering to sponsor a luncheon where you and your team can introduce your company and offer insights and training to your target prospects.

Not all commercial properties are created equal. Properties can be broken down into market segments or verticals. Traditional market segments include commercial, retail, multifamily, hospitality, industrial, municipal, institutional and homeowner associations/property owner associations. Each market segment has its nuances, including how they are managed, the value they place on landscaping and what they expect from a landscape service provider. Determine which market segments are best for your company and be laser-focused on identifying top targets and offering landscape solutions that meet their specific goals.

Take some time to break your market area into geographic sections. Within each section, develop a canvassing plan to identify potential targets. Plan your prospecting time in key areas until they are fully prospected. Sell into targeted areas to develop route density.

Follow the sales process.

Hope is not a strategy! At Envisor, we believe that all commercial sales follow a seven-step process from target to close:

  1. Develop your target list.
  2. Identify and connect with your prospect or decision-maker.
  3. Quantify their ability to buy: Are they the decision-maker? Are they ready to make a change?
  4. Develop a needs analysis: What are the landscape challenges, and how can you solve them?
  5. Present a customized proposal to address their needs.
  6. Negotiate based on value and strategy.
  7. Close the deal.

By understanding and following the sales process with each opportunity, successful business developers put themselves in a position to win well before getting to the closing table.

Now that you know the keys to successful commercial maintenance sales success, you are ready to win your share of this incredibly satisfying piece of the landscape industry. Now, get out and sell something!

About the Author:

Thomas, founder of Envisor Consulting, has owned three of Atlanta’s most successful landscape companies. He is the COO of The Greenery and principal of Envisor Consulting. Reach him at kenthomas@envisorco.com.

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