Peer group pros talk sales in Austin

September 28, 2016 -  By

The Better Than Both peer group, facilitated by landscape industry consultant Bruce Wilson, held a Sales Summit in Austin, Texas, Sept. 19-21. It was hosted by Native Land Design and drew 71 attendees from the seven peer group company members and another 15 attendees from sponsors.

The event is the inaugural “university” held by this peer group, which means key staff attended the meeting for education and networking. Typically, the owners are the only ones who attend the peer group meetings. The Better Than Both peer group companies include Native Land Design, Level Green Landscaping, Duke’s Landscape Management, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, Greenscape, Mike Ward Landscaping and Conserve LandCare.

Sales strategies were the focus of the two-and-a-half day meeting. The peer group members are primarily commercial landscape maintenance firms.

Mark Adamson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for snow plow manufacturer Douglas Dynamics, led a session focusing on customer behavior, demonstrating how professionals can identify which one of four behavior styles their clients have and how to sell to each type. He also had attendees do self evaluations to determine which behavior styles they possess.

Behavior styles include:

  • Eagle (“dominance” in DiSC assessments);
  • Rooster (“influence” in DiSC assessments);
  • Dove (“support” in DiSC assessments); or
  • Owl (“conscientiousness” in DiSC assessment).

It’s important to know your clients’ behavior style and communication preferences because the “golden rule” (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) doesn’t apply in sales, Adamson says. It’s trumped by the “sales rule,” which is: “Sell unto others as they want to be sold unto.”

You have a one in four chance of “clicking” with a client or prospect because people typically like people who behave the same way as they do. If you can learn to identify others’ styles and find strategies to give them the information they prefer to make a decision, you will find success, he said.

Finally, Adamson said, salespeople should strive for the “three Es” of customer service in all their client interactions: be exact, make it easy and make it enjoyable. The last one is the tie breaker, he said, and good salespeople adapt to their clients’ styles to put them at ease.

Attendees also participated in a panel discussion with three of Native Land Design’s commercial clients, heard from sales and leadership consultant John Costigan and had an opportunity to meet with sponsors during the vendor display time. Look for more coverage of the client panel in an upcoming issue of Landscape Management.

Photos: Native Land Design







Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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