How do you sell when the world is shut down? Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Every member of the green industry faced challenges in the pandemic. Landscape contractors ended up being incredibly busy, and supply chain disruptions of all sorts made it difficult to complete some projects in a timely fashion. Recently, Colorado Green NOW checked in with some green industry members who were forced to quickly adapt their procedures to fit the “new normal” and continue to serve their clients. In some ways, the landscape industry remains old-fashioned. Personal relationships and face-to-face interactions are key to doing business. But as an industry often affected by unpredictability (i.e., weather), resilience is also a hallmark.

For industry members who work in sales, the lack of “real life” contact could be crippling. But that readiness to adapt to the unexpected was on display as sales reps pivoted, finding ways to connect while complying with new health and safety protocols.

“Without the ability to get out and in front of my customers, the landscape of the market really changed,” notes DJ Caldwell, ET Water. “Phone calls and Zoom meetings took precedence over getting in the truck and driving.” He noted that sales are more difficult without face-to-face interaction. It’s more difficult to “read the room” and anticipate “Are there questions they aren’t asking?” when the room is a Zoom call.

But his company found new ways to engage clients by offering online training soon after the pandemic shutdowns began. Webinars, offered twice weekly, helped initiate relationships and kept the company in the minds of clients who received the emails and attended the sessions.

For Kim Naughtin, AEC Consultant Group, the inability to attend networking events and meet with potential clients was initially devastating. But as she put it, “the pandemic could not take away my ability to help people.” In March she began offering weekly Zoom meetings for professionals to connect with others navigating the COVID-19 situation. Over six weekly webinars, she met a different group each week, connecting with new people across the country simply by offering to listen.

Eventually the COVID-19 webinars shifted to become educational marketing webinars. Through the power of social media, Naughtin expanded her influence beyond her region and found customers in other states. Zoom meetings and other technology allow her to establish a relationship with clients without in-person meetings, though she looks forward to meeting some of her clients face-to-face eventually—some for the first time ever.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
CO legislature on recess until Feb 16
Colorado sales/use tax portal now available
Thoughts on the state of the landscape industry
New utility locates ordinance now in effect in Colorado Springs