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Archive for the ‘quote’ tag

Get inside the mind of a property manager

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In our forthcoming September issue, we sit down with Joe Markling, the CEO at BOMA and head of strategic accounts for CBRE, to find out what property managers and building owners want from landscape and snow contractors.

Here’s a sneak preview:

L&L: What do your members wish landscape contractors knew about how they provide their services?
Markling: Here’s an example. I’m from California and the big issue here is water … and you can’t control how much water you have access to. I have a lot of concerns that landscape contractors need to be much more aggressive with their clients – us – to say ‘If you want this area to stay green, then it’s going to cost you this much in water. We need to put together a plan that overtime will move you toward a drought-tolerant planting (strategy).’

Now, no owner wants to hear about a $10 million landscape project that will only begin paying back after nine years, so the landscape contractor needs to come in with a plan that address certain areas at a time. If it’s a utility issue … it’s a sustainability issue … it’s a water issue, and today’s tenants are much more tolerant of not having the lush green landscape surroundings. In fact, in some cases, it can be a turnoff because of how much it costs – not only in dollars, but in water – to maintain. Landscape contractors need to have a frank ongoing discussion about how we can have a plan, over a period of years, to slowly integrate these changes and is easily budgeted.

Keep an eye out for the September issue for more.


August 23rd, 2012 at 9:09 am

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Tips from the top

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Every month, we run a short conversation with owners of companies from our Top 100 list. We try to pick their brains on how they got to this point, running some of the largest companies in the industry.

In August, we’ll bring you a conversation with Bob Wilton from Clintar.

Here’s a quick preview:

L&L: To what do you attribute your growth?
Wilton: Our people. It’s not a very unique answer, but it’s the truth. I truly believe that selecting only good people makes it so much easier. And I think that for anybody that’s grown beyond a certain size, it has to be the people. Anybody can buy a truck or a lawn mower and a snowplow, but you’ve got to have very good people to make it all work and keep the customers happy. Our retention rate is basically due to having people who love their job.

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to approach training – we probably spend a disproportionate amount of time on training. We’re not one-man bands, we’re teams. I was thinking of that the other day watching the Masters – it’s an individual sport, it’s not a team sport. We’re the opposite, we’re a team sport, and I’m kind of the coach.


July 5th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

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Sneak peek: Training and HR manuals

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“We had what we thought was a training program and a set of procedures, but until you sit down and evaluate that…. We realized we had inconsistencies with each position because we didn’t have those job descriptions written down on paper. One guy wanted to do the job this way, another wanted to do it another way.”

That’s from Fred Peratt, president of Environmental Enhancements in Sterling, Va., discussing why he decided to sit down and write down what each of his employees did (or was supposed to be doing).

You can read more from Fred and other contractors in our forthcoming August issue.


June 18th, 2012 at 6:05 am

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Menu choices

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Seth Godin on why your sales presentations should be tailored to the type of client you’re talking to:

When talking to an amateur, to a stranger, to a newbie, to someone who isn’t committed, the best path is clarity, which means simplicity. Few choices, no guessing, no hunting around.

When talking to a fellow professional, to a peer, to someone in the same groove as you, the goal is to maximize useful density of choice. Put as much power in the hands of the user as possible.


The texture of your sales pitch ought to be deeper and more sophisticated for a return customer than it should be when you’re selling door to door.

The menu at a fancy restaurant should probably have more choices and more detail than one at a fast food joint.

When dealing with any sales team or field crew, it’s easy and inviting to have one script or one presentation. But not all your clients are the same, nor do they all need the same information. HOAs have different goals than a single homeowner, and property managers want different things than a city council.

Maybe instead of a cookie-cutter approach, you have three or four or five different pitches or presentations that can be further tailored to a specific audiences. If you can accurately match your information to your prospect’s desires, you’ve made closing the deal that much easier.


March 13th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

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The definition of an entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.

The above is a quote from Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson. He’s quoted in “Breakthrough Entrepreneurship” by Jon Burgstone and Bill Murphy Jr.

It came to me via Inc., and I think is a great way to describe the perspective of many small business owners. They aren’t all hard-charging, and they aren’t all smooth salesmen. But to a person, they all have a desire to make something and do whatever it takes to get there, regardless of what the current reality affords them.

Here’s Burgstone on the way entrepreneurs think:

Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.

You can read the full article here.


January 31st, 2012 at 12:52 pm