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You already know that your landscape sales team is at the heart of your profitability. How they perform can either positively or negatively impact your business. But what can you do to make improvements? How can you ensure that your team is constantly getting better and not repeating bad habits or following ineffective methodologies?
The fact that you’re concerned about these issues is already a step in the right direction. A lot of landscaping companies get stuck in sales rut when they don’t take the time to analyze how their team is doing and what kind of additional support they may need to succeed. After all, you have some accountability in the grand scheme of things—and that is to support your people and give them the tools and skills they need to be the best at growing your company.
We’ve rounded up 7 great landscape sales tips that you can take advantage of in order to improve your landscape sales team. Incorporating these concepts could make a huge difference in your overall success.
1. Take Advantage of Employee Profiling
It’s not uncommon for landscape companies to rely heavily on technical knowledge over personality and hardwired traits. This can be very problematic. That’s because you could have someone who knows everything about grass or hardscaping but is ultimately a terrible fit for a sales role. Expertise will only take them so far and could even be a detriment if they don’t have what it takes to be in sales.
That’s where assessing hard-wired personality traits comes into play. If you are not using some sort of employee profiling, then you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. Using profiling to both assess your existing team, as well as make smarter future hires, helps ensure that you have the right people in the right roles.
The truth is, no matter what training you provide or what changes you try to put in place if an individual’s hardwired behavioral traits are not ideally suited to their job, they are never going to perform to your expectations.
That doesn’t mean you have to fire your people. What it does mean is that you may need to change the way you do things. You may need to add additional support to supplement their weaknesses. Or maybe you even need to put your people into different roles (that is, roles that are better suited for them).
Once you understand your team better from a sales and organizational standpoint, you may need to offer support your people differently.
For some, that could mean integrating technology to help fill the gaps. In other instances, you might need to add additional sales personnel in areas they are weaker. And there may need to be some significant changes warranted to your processes to overcome these challenges.
But it’s hard to know exactly what your team needs to succeed until you do an assessment and first make sure that you have your people in the right positions.
2. Add Support Personnel in Your Landscape Sales Team
If it comes to light that your landscape sales team is trying to do too much (or more than they’re capable of doing given their personality profile results) it may be that the best way to support them is to add more people.
For instance, if a personality profile reveals that you have a team member who is excellent at supporting existing clients but not-so-good at business development, you may need to supplement that skill set with an additional hire.
Your one salesperson may be great at keeping your existing customers happy and even generating new business from them. But when it comes to producing brand-new leads, he just doesn’t have what it takes to close the deal. If you can hire someone new that is excellent at lead generation, you’ve now supported your team in a way that will make them more successful (and will make you more profitable).
In other instances, it may be taking areas of weakness off of their plate. Maybe several of your salespeople get bogged down with some portions of their jobs and excel in others. Adding support people within your organization could take some tasks off of their plate, and have them focus on areas where they are really strong, all while the weaknesses get addressed.
3. Build Accountability Into Your Processes
In assessing your landscape sales team, you also need to review your processes. Do you have accountability built into the sales process? Not all sales happen easily and there can absolutely be some built-in processes that will make your team more successful at closing deals.
For example, you can plan regularly scheduled property inspections to walk-through your existing sites. This not only gives you important facetime with your customers (helping to build relationships) but it also gives you the chance to upsell your services when you come across additional work that could be done.
What about the way your sales team schedules meetings or follows up with clients? Are there built-in processes for these tasks? When you set expectations, such as how soon your salesperson should perform follow-up calls, then you build accountability and you help your sales team to know whether they’re meeting the mark. Without clearly defining your expectations, they really have no way of knowing. That’s why built-in processes are so important.
Also don’t forget that regular feedback and measuring results is critical. Part of your processes should include formal pipeline reporting and addressing areas where each person needs to improve in their jobs.
4. Incorporate Landscape Sales Technology for Support
Technology can also be incorporated into your landscape sales process to help support your team. However, it’s important to mention that there is a reason why we’ve listed technology after processes and that’s because you can have all the technology tools in the world, but if you don’t have good processes in place, you’re still going to fail. The technology supports the processes.
Combining good processes with technical support can definitely be powerful. For example, technology can help you standardize estimating landscaping jobs so that all of your sales team members are producing accurate and consistent proposals. However, if you are not clear that everyone must utilize the same tools, such as the landscape business software you may purchase, then there will be no consistency.
Landscape business software can also improve communication. For example, it can be programmed with reminders that help your sales team to remember to check in with customers who mentioned wanting a particular service performed in the future. Instead of forgetting about it in six months, they can plug all of the details into the software and be reminded to follow up.
5. Provide Formal Landscape Sales Training and Coaching
There’s no question that landscape sales training and coaching can be an effective tool to help your sales team perform better but that’s assuming that you are invested in these tools as ongoing efforts. In other words, if you send your salespeople to one workshop a year and you assume it’s going to improve the way they do business, you’re wrong. It has to be more than that.
That’s because changing old behaviors and ineffective sales tactics will require ongoing and consistent reinforcement. Being involved in a workshop or two won’t help your team out if they come back to the office and fall into the same old habits.
This is why sales coaching, and bringing in an outside sales expert, can be effective. A good coach can provide ongoing support and help you improve where you need it—and everyone could use some extra support in at least one area of business.
A sales coach can help with everything from refining emails to running a sales appointment, and they can provide helpful landscape sales tips that you may have never thought of on your own.
It’s sometimes hard to take a step back and see where your business needs the most help when you’re so immersed in it yourself. That’s why bringing in an outside consultant can be incredibly valuable—assuming it’s not just a one-time effort. Coaching can be done on an ongoing basis over time. After all, you’re never done improving!
Of course, hiring a coach is only one part of the equation. It’s important that the company also makes team members accountable for ensuring everyone doesn’t revert back to their old ways.
6. Incorporate Frequent Practice Into Landscape Sales Training
Role-playing should definitely be part of your landscape sales training approach. Oftentimes this is best performed with a sales coach or trainer who can walk you through a role-playing exercise and point out areas where you can improve.
Bringing in a sales coach or trainer to help your salespeople walk through the sales process can be very effective. They can teach your team to focus on helping their prospects win, which is really what sales should be all about. It’s important to learn how to uncover internal problems that prospective clients might be having and to show real empathy in your sales conversations. While it might feel like an awkward exercise, it can make a world of difference in your success.
Of course, going back to the importance of accountability, role-playing will only be effective if you incorporate it frequently. It’s not enough to do it one time. You must constantly be holding your salespeople accountable for how they’re doing. They should be refining their sales skills on an ongoing basis so that they are always improving and learning from one another.
7. Survey Your Landscape Sales Team and Clients
Landscape companies are often big on client satisfaction surveys, performed after the work is fully completed. But oftentimes they fail to look at any data on interactions prior to when the work is done. This doesn’t get you anywhere in terms of knowing how the sales process itself is going.
But incorporating some type of client (or prospective client) interaction survey can help you understand how your salespeople are interacting. It can be as simple as finding out how a client (or a prospect) felt the interaction went after meeting with your landscape designer to go over a prospective plan. Was the interaction positive? This data is valuable in helping you to understand what factors go into a successful sale—or even looking more closely at what went wrong.
In addition, it’s also helpful to survey your team about their success (or their lack thereof) in sales and help them identify potential troublespots. If a certain issue is repeatedly arising during the sales process, you want to know about it so that you can give your salespeople the tools they need to be more successful. While most salespeople are usually good about being vocal, even they may not realize they’re stumbling until you take the time to dig a little deeper and explore what they may need for even greater success.
Set Your Landscape Sales Team Up for Success
As we mentioned, the fact that you are interested in ways that you can help improve your landscape sales team demonstrates that you care about giving them the tools they need to be successful. In the end, that’s a win for everyone. That’s why it’s important to keep an open mind about what you may need to add to your landscaping business in order to continually improve.
At Include Software, we are always looking for ways that we can provide you with information and support that can help improve your business. Landscape sales and estimating software just may be part of that overall sales strategy aimed at improving. In the end, it all comes down to understanding your team’s needs and stepping up to the plate when something more is needed.
If you want to talk more about how Asset can improve your company’s landscape sales team, then give us a call at 800-475-0311 or contact us for a free demo.
Image Sources: T. Lake Environmental Design