More ‘magic’ from the Real Green conference

January 18, 2017 -  By

Real Green’s user conference, “Solutions 2017: The Magic of Marketing,” ended Jan. 13 with attendees abuzz about how much they learned. The launch of its new software, Service Assistant (SA) 5, has many enhancements and features; several breakout sessions were devoted to training and maximizing them for individual pest management and lawn care companies.

Several Real Green industry partners also gave presentations during the event, including LM columnist Dan Gordon. His Jan. 12 seminar focused on “10 Things Every Lawn Care Operator Needs to Know About Financial Statements.”

In another session, Tina Bacigalupo, a high school guidance counselor with a human resources background, presented “The Magic of Motivating and Retaining Talent.”

Bacigalupo spoke at length about the importance of having the right people in the right positions at your company, and keeping them motivated. Motivation is personal, she said: “If you can tap into that, you can have significant influence with your employees, and in your life.”

She pointed out that people are motivated by different things. Money, prestige, time off, flexible schedules, a pleasant work environment — it’s important to know what is going to keep employees loyal and productive. To that end, Bacigalupo began the second half of the session with even more interaction:


When the color bracelets came out, we knew we were in for something interesting.

Bacigalupo is also a certified trainer in Real Colors. Attendees filled out a personality profile and learned what four color categories mean from a motivation and happiness standpoint. Naturally, she noted, “we’re all a ‘swirl’ of the blue, gold, green and orange, but the dominant color usually is a good indicator on how we learn and on what makes us happy.”

Andy Yavello

“I talk to way too many people who only send statements when it rains,” lamented Andy Yavello.

American Profit Recovery’s Andy Yavello had a full room for “Collections 101.” His three keys to recouping as many late payments as you can include:

  1. Invoice at time of service.
  2. Educate the customers on the price of their programs, so there is no misunderstanding when they receive their invoices. One attendee noted that recording every phone call that comes into the office has been beneficial, as there have been instances where a wife calls to complain she did not authorize a service, yet can be sent a .wav file of her husband’s voice on a previous call doing exactly that.
  3. Train your staff to keep after delinquent payments.
Fred Haskett

Fred Haskett noted that add-on services can generate high gross margins (+/- 50 percent) and usually are total of 20 percent to 30 percent or more of the annual contract value.

Fred Haskett, a consultant with The Harvest Group, joked that he “had a 42-year internship to become a consultant.” His landscape and pest management experience has made him more than qualified to talk about add-on services.

“Done properly,” he said, add-ons can “bring down overhead and cost for producers to sell the work and crews to implement.”

To that end, Christmas Decor Franchise Consultant Mike Donahue gave a mini “Discovery Day” presentation to attendees of his session, noting how holiday lighting business can boost revenue during the off season.

“We not only help you diversify services, but attract affluent clients,” Donahue said.

The last session I attended before the Vendor Reception was presented by Bell Labs’ Patrick Lynch. He planned to present rodent basics to lawn care professionals looking to expand their services, but many of the sessions’ attendees were pest management professionals looking to expand their rodent knowledge. Lynch addressed both groups.

Patrick Lynch

Bell’s Patrick Lynch noted that new industry labeling is giving professionals the opportunity to add voles to their rodent repertoire.

He underscored the importance of rodent control in a technologically connected world by noting even one single mouse sighting can cause a negative online review for a commercial account: “And once that goes viral, it’s out of your hands.”

To ensure zero tolerance for rodents, he added, “You have to take it seriously and price it seriously.”

This story was written by Heather Gooch, editor of Landscape Management‘s sister publication, Pest Management Professional.


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