Get Personal and Win More Business

By Nicole Wisniewski

As many landscape business owners know, leveraging contacts to generate sales leads and close deals is a highly efficient sales approach.

To grow a business, not only must the company replace past customers, but it must also generate new customers from a consistent and constant flow of leads. More leads - qualified leads - can strengthen growth.

A new study by Reachable, a business solution developer, proves relationships may be even more valuable at generating leads than originally thought.

Salespeople who have personal connections with prospects - even an indirect connection, such as an acquaintance or colleague - are five times more likely to get a callback, according to Reachable's study. "If you have a direct connection with the prospect, the odds get even better: your chances of getting a return call increase 11 times," points out Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, a firm that helps entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

"For every 1,000 calls you make, only 345 will get returned if you don't have a connection," Lesonsky explains. "But if you do have a connection, 849 calls will be returned."

Overall, Reachable reveals personal connections of some type can increase sales productivity by more than 240 percent. That's quite a boost!

And, today, marketing and sales is more of a "self-service operation," says Sid Smith, lead copywriter and marketing automation specialist for Albertson Performance Group. "Buyers get an estimated 80 percent of the information they need online, well before they speak with a salesperson," he explains.

Forrester research supports this theory, estimating anywhere between 50 to 70 percent of the buying process happens before a sales representative even gets involved.

As a result, personal connections may be the extra leverage one business has over its competitors.

Here are some ideas for leveraging personal relationships to increase sales productivity.

Nicole Wisniewski is a 15-year green industry veteran and award-winning journalism and marketing professional. She is currently a senior project manager in The Davey Tree Expert Co.'s marketing/corporate communications department. Visit her blog at or reach her at