Political landscaping

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May 2, 2016

Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author. He owns Grunder Landscaping Co. www.martygrunder.com; mgrunder@giemedia.com

Photo courtesy of Marty Grunder

With the current focus on finding the Republican and Democratic nominees for president of the United States, there are lessons all over the place from all of these candidates. In assessing the situation, I came up with six lessons to learn from these politicians, who aspire to hold the most powerful office in the U.S.

1. Talk about what you can do, not what your competition can’t do. The political airwaves are full of negative ads sharing horrible insight on candidates. I guess they work or they wouldn’t do them. However, imagine what your community would be like if your competitors advertised why no one should hire your company to do landscaping?

Tell the world what you do well and how you can help them. Be specific about the value you bring to the table and talk about that over and over again. Wave to your competition, speak nicely about them and to them, and, in the long run, you will win.

2. Be honest. It sounds silly, but being honest is one of the top reasons clients will pick you. If you can’t get their job done before a birthday party, tell them. If you’re running out of work and may have to lay some folks off, tell your team. Don’t avoid tough conversations. People want to work with and for companies that have integrity. Reputation sells and a great reputation has its roots in honesty.

3. Make your clients happy. One bad day and you could be done as a politician. Thankfully, in business, most of us get a few chances to impress. When you consistently put your best foot forward and when 99 times out of 100 your clients are happy, your community realizes this and business comes to you accordingly.

In politics, if you make a mistake, there’s little you can do to fix that. You either get forced out of office or you don’t get re-elected. Pay attention to what you say and do and deliver as promised, and your business will flourish.

4. Get your name out. No one has done this as well as Donald Trump. I would never advocate doing some of the things he does. However, I would suggest you look for ways you can get your name out there that don’t cost anything.

Social media, in moderation, makes sense. Having good relations with the local media and calling them with story ideas is smart. I am on TV or in the news several times a year in our marketplace just by asking and being easy to work with. Jobsite signs, like campaign signs, are an inexpensive way to get your name out. We use the signs (pictured to the left) and people get a kick out of them. Steal this idea!

5. Have a plan. Your clients don’t want to work with someone who has no plan. They are hiring you for your expertise and guidance.

It is almost impossible to sell a new backyard retreat with a pool, fireplace, outdoor kitchen and patio without construction drawings, but some of us try to do that. That doesn’t work very well and will almost guarantee you won’t make the profit you could off the job.

The politicians we are listening to at times don’t have a plan. Well-informed landscape professionals with plans win in our industry time and time again.

6. Have a single message. Don’t try to be all things to all people. The most successful landscape professionals in the United States are focused on doing one thing well. Bartlett Tree Experts, the wildly successful international arborist firm, takes care of trees. That’s it. They don’t mow, build patios or plow snow and they succeed because of their focus.

At Grunder Landscaping Co., who you vote for is your own business. I still care about you and I try to listen to all my people and, in the end as a leader, I have to do what’s best for everyone. However, I do listen and I do think. Our country needs a change. Too many of us don’t feel like what we feel and need matters.

Learn from this. Where would your business be if your clients felt that you did not understand what they want and need, and that you weren’t listening to them? A good thought to ponder indeed.