Start the year with success

Departments - Sales Call

January 2, 2018

Sales Call offers landscapers Marty Grunder’s practical and tactical advice on how to improve their sales and marketing, and grow their company’s bottom line.

© m-gucci | iStockphoto

Before we all dive headlong into a new year, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on 2017. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Where did you come up short? What lessons did you learn? What will you stop, keep or change doing? Here are my biggest takeaways from 2017:

Make time to talk regularly, one on one, with your clients and your team members.

You’ll be surprised by what you learn. I had one employee who I thought was doing a great job until I started talking directly with those he worked for and with. It turns out they were frequently disappointed or frustrated with him. He didn’t follow through, they said. He was hard to reach and harder still to get through to. They felt he didn’t seem to care about the work anymore, and the evidence backed them up, with tasks not done, balls dropped, avoidable mistakes made.

Had I made the time to check in more regularly with my clients, my team and this particular employee, I would have uncovered these inconsistencies much sooner and saved us all some grief. Instead, I got complacent. No more. Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trusting people, but I am going to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with my direct reports in 2018, and I’ve asked my managers to do the same, not just to fix what’s wrong – sometimes you very pleasantly discover what’s right. I started doing one-on-ones with another direct report and found out he was doing more than I ever realized and has great ideas for making Grunder Landscaping better.

Sales process drives deals.

I’ve always known sales are key, but I haven’t been as dialed in on the actual process as I should have been. Now I see how capturing every single detail on my drawings and my quotes makes it easier for everyone to do their jobs. I know you might be thinking, ‘how could I not know that?’

The truth is that while I’m confident in my ability to network and close deals and I have a clear vision of where I want to take my company, I’m not always good about the daily details. Now I have a new vice president of sales who’s a master of specifics driving the process and I can’t wait to see where we go with him at the helm.

Family is everything.

When you’re nearly half a century old (yikes!), you tend to have a different perspective on life than your younger, brasher self did. I’m no longer motivated to make money in order to serve my ego or acquire more things but rather for the time it buys me to spend with my wife and kids. What can I delegate to capable team members so I can take more time off to spend with them? I’ve challenged myself to take concrete steps in 2018 to lessen my company’s dependence on me. This includes reorganizing and redefining some key positions as well as communicating a clear career path for talented junior team members.

Make yourself accountable.

As business owners, we talk a lot about holding team members accountable, but who really holds us accountable? Years ago, I was too stingy with my money to pay others to help me do things I thought I should be able to do myself. Now, I’ll gladly pay experts to help me improve my fitness, my mental well-being, my leadership skills and my finances. We all benefit from the advice and discipline of a good coach who can see us in a way we can’t see ourselves and insistently hold us to our own goals. Really, it’s the best money I’ve ever spent.

Speaking of which, you can help hold me accountable too. I need to lose 15 pounds by Feb. 19 when I and my team at Marty Grunder! Inc. kick off our GROW! 2018 Annual Conference in Florida. There’s no way I’m getting on stage in front of 500 ambitious landscape pros at the beautiful Grand Hyatt overlooking Tampa Bay in my current state. We’ve got three days of all-new interactive programming planned with some of the best minds in the business. Come and get inspired and empowered to succeed, and hold me to my goal.

Here’s to a great new year.

Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author. He owns Grunder Landscaping Co.