High Performance: How badly do you want the sale?

April 11, 2017 -  By


I recently had the opportunity to see two green industry salespeople in action, competing for my tree care business. Both companies were referred to me by my neighbors. I called each company and was pleasantly surprised that both salespeople were available to meet with me the same day about an hour apart from each other.

Company A’s salesperson arrived in a new, clean and shiny pickup truck with the company’s logo on the door. He was well dressed in khakis and polo shirt with company logo. I wasn’t at all surprised since he was representing one of the area’s largest tree companies. He asked me what I needed done, made a few notes, and told me he would type up a proposal and send it to me in the mail. Our meeting lasted five minutes.

Company B’s salesperson showed up in an old, dirty pickup truck with no logo. A rough-looking man stepped toward me carrying a pen and a small dog-eared notepad. He had clearly been working all day as he was covered in sawdust. Bobby smiled and introduced himself as the owner. He thanked me for meeting him in the evening so he could stay on a job site with his crew. He asked me what I needed done, and said, “Let’s go.” As we walked the property together, he asked me a bunch of questions, getting to know me and my property. Stopping at each tree, he made specific notes, explained to me how he would take care of each tree uniquely, and tagged each tree.

A group of the trees were a distance from the house. He offered to give me a ride in his truck or meet him there. I climbed in, placing my feet on a pile of neatly coiled ropes. He apologized for the condition of the truck but then went on to explain with pride how he had acquired this truck, how he has cared for it over the years, and how it’s still running like a champ with over 300,000 miles. After making notes and explaining his strategy for each of the remaining trees, he gave me a price and extended his hand with a one-word closing line, “Deal?”

Bobby was with me for about 20 minutes. During this time, he showed personal interest, a solid grasp of what I needed, reassured me that he had the expertise, gave me a price and asked for my business. I was impressed.

It’s been a week since the meetings happened. I’m still waiting for my proposal from Company A. I don’t recall the name of the salesperson, but it’s irrelevant. Bobby is all set up to do the work this week.

It’s possible that Company A didn’t want or need my business. If so, they made this abundantly clear. But, it’s also possible that the salesperson simply wasn’t hungry, which is a shame for Company A because I’m going to be a good, long-term customer. Bobby wanted the sale and he got it.

How badly do your salespeople want the sale?

Now go forth.

Photo: iStock/PeopleImages

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

3 Comments on "High Performance: How badly do you want the sale?"

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  1. That’s a great story. I actually laughed because I was sure you were going to say company A got the work.
    Bobby was professional, and passionate about his business. The individual wins over ” branding”
    Thank you.

  2. Sean says:

    Bobby had skin in the game.

    Thanks for the report. Always refreshing to hear stories like this. You don’t need new to be the best.

  3. Debbie Neese says:

    Phil: Great story. It’s all about building relationships first. No matter how polished you are, if you’re not personable the client will see right through it. This is a great story to share when training sales people!