Sales dos and donts

Columns - Industry Voices

November 5, 2013
Marty Grunder
Marty Grunder


Marty Grunder

Through the years I have learned a lot about what makes a good sales professional in our industry and what makes a bad one. I am fortunate to have an outstanding sales team here at Grunder Landscaping so I went to Kent, Brent and Seth and asked them to help me with this month’s column. So here are our tips to help you make more sales:  

When entering the person’s home for the first time, offer to remove your shoes. Just remember not to have holes in your socks – not that it has ever happened to one of us!

Always wear a shirt with your logo on it. Sure, some of you may think this is silly, but you would be stunned to see the amount of work we have sold to strangers once they saw our company shirt. It’s a big-time conversation starter and it looks good too.

Do not chew gum, carry a coffee with you, eat, suck on a mint or anything of the sort in front of a client or prospect. It’s disrespectful and makes you look cocky. And I don’t think we even need to mention smoking in any form at all!

Turn your cell phone to airplane mode. Nothing important is going to happen in the next hour other than making a sale by being focused and free of distractions. It’s rude to have your phone ringing, vibrating or anything of the sort.  

Be five minutes early for all calls. It’s better to be early than late or at least shoot for that. If you are going to be late, even one minute, call and inform the client or prospect.

Don’t park your sales vehicle on the driveway of the prospect or client. You don’t want to block someone from coming or going and you also don’t want to be blamed for leaking oil on their drive, not that any of us would drive a vehicle that leaks oil or anything.

Have a clean car/truck when you pull up to a client’s property. Would you want a contractor pulling up in your driveway with a dirty, beat-up truck?

This should be an easy one; SMILE and act like you want to be there! Sure, there are times when we would rather be doing something else or have other things on our minds. When you meet with a prospect, you are on their time so be enthusiastic!!

Show up at the appointment with as few accoutrements as possible. We carry iPads and that’s about it. There’s no need to carry anything else. You’re only going to be with them for an hour or so, not staying the weekend, so travel light and be simple. 

Be prepared for the appointment. During the initial phone call into the office, you should have talked about what the potential client wanted to accomplish with the project and key features they would like to see incorporated in the design. Be prepared to talk about those ideas and key features and bring supporting documents – pictures, catalogues, brochures. Show that you listened during the phone conversation.

Introduce yourself with a firm handshake.
Not one that hurts, but not one that makes you seem like a wimp either. 

Call the client or prospect by their formal name, Mr. or Mrs. Smith, etc. If they request you call them by their first name, then do so; until that happens, it’s last names only.

Take time (5-10 minutes) to make small talk. Find a topic of common ground that you connect on and grow a relationship. Don’t be in a hurry to sell! Make note of the client/prospect’s kids’ and/or pet’s names. Believe it or not, we know that we’ve sold jobs for the pure fact that we get along with people’s pets and take them treats when we go back.

Set up the return visit or determine the next action step before leaving. Leave the meeting with a clear plan for moving forward. For example: “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, you’ve given me plenty of information to design a wonderful backyard retreat. I’m going to return to the office to begin the design and proposal process which will take two weeks. We’ll then schedule a time to present the design and proposals. Please allow 1-1 ½ hours to review the design and proposal in detail. At that meeting we’ll then discuss the next step for revisions, if needed, and scheduling the project.”

These are just a few tips that, if you follow, you can and will sell more. Are they basic and simple? Yes … and that’s why they work.


Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See; mail