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Profit Power: The communication growth engine — 6 keys to communication success

September 16, 2019 -  By

Last week I met with Jason Cromley, president of Hidden Creek Landscaping — we visited his facility during our Design Build Growth Summit.

He shared with the 175 people who attended (the Design Build Growth Summit) how his company communicates with its clientele as a process of meeting and exceeding expectations.

When you heard the extent of their communication, it might have sounded like a bit much, but he was right on track!

In my experience as a landscape industry consultant, I have found that the strategy and process of overcommunicating is the most important one you will ever implement in your company. Ever!

When I take on a new consulting client, I survey all their key employees to learn about the low hanging fruit: the biggest and also easiest problems to fix. (Sometimes I call this the rotten fruit, because these problems are often eating away at the company morale, productivity and reputation.)

Communication problems are always high on this list of low-hanging rotten fruit. These problems infiltrate all levels of your company, and it starts internally.

  • Owner’s vision is unclear and poorly communicated
  • Communication between departments is siloed and erratic
  • Salespeople or project managers are not giving adequate information on work orders
  • Leadership teams are not gelled due to poor communication
  • Company is making changes without the troops being informed
  • Employees don’t know how well they, or their company, are doing

The list goes on and on …

Six keys to over communication success

These six points (see the figure below) will guide your improvements and business growth.

– Overshare: Keep sharing the same message (safety, vision, reward systems, etc.) over and over until your people can almost read your mind. When they can cut you off and repeat what you are saying, you have succeeded.

– Involve: Involve your people in sharing the messages and ideas. Don’t be the only speaker in your meetings. If there are five people in that meeting, you should speak no more than one-fifth of the time (unless you are an introvert, in which case you should speak no less than one-fifth of the time).

– Update: Build follow up into your communication systems. Never ever let more than a week go by when a client or employee is waiting on something long term from you. And cut that in half or even a quarter for something short term.

– Predict: Many issues that cause problems can be predicted. Proactively communicate the problem and solution, before the employee or client complains.

– Systematize: Build processes (when and how to communicate) and templates (repeated emails) so you can ensure communication is consistent and happening in peak seasons.

– Close the loop: Ask for understanding. Telling is not the same as understanding. Close the loop and make sure the person understood your communication by retelling it in his or her own words or by asking for confirmation. You may be surprised how fast your information loses accuracy.

Photo: Jeffrey Scott

Photo: Jeffrey Scott

Overcommunication is the secret to success in any service business, especially in the lawn, landscape or irrigation industries due to the high chance of errors and inconsistencies. And it starts internally with your employees.

Your challenge: Ask your staff for feedback on where your communication is strong, and where it is weak. Gather their perceptions and create new systems and habits that address the most recurring and most damaging ones.

Then do the same with your clients, ensuring you are addressing their most common and most important questions and concerns by building cultures and systems and training your people to overcommunicate.

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.

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