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How to build an effective sales team

February 16, 2021 -  By
Upward building block toward target (Photo: Dilok Klaisataporn / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus)

Photo: Dilok Klaisataporn / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus

If you truly want to scale a world class lawn and landscape business, you must build and grow an effective sales team.

To do that, you must become quite good at sales management.

The challenge is that you can’t learn sales management at school or university. So, how do you learn to be a great sales manager and build a great team?

Paul Reder, CEO of Reder Landscaping, knows the answer.

I have known and worked with Paul and his partners for about eight years now, and I have delighted in both helping and watching them grow dramatically over the past decade.

Paul, who is a member of my community, volunteered to be interviewed for my podcast, and he shared his insights on becoming an excellent sales manager.

Here are seven takeaways that you can implement immediately:

1. Become an encourager. Paul realized that being a transactional manager won’t cut it. (He is also the company’s CFO, which requires analytical thinking.) Paul shifted to being more of an encouraging coach, and his sales team grew and flourished.

2. Use incentives to break through your own thinking. He thought it might be possible for his salespeople to hit even higher sales goals. By being creative with his incentives, he found that his salespeople made immediate improvements of $100,000 to $200,000 in sales from one year to the next.

3. Data is your friend. Paul changed his commission plan to tie into the profitability of the work as built. He had the data to back it up, so his sales team went along with the changes. Now, his salespeople and production people are tied in together.

4. High earners DON’T want ceilings. Paul discovered that he could attract the very best salespeople to his company by showing them how to earn large payouts, with no ceilings on what they can earn. The sky is the limit for the very best.

5. Salespeople like to sell. In the winter, Paul does not distract his dedicated salespeople with production (snow anyone?) and instead keeps them focused on initiatives focused on building marketing and sales. He doesn’t see a lot of snow, so it’s easy for him. Not every company can do this, but those that do will grow faster.

6. Become a marketing expert. If you want to grow your sales, you must provide the branding support and name recognition (and lead flow if you are doing residential work). Great salespeople want to work for great companies with great branding and marketing.

7. Operations must keep up. To scale your business with great salespeople, you need scalable operations, which is what Paul’s two brothers, Mike and Dave, and their teams, provide. Great salespeople must believe in your operations.

Your challenge:

It’s pretty clear that if you want to scale your business, you must become proficient at sales management.

Someone needs to be the sales manager in your firm, not just a note-taker, but someone who has good analytics, brings accountability, support, encouragement and sales strategy.

It takes personal effort and drive to learn sales management skills. Make it a personal learning goal.

It requires the entire company to support and stand behind your salespeople. They need to “believe” in your operations 100 percent, and if they do, they will run through walls for you.

The author is leading a virtual Sales Management Master Class on March 12.

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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com.

2 Comments on "How to build an effective sales team"

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  1. We have gone through periods in our business of really struggling with our sales team. Thank you for this article. Very informative – I especially enjoyed the part about becoming a marketing expert myself before being able to lead a good sales team. Planning to put more effort into my marketing education. Thanks again

  2. Good article. I need to rethink my sales process and sales team. This is good food for thought. Do you have suggestions for how to find salespeople in the first place? Thanks