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Put It in Writing

This series will discuss Best Practices for Sales in the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Tree Care industry. The initial step towards achieving success will be understanding the importance of documenting your Sales Process. This first installment marks the beginning of a six-part series.

The Importance of Documenting Your Sales Process

Having a record of your current sales process is vital for your organization’s success. If this task has been completed, you are already ahead of the curve! However, continue reading, as there may be additional valuable information for you.

If you have yet to document your sales process, you may question its necessity, believing that you already have a firm grasp of it. However, there are numerous valid reasons for doing so. To begin, let’s clarify the definition of “documentation.”

The Definition of Documentation

According to Kissflow, documentation is a straightforward idea. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of a business process, utilizing words, images, and symbols to precisely outline how the process should operate in a perfect setting.

To effectively communicate the Sales process, it is imperative to create a written list, map, or other form of representation that can be shared with others. This is crucial for various reasons.

Implementing Effective Guidelines

Throughout my experience, I have been employed by or collaborated with approximately six Green Industry businesses, each with a unique approach to Sales.

As per Bizagi, “process documentation serves as a valuable reference for creating and implementing” your processes. It is an official record that communicates to the rest of the company, “This is our method for conducting Sales within our organization.”

Note: This approach should be applied to all procedures that require consistent adherence, not only for Tree Care Sales. Proper documentation should also be in place for Customer Service, Production, Billing, and other processes.

Grow Your Enterprise

In addition, this process will enable you to expand your sales department. How can you increase the size of your Sales team without being overwhelmed? How can you achieve your company’s growth targets when you have to dedicate excessive time to training due to disorganization? Documenting this process is essential to streamline communication within your company and optimize the potential for growth in your Sales team.

To maximize adoption throughout the organization, it is important to have a written version and a visual “map” of the information, catering to different learning styles such as visual and reading-based. This will make it easier for team members to use and understand the information.

How can you begin?

Document It

The initial step is to document your current sales procedure. Record all the steps in detail, including every single detail.

This requirement compels you to perform several tasks:

  • Think through the entire sales process. 
  • Get perspective on what your customers (or potential customers) experience doing business with you.
  • Acknowledge and examine places where you can improve. 

Consider the Sales Process Carefully

What procedure does a potential customer follow after showing interest and providing their contact details?

During my time at a particular company, we would pass on the information to the sole sales representative who would then handle all of it. It’s worth noting that this company was not related to the Green Industry.

At the landscape company I worked for, customer information was shared between the owner and the designer, each handling specific responsibilities. This arrangement was in place due to the company’s small size, with less than 20 employees.

The information about the sale of Lawn Care was relayed either to an Inside Sales representative at the office or to the call center, which had centralized operations for the business.

Can you describe your company’s sales procedure? What are the steps involved from the moment you acquire a person’s name, address, phone number, and email address until they complete their payment?

It is crucial to complete this task with speed and effectiveness. When conducting this exercise, certain important factors must be considered.

Who participates in the Sales Process?

Simply having a general comprehension of the procedure and documenting it on your own is insufficient. It is crucial to thoroughly investigate and identify ALL individuals involved in the process.

It is crucial to consult your team as they have daily experience dealing with the subject matter. They are likely to have a better understanding of how things operate. Do not disregard the valuable insights of individuals who can provide information on the current operations.

When discussing initial communication related to billing, the following individuals are typically necessary to contact during the procedure:

  • Whoever answers the phone or email when a client reaches out to you. 
  • The person who schedules appointments for your Sales staff.
  • Your Sales staff. 
  • The person responsible for follow-up after a proposal is given (whether that’s the Sales staff, admin, etc.).
  • Once a bid is accepted, whoever schedules the work. 
  • Field labor (crew leaders or supervisors, for example). 
  • The person who is responsible for handling billing. 
  • Anyone who does follow-up (customer satisfaction) or upselling (add-ons after the job is finished). 

Even though this list is not all-inclusive, it can serve as a helpful starting point. Engaging in conversations with each of these individuals can aid in obtaining the necessary information regarding the current procedures within your organization.

What is the total number of steps?

When information is passed from one person to another, whether it be through physical paper or spreadsheets, there is a higher chance of errors occurring. This is similar to the game “telephone” that we have all played before. The more times something is transferred between people, the more opportunities there are for it to get delayed on someone’s desk before reaching its final destination. This increases the likelihood of it being overlooked.

When considering a task, it is important to evaluate if every step is truly essential. Simplifying the exchange of information in any way can be beneficial. Having fewer steps is advantageous as it makes the process easier to finish.

The process of creating and selling a bar of soap to a retailer is not the same as other transactions. It is a simple process where the soap is sold to the retailer, such as a grocery store or retail chain, who then sells it to the end-consumers. As the demand for the soap increases among consumers, the retailer will place more orders for it.

As a service provider, you are not only offering your services but also establishing a level of expectation, which can be challenging as it requires a different approach.

The objective is to simplify this procedure to the greatest extent possible for humans. How can you guarantee that your clients fully comprehend the product of your efforts? Aim to make it effortless and smooth for both your customers and your team, just like a human would.

What essential details are necessary for completing your job requests?

In order for these tasks to be completed effectively, there is a minimum requirement for internal communication. Specific elements must be included in your sales process for your team to successfully fulfill this request.

It is important to carefully consider this matter. Inquire with those who are involved in every stage of the process by posing a straightforward query: What information do you need to complete your part of this process?

Listed below are a few factors to take into account.

Sales Process Consideration #1 – Field Labor 

What are the necessary details for your field workers to fulfill their orders? Consider the following factors:

  • What’s the total square footage of that Lawn Care Technician’s route for the day? How do you get that aggregate? (Hint: you need to know the square footage of each property.)
  • What’s the square footage of the beds where you’re laying mulch? How deep are they laying mulch? (Two inches? Three inches?)
  • How many slabs of natural stone do they need to construct the steps from one hardscaped area to another, based on the design concept you sold to the client? (Believe it or not, I’ve run into this – no direction for the crew.)
  • Are your pruning crews only removing dead wood from that tree? Or are they pruning out live branches as well? 
  • Where should they be parking their trucks? (Safety and traffic considerations must be made for each job site – don’t make them guess.)
  • Is there a locked gate? If so, has the client been notified that your crews are arriving that day?
  • Pets on the property of which they need to be aware? Are the pets going to be outside while the crews are trying to work? (Invisible Fencing is becoming far more common.) 
  • Are there other access issues from the street to the job site that they need to be aware of, like steep grades on the property, crossing a creek or drainage ditch, or the presence of wildlife that shouldn’t be disturbed?

This isn’t a comprehensive list. You should talk to your field crews, find out the most common frustrations they have, and address those in your sales process. 

Sales Process Consideration #2 – Procurement 

Your procurement department (or individual) needs information about the sale. Things they need to know include: 

  • How much mulch is required?
  • Plant material that may need to be ordered?
  • The number of pavers needed for a particular hardscape project.
  • Equipment status – is there a chainsaw about to die? If so, they need to know so they can order new equipment. 
  • Storage – where are they putting the elements required for this job on your property?

Think through all the things that must be ordered or supplied for a single job. Be sure to include whoever is responsible for procurement in these conversations. 

Sales Process Consideration #3 – Billing 

You’d like to get paid for your team’s hard work. How do you ensure that happens? Talk to your billing department and see what information they require. Those things will probably include: 

  • Personal data (name, phone number, physical address, etc.).
  • A credit check or approval for large jobs (large design/build projects, for example). 
  • Some payment preferences from the customer (prepay, monthly billing, invoice billing, etc.). 
  • Is there a way to leave a card on file? If so, they probably want you to capture that information, too. 

Someone internally could handle it, or perhaps you outsource this to a CPA. Either way, loop them in and see what they need to execute on their part of the process. 

These lists are not exhaustive, but they’re a good starting point. The exercise is to think through what your team needs to complete the job well and ensure they get those things during the process. 


Enhance your sales performance by documenting your sales procedure.

Carefully examine the number of steps involved and identify potential bottlenecks.

In order to provide necessary information and resources to everyone involved, it is important to streamline processes and remove any unnecessary steps.

Setting up effective internal communication and scaling your Sales department will lead to success.

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