It’s showtime

Features - Interview

Jon Petz shows you how to perform on the big stage with clients and employees.

January 18, 2013
Chuck Bowen

Next time you are face-to-face with a customer or employee, remember, you are an entertainer.

And as part of being an entertainer, you have to – no matter how you are feeling – create what Jon Petz calls “showtime” moments.

“As a speaker and entertainer, we have these opportunities where we’ve traveled all night. We’re tired. We’re hungry,” says Petz, a corporate and motivational speaker.

“And whether you feel like it or not, sometimes the audience really doesn’t care. They have an expectation. They want an experience.”

As a business owner, you have to look at your audience the same way and you have to provide them with the showtime moments that they will remember you by.

“Anyone can meet an expectation,” he says. “But people talk about people who create an experience.”

We caught up with Petz and found out how you can create those memorable experiences.

L&L: Coming from a perspective of a small business owner who is spending a good portion of his day out in the field doing the work – how can you set yourself up to create showtime moments?

Jon Petz: How do you create it? Realistically, I’m in the same situation. I’m a small business owner that’s putting out fires and running in different directions, and out in the field too. So I really relate to these folks.

I think sometimes we are so focused – we get so focused on obviously the important things – the company’s financials, putting out the fires.

And, oftentimes, we don’t take a pause, an operational pause, to really gain a bigger perspective of what we’re all about and why we’re doing it.

We each have a different parameter of customer, and we really need to understand what that one customer’s dreams and desires are for their front yard, their back yard, their corporate environment. Then we can kind of create that culture of that environment for that.

L&L: Most owners of landscaping companies are on the road visiting job sites a lot. How can a leader work on employee engagement outside of an office environment?

Jon Petz: Take a true interest in the person and their own personal goals and interests. That engagement always comes back to that. If you want someone to be engaged, what’s their passion?

I mean they’re working for you, realistically, because they need to feed the family. We all understand that. So what truly is the why? Why are they getting the hourly check?

If you’re going to lose someone for 10 cents an hour across the street, there’s probably something amiss in terms of what you’re not understanding about that person.

Understand the true goals and passions of that individual. What do they hope to accomplish? Do they want to be their own landscape company one day? Is this the summer job that is a way to pay for school?

What’s the real reason? The “why” is what it comes back to.

Because if they’re happy, if they’re reaching their goals, if they’re engaged, man, then my customers are happy. Our bottom line is increasing. Boom. That’s where you want to go with that.

L&L: Can you talk a little bit about what you learned about how to really have an effective meeting, and how you define what an effective meeting is?

Jon Petz: I think so often, today, the excuse for so many conversations is – “Well, let’s just have a meeting about that.”

People walk in the door with no real goals of what the meeting is sometimes.

And worse yet, what I’ve found is they don’t have the outcome speak. Outcome is: what are we going to accomplish as a result of this meeting?

And people don’t put the thought into it. And realistically, it’s a one-sentence outcome statement. What is the walk-out-the-door statement?

And I think that’s probably the number one thing, that when people ask me to come in, I ask them about. And if we’re doing training or consultation on effective meetings, we start at the beginning. What’s your objective? And what’s your outcome?

And people don’t think about that because they don’t know what they’re going to.

If you can’t figure out what you’re going to, then you’re not prepared. And if you’re not prepared, then you have a lackluster meeting that’s going to create a do-over meeting.


Jon Petz will be the keynote speaker at the Green Industry Great Escape, which will take place Feb. 21-23 in Las Vegas. Visit to register.