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4 sales mistakes you can’t afford to make

June 12, 2019 -  By
Chess pieces (Photo: Le Moal)

(Photo: Le Moal)

As we all know, sales are to a landscaping company what gas is to a truck — without them, and a steady supply for the months ahead, you aren’t going anywhere for long. But succeeding at sales takes real planning and focus. This month, take a good look at your current approach and ensure you’re steering clear of these crucial mistakes when it comes to closing deals and building a sustainable future for your company.

Not knowing who your ideal client is. The most successful companies know who their ideal client is and keenly focus their sales efforts on finding and winning over the prospects who fit that profile. This saves them from chasing blindly after every prospect that comes their way and from all the headache and heartache that comes with saying yes when they should have politely said no to a job they’re not equipped to do or can’t make money on.

How do you define your ideal client? It’s the property owner or manager with whom you 1. Enjoy working 2. Can do repeat business and 3. From whom you can net the most profit. Look over your current client list and identify those who fit this criteria. What characteristics do they share? Where do they live? Work? Shop? What is their average age? Use this data to help you find other people like them, and then be deliberate and disciplined in your pursuit.

Not arriving fully prepared at sales appointments. In today’s fast-paced world, you don’t have time to waste, and neither do your prospects. Spend the effort upfront on screening calls to ensure your company is a good fit; if it is, use the intel you gathered on the call to show up at the prospect’s door armed and ready. Bring accurate drawings. Load photos on an iPad of similar projects you’ve done and ideas you have. Arrive with plants you want to use so they can see the quality of the materials you use. Rehearse what you want to say on your drive over, park in the street so you aren’t blocking the driveway and then take several steps back after you ring their doorbell — be polite and professional. Like the old advertising slogan goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Not listening. Smart salespeople know to ask questions and then to shut up and listen. Sales calls are not about you; they’re about your prospects. It’s their property. What do they want, and how can you help them get it? What concerns do they have, and how can you allay them? What don’t they like about their landscape, and what can you do to fix it? Listening will get you a thousand times further than talking.

Not following up. Many companies invest time and effort in pitching a job to a prospect, and then when they don’t hear back, they assume they didn’t win the sale and cross that prospect off the list. Often, these are missed opportunities. Instead, discuss next steps with prospects at the end of your sales appointments. Ask if you may call them in a week. When you call, ask if they have a minute; tell them again how much you’d love to work with them. Ask if it would help if you came by again. Don’t push too much and risk alienating them, but do try to keep the dialogue going if they haven’t made a final decision yet. And if they have, and you don’t win the job, send a thank-you note anyway and keep the door open for the future. You never know where it will lead.

See you next month!

This article is tagged with and posted in 0519, Featured
Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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