Grow with Grunder: Why building personal relationships helps make the sale

June 15, 2022 -  By
Marty Grunder

Marty Grunder

At Grunder Landscaping, we have long believed in the power of relationships to close sales, find team members and grow our business. We’ve built strong relationships in our community, and it has paid dividends in our years in business.

I’ve been asked before how landscape professionals should go about meeting people and the best way to start building those relationships. Knowing that so many of you have big growth goals this year, I thought this month we’d talk about how to build and leverage relationships:

1. Join community organizations.

Meet your prospective clients where they are. Whether you primarily do residential or commercial work, your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. An association for builders or real estate agents is a great organization to join if you specialize in residential work. We’ve also found that getting involved with arts and charity events has been a good source of leads and relationships. Don’t go into these events thinking about how you’ll make a sale but instead find ways to give back to the community and meet new people. Be yourself, make relationships and the sales will follow naturally.

2. Build relationships where you already are.

We’ve belonged to the same club since my kids were younger and would spend the summer at the pool. I decided to take up golfing a few years ago when we became empty nesters and made so many new connections by playing and signing up for the golf events at the club. I belonged to this club for 10 years before I really started taking advantage of the relationships I could build there, and it led to new clients for both residential and commercial work. Build relationships doing things you enjoy so you can be your authentic self while doing it.

3. Do your research.

We’re going after new commercial maintenance clients this year, and my team and I refuse to do any cold calling. We feel there’s no excuse to call on a prospective client without doing some research ahead of time so we know something about them and their business. Every call we go on is a warm call. We may have never met the prospect personally, but we use LinkedIn, the website for the business and other tools to know something ahead of our visit. We can use that intel to ask someone else to introduce us or to personalize our outreach to make it more relevant.

People do business with people they know, like and trust. Relationships have been a driver of our success for years, and a key driver of our growth for 2021 and 2022.

In June, we’ll visit R.P. Marzilli & Co. as part of the Field Trip we host in partnership with the National Association of Landscape Professionals. R.P. Marzilli is a much larger company than mine, with $53 million in annual revenue in Boston. Their team is well-known for the high quality of their work and the focus they put on craftsmanship and relationships. The team does great work and has built strong relationships within their community that drive referrals to the point where they have dedicated account and project managers but not a dedicated sales team.

I’m looking forward to going behind the scenes to find ways we could become even better at relationship selling at Grunder Landscaping. Learn more:

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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