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Leadership Advantage: Retaining to grow

April 4, 2017 -  By

Ben Gandy.

Ensuring great relationships requires effort. Charisma and charm are great, but charm is not a strategy. Clients of landscape services are primarily looking for trust, expert advice, proactivity and effective communication.

Trust is earned on two levels: honesty and keeping commitments. While few of us will blatantly lie to a client, it’s tempting to tell less than the full truth at times. Transparency and openness, even about our errors, matters to clients.

Clients will ask for advice eventually, and they expect us to be the experts. While no one knows everything about landscaping, having basic knowledge of plants, turf and agronomics goes a long way.

Proactivity means providing landscape improvement ideas before they’re requested and reporting on problems before the client is aware of them.

Finally, effective communication starts with clear bullets whether by phone, email or text, followed by supporting information. Starting with the detail rather than the bullets is not effective. Explain who, what, when, where and how. It’s frustrating to get a critical email that requires researching the thread to understand the comments. It’s also frustrating to wade through paragraphs of information to find an answer. Effective communication is not the same as polite or sincere communication, it’s providing clarity in a succinct and professional way that leads to decisions and actions. Remember, people hire and do business with who they know, like, trust and respect.

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