Showing your stuff

Columns - Industry Voices

This month I want share with you some ways you can clearly show the value you bring to the table.

July 19, 2012

Marty Grunder

Last month we spoke about identifying what a potential client is looking for and I gave you many ideas to help find out what the prospect values. This month I want share with you some ways you can clearly show the value you bring to the table. There are three big ways to do this. There are to:

  1. Tell them yourself
  2. Show them yourself
  3. Have your clients tell them

1. Tell them yourself. Dizzy Dean, the baseball player, once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you done did it.” You must exude confidence when you are selling. You have to know and love your product and service inside and out. Again, you must know and love your product inside and out. Throwing a new graduate in landscape architecture into a car and having her call on clients is a big mistake. How many jobs has a 23-year-old L.A. grad done? How many transactions has someone that age done themselves to understand how sales work?

The biggest mistakes I’ve made in business were putting people into a sales role before they were ready for it. So, you must know your product and you must love your product. If you don’t, you’ll never do well selling it. The issue is you need to be honest; that’s the difference. Facts and results are hard to argue. Tell them!

If your work has won national awards, tell your clients. If you just finished a great job for their neighbor and you got that client from your positive reviews on Angie’s List, then tell them. If you’re booked up for months because people are willing to wait for your creativity and quality, tell them. It’s one thing to say you are the best, but it’s another to have irrefutable evidence that this is true.

2. Show them yourself.
We are fortunate that, unlike a lot of other businesses, you can show your prospects photos of all the good things you’ve done. You’ve heard a picture is worth a thousand words, right? It might be worth more than that actually. With today’s technology, there really is no excuse not to carry an iPad or laptop chock full of photos, letters of recommendation, and even video testimonials showing that you are who you say you are.

Be prepared for your selling efforts. Showing up with only a proposal is an easy way to lump yourself with all the “other” landscapers in the world.

If you truly want to differentiate yourself, you have to put forth the effort to show your prospects what you do and why you are better. You can even drive them around and show them your work. Showing your prospects your work is an incredibly powerful way to sell work and communicate the value you bring to the table beyond what words on a proposal can say. We live in a busy world and you have a slim window to catch their attention; do so with technology. Show them!

3. Have your clients tell them.
What others say about you is infinitely more impressive and convincing than what you say about yourself. We literally have hundreds and hundreds of testimonials from our happy clients. Other landscapers that I work with and coach are often amazed by this. They ask me how we get them.

There are two ways. First of all, we get a ton of them without even asking for them. And we get more of them simply by asking for them.

If you are having trouble getting testimonials, I suggest you look at the quality of the product and service you are offering. If you do great work, you will get testimonials naturally.

And if you feel you do great work, but aren’t getting overwhelmed with testimonials, then just ask in a survey and politely push the issue.

If you do great work, you’ll get them. No one can refute the power of having your current happy clients tell prospects about your company. It works.

In fact, just last week, my sales associate Brent gave a prospect the name and number of one of our happy clients.

Brent’s prospect called my client asking them if we did good work and were a company they should work with right now.

My client told Brent’s prospect to come over and look for themselves. This couple spent an hour with my client and I am happy to report Brent got the job. Have your clients show them!

Prospects become clients when they see value in what you bring to the table.

If you listen well and screen your prospects like we talked about last month and tell them, show them and have your clients tell them, you can and will improve your selling efforts.

To view last month’s column from Marty, visit and search “do your homework.”

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