When it comes to growing the revenue of your landscaping company, you’d like to see a goal-crushing sales team jump in and make things happen.
Of course, you may be tired of hiring the wrong people. You’ve been there before. You’ve hired a salesperson for landscaping and assumed they were going to do a great job only to find it didn’t work out. It shouldn’t be this hard to find a good fit. You’re likely tired of a high churn rate in your sales department and tired of spending money on candidates that didn’t ultimately work out.
You may want to know how to hire a salesperson that will truly be successful within your company.
It sounds daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some key things to look for that will help you to be more successful in your quest to put together that goal-crushing team.
Looking at Hard-Wired Traits
The truth of the matter is, if someone is going to be good at sales, you can teach them a service or a product, but you cannot change who they are as a person. In order to get some additional perspective on how to hire the best people, we turned to a few of the clients that use our software and have put together a strong sales team.
Kevin McHale, owner of McHale Landscape Design, Inc., in Upper Marlboro, MD, says that he feels that he can teach the technical aspect of the business, but he doesn’t believe he can teach someone integrity. They either have it or they don’t. For McHale, this is one of the key personality traits that he seeks out in a potential sales candidate.
“The quality we look for most in a new hire or in building our sales team is integrity,” says McHale. “People with integrity, common sense and a strong work ethic create the synergy that a sales team needs to be successful.”
For Krisjan Berzins, owner of Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape in Alexandria, VA, it’s also about being a “people person.”
“There is so much customer service involved in sales and you have to be good with people,” Berzins says. “You’re dealing with people every single day. If a candidate just graduated with a horticulture degree but they’re an introverted individual, they’re not going to be a good fit for the sales team.”
Berzins says that if a candidate isn’t talking much during the job interview, then a red flag should go up. Even if they’re nervous they need to demonstrate how they can interact well with people considering it’s such an important skill in a salesperson for landscaping.
Other essential factors in a goal-crushing salesperson include the following key traits.
Being Driven by Goals and Competition
If you want your sales team to crush goals, then you need to build a team that is motivated by them in the first place. This means hiring folks that are motivated. Motivation is the difference between the person that continues to go after a goal (even when setback by challenges) and the person that gives up.
How can you identify highly motivated individuals? According to Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group, in an article he penned for Inc., you should look use “performance-based hiring.”
During the interview, define the work you need to be done. Adler says that every job can be defined by 6 to 8 “performance objectives.” Provide these performance objectives to your candidate and then ask them to give examples of comparable accomplishments for each of your objectives.
Being Emotionally Intuitive
It’s important that your salesperson for landscaping is able to hear what’s really important to your prospects and your clients and to get to what is behind their true motivation for buying.
Berzins says it’s about being a “good listener.”
“A good salesperson for landscaping is able to ask the customer questions and then shut up and just listen,” he says. “Let them talk. Don’t tell them what they need or come across as pushy. A good salesperson knows when to speak up but also when to be quiet. It can be a delicate balance. You obviously can’t be too introverted or you won’t show any authority over the subject matter.”
It’s also about empathy. It’s great to listen and hear what your prospects are saying but when you also restate their needs with empathy, it goes so much further. It should bother the salesperson when their prospect struggles and that expression of empathy should be authentic. It’s a much deeper connection than just matching up problems with the services you provide.
Being Multi-Task Oriented
When doing landscaping recruiting you should also try to determine whether the candidate is able to focus on many different things at once. In sales, you often have so many things on your plate at the same time that it may be too overwhelming for some individuals to handle.
If they are a single task type of person, make sure they at least have the ability to adopt a system that will allow them not to forget the details when dealing with multiple different accounts at once. Landscape sales and estimating software can assist with this by handling the estimating and task management for your busy salespeople.
While there’s nothing wrong with your sales team members having preferences for how to perform their job, you want someone who is at least willing to adapt to your preferred system.
Even if they were successful at a different company, doing things a different way, they need to learn how to work with the processes and procedures at your company. Unfortunately, lots of sales people come in and try to buck the system. They may say they don’t want to learn a software program or think that they don’t have to follow every step in the processes you use. Ultimately, that kind of attitude will lead to problems.
But a person who is flexible and willing to adapt to new situations will be much more successful in this role. In addition, a person who is flexible like this will also be able to roll with clients throwing curve balls or requiring special considerations.
Research performed by the Brooks Group, a sales training company, found that the most successful salespeople are those that had one key quality—flexibility. In terms of customer engagement, the research indicated that this meant a salesperson who could adapt their personality to the situation. For instance, if they were dealing with a reserved prospect, they backed off their intensity. If they were dealing with a quiet prospect, they were careful not to talk too much. It was all about “adjusting personality to meet the demands of the situation.”
Being a Team Player
Being a salesperson is one of those jobs where it feels a little bit like you have to be good at being a go-getter (which may feel individualized) but where you also have to be a team player. It really is a little bit of both. You want to hire someone who is going to know when to take the reins and to really take charge of meeting their ongoing sales goals. You want someone who can make important decisions on their own without always needing hand-holding.
But you also want someone who is a team player.
After all, at the end of the day, the salesperson is part of a sales team and they have to get along with everyone and the company as a whole in order to be successful. They’ll often be working hand-in-hand with operations, with your designers, and with administrative staff. It’s important that they’re a good team player.
How Important is Industry Knowledge?
More often than not, when performing landscaping recruiting, industry knowledge is given more weight than it probably needs to have. After all, going back to McHale’s point, there are a lot of things you can teach but hard-wired traits are not one of them.
“We feel that we can always teach the technical and business aspects of our business,” he says. “However, I don’t believe you can teach people integrity. People either have it or they don’t.”
Of course, technical training or experience are important for certain industry jobs such as a landscape designer. But when it comes to closing deals, it’s more about being a good salesperson.
Even so, Berzins says that he does like to find people that have a “love of the outdoors.” He says it’s not so much the knowledge that is important to him (he can teach that) but he always makes sure that potential sales candidates have at least some passion for the outdoors.
“They may be an awesome salesperson and come in telling me they did a million in sales of kitchens,” Berzins says. “That’s great but if they are used to being inside all of the time and when push comes to shove don’t actually like being outside, there’s going to be a problem. Even for a salesperson, this is an outdoor job. You spend lots of time outside on client’s properties and you have to enjoy that. If you don’t, how can you show passion for what you’re selling? If you don’t like the outdoors it’s going to show through and negatively impact the client.”
Of course, if you can find someone who has the right hard-wired personality traits, loves the outdoors, and has the industry knowledge, then you’ve found a winner all around. Your chances for success with that individual are even greater.
Giving Your Sales Team Tools for Success
Now that you’ve figured out how to hire a salesperson that is going to help you grow your revenue, you need to make sure that you’re supporting that person (and the rest of the team). You have certain expectations of your sales team and their goals but in order to meet them, they’ll likely need some tools to help them be more successful. One such tool may include landscape sales and estimating software.
Landscape sales and estimating software can help your sales team do a better job of selling. They’ll have the most current and up-to-date numbers to work with and as a result will be able to sell more confidently.
Supporting your sales team is a critical piece of the puzzle that cannot be forgotten. You can’t just hire a great person, stick them in a role, and expect them to perform with absolutely no support. In the end, you have some responsibility to see that your sales team has what it needs to succeed.
If you’d like to implement landscape sales and estimating software to support your goal-crushing sales team, then let’s explore and see what Asset can do for your landscape company.