Roughly 80 people from 38 landscape companies and seven sponsoring companies attended the Chicago event. (See related story.)
Chicago's Millennium Park was the site of the Come Alive Outside educational event on July 14-15. Shown here is the famous Buckingham Fountain. (See related story.)
Isn’t “Come Alive Outside” a great battle cry? These three simple words can paint thousands of pictures in our minds of running, sitting, laughing, jumping, watching, playing, walking, talking, listening, and simply enjoying the benefits of being outside.
However, a battle cry is only great if it inspires action. As leaders we must direct and focus our efforts on taking the right action that will produce the right results. In our businesses, that means making more money. The question then becomes: How do we use the battle cry “Come Alive Outside” to make money? You have to get the “Come Alive Outside EDGe.”
– Energize Your Culture. What happens outside does not need to stay outside. Identify the elements that cause positive energy and a sense of well-being while enjoying outdoor spaces. Apply them to creating a positive and productive work environment. Positive energy and a sense of well-being are found in most successful companies, so duplicating and building on these should be the goal of every leader going into battle.
Watch kids playing outside. You likely see fun, curiosity and focus. Now think about how you feel on your next walk through the woods. You likely envision relaxation, awareness and creativity. Now look around your company. What do you see? What can you do to bring into your company the things that happen when we come alive outside?
– Define Your Marketing Message. Every company has a story to tell. When a story has significance that someone else can connect with, the story will cause that person to also want to connect with the company.
Any organization can add significance to their story by helping people become aware of the benefits of increasing their time outside.
In today’s world the most successful companies realize that people are more likely to buy an idea than to be sold a product. Consider the difference in the following two marketing messages:
Message 1: “Our company installs lawns cheaper than anyone in the area.”
Message 2: “Our company provides outdoor opportunities for you and your children to have fun, laugh and create memories in your own backyard.”
Both messages work and both will attract customers. Your challenge in defining your marketing message is to first identify which type of customer you want to work with and which allows you the best opportunity to be profitable.
– Grow Your Sales. Profitable sales growth is a key goal that every company and sales professional strives for, and ultimately is the way we make money from a sincere people-oriented marketing message such as “Come Alive Outside.”
There are two types of sales organizations: those that sell by intention and those that sell by the numbers. Those that sell by the numbers work hard and demand the most from themselves; more meetings, phone calls and proposals, etc. However, the more-more-more approach often produces less-less-less. We’re talking about less enjoyment from what we do, less customer loyalty, and less profit because the jobs you win usually came down to price.
Sales growth only happens when an intentional approach to following the sales process is taken. As an energized culture emerges and the marketing message is defined, the only thing standing in the way of sales growth is how well the sales process is executed by the sales team. Successfully working a well thought-out sales process will produce the relationships that will produce sales for years to come.
– Everything. You may be wondering about the significance of the second e in EDGe. It simply stands for everything. When we inspire ourselves to action and energize the culture, define the marketing message and grow our sales, then everything else in the company can build from this. Everything you want your employees to have—and everything you want your customers to receive—is possible through inspired action. Most importantly, you can have everything you want from your career when you find the inspiration and get the Come Alive Outside EDGe.
For over 20 years Jim Paluch and the JP Horizons Team have been helping landscape companies Work Smarter and create A Better Way. Learn how they do it at ABetterWayCommunity.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.