If you’re a landscaping business then chances are you already know how important it is to optimize your sales strategy out in the field. A great sales team can make the difference between a thriving business and a failing one – especially in today’s climate.
With competition at an all-time high, it has never been more important to ensure your team is doing everything it can to increase field sales, and to cut down the number of “sales blunders” that could be harming your business.
With this in mind, let’s run through some of the most common sales blunders being made out in the field, and discuss how to flip them to your advantage.
Blunder #1: Not knowing your client’s goals and budget
Picture the scene: you’ve secured a meeting with a commercial lead. The job has the potential to be huge for the company – not only is the company likely to convert into multiple enhancement sales, but their project will look fantastic in your portfolio, and it’s a highly visible property.
You send one of your most ambitious sales reps to meet with the property manager, and they spend an hour detailing plans for standard yearly maintenance work plus an enhanced break area for employees and revamping the parking lot islands. The work will total more than $100,000, which you think is a small price to pay for an entire revamp. The problem? The client is only looking to remove a few dead trees and do basic mowing and mulching and has a budget of less than half of what your rep proposed.
By failing to research the company’s goals and budget you have missed a golden opportunity to customize your pitch and secure the deal. Your client feels misunderstood, and the inappropriate proposal has weakened their trust in your ability to give them what they need.
The Fix: Qualify your leads
The work of a good sales team begins long before it pitches to a potential client. Research is the key to successful field sales. Before you even start drawing up plans you should ask questions designed to identify who the client is, what they want, and how much they are willing to spend.
- Who will be using the space?
- How much maintenance are they willing to commit to?
- How quickly do they need additional projects completed?
- What problems are they looking to solve this year versus 5 years from now?
- What’s their standard of communication?
Knowing these things before you arrive at a sales meeting will not only show that you care about the client, but also demonstrate your professionalism and ability to complete the job.
Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Review the property on Google Maps before you arrive and leave buffer time to get there in case of traffic. Find out what parking is available nearby so you have plenty of time before the meeting to settle in and feel prepared.
Blunder #2: Talking without Listening
One of the most common misconceptions about sales is that all you have to do is talk. How many times have you heard a great sales rep praised for having the “gift of the gab”?
While the ability to present your landscape company’s skills and features is obviously crucial, it’s easy to forget that listening is equally as important when it comes to sealing the deal. If you fail to ask questions and really listen to the answers then you miss critical opportunities to learn more about your client and hinder your ability to build a rapport.
The fact is that nobody wants to be talked at. Conversations are two-player games, and if you forget about your partner then you’re bound to lose your way.
The Fix: Focus on Active Listening
According to indeed.com, active listening is “the ability to focus completely on a speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond thoughtfully.” This type of focus is essential for getting the most from your field sales. Not only does it help build rapport, but it also establishes you as a trusted, genuine representative.
Instead of thinking of your pitch as a presentation delivered to an audience, approach your meeting as you would a conversation with a friend. Ask open-ended questions to get to the heart of the client’s goals – to fully engage with a potential customer you need to understand not just their pain, but also their dreams. Keep your input concise and to the point, and monitor your airtime to ensure you’re not dominating the discussion.
Blunder #3: You forget important information back at the office
We’ve all been there. The meeting went great – you knew your stuff before you arrived, you listened carefully and actively, and as you left the customer gave a clear indication of interest.
You head back to the office ready to start the next stage of your pitch and realize that your notes are illegible. Not only is your writing messier than a spider dipped in ink, but your pen stopped working due to the rain and you missed the most important points.
Because your brain can only retain large blocks of information for a very short time, cohesive notes are essential to making your sales meetings count.
The Fix: Use note-taking software for reliable jottings
Instead of relying on a notebook and pen, consider investing in software that allows you to take notes on the fly.
Our Landone Takeoff Software now includes pen and text enhancements, which allows you to take and store notes at the click of the button. As always you have the added bonus of automatic saving, so you can wave goodbye to misplaced scraps of paper or deleted documents.
You can access these notes anytime anywhere because everything is saved in the cloud.
Take it for a free 14-day test run today!