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Grow with Grunder: How to make a good impression and win new business

(Photo: fizkes/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: fizkes/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: fizkes/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: fizkes/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.

My mother wasn’t a business owner and didn’t even work for a for-profit company. She taught me what would become arguably the skill that has gotten me the farthest in business: at the end of the day, your ability to deal with other people will determine your success in any part of your life. My mom taught me early on that how I say things matters more than what I actually have to say.

It’s a key lesson I’ve tried to pass on to my own team and to the other landscape professionals I meet.

A tale of two team members

I wrote this column on a flight from Charleston, S.C., to Charlotte, N.C., on my way home from a golf trip that has become an annual tradition with seven of my friends and me. We went to Kiawah Island, played golf, laughed a ton, ate some great food and encountered one very large alligator.

On our first tee time of the weekend, a polite and professional starter greeted us on the course. He told us the pin placements, where the snack bar was, when to expect the drink cart and thanked us for being on the course. It really kicked off the round nicely and left us with a great impression of that course and associated club.

The next day while we were playing, we made the turn after 9 holes and were greeted by another team member on the course named Dick. He was confrontational and told us, “You guys are playing too slow and need to pick up the pace on the back 9.”

We didn’t have a group behind us that we were holding up, so while it wasn’t the fastest game we’d played, it also didn’t seem to cause problems.

Here’s where we get back to my point. He could’ve started a conversation with us and said, “If you see any opportunity to play fast, it would be appreciated! There are a lot of golfers out here today and my job is to make sure everyone is having fun but also playing at a good pace.”

Instead of our group feeling like we were in trouble or unwelcome, we would’ve probably gone along with what he asked of us — happily. It also would’ve left us with a better impression of the course and club.

Good impressions

Every person on our team has the chance to make an impression when they interact with clients or the community, and having a positive attitude and being cheerful can go a long way in winning you more business or improving your client satisfaction. I’ll dive into how exactly teams can do this during a breakout session I’ll lead at Grow! 2024 titled Soft Skills: The Interpersonal Skills Everyone Should Have to Be Successful in Life and Business.

I’d like to end with this: in my experience, you know what rolls downhill. Maybe Dick is just a grumpy guy, or maybe, just maybe, his manager wasn’t kind to him that morning, and he took it out on us. Look up the episode of How I Met Your Mother with the “chain of screaming” if you want a great example of what I mean.

Treat your team with compassion, respect and understanding, and they will, in turn, treat those they come into contact with the same way. I think, especially this holiday season, that’s a great way to impact both your work and personal life.

P.S., if you haven’t signed up yet to join us at Grow! 2024 Feb. 6-8 in Des Moines, Iowa, what are you waiting for? We have a great event planned with breakout sessions to help your team improve sales, operations, customer service, team retention and more.

Check it all out here: GrowGroupInc.com/Grow-2024.

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