All too many green industry professionals play the same game of selling.

They focus exclusively on selling more perennials and plugs, or more mowing and maintenance, figuring that strategy alone will help them substantially grow their profits. The problem is that virtually all of their competitors — including the biggest of the big-box chain stores and franchise companies have the same idea in mind.

Simply pedaling more stuff and more services may be one way for a lawn and landscape company, garden center or nursery to attract more revenue. But at a time when competition is so fierce, it's not the best way.

So, how can you take your business to the next level in 2015? How can you insure that this will be a career year for you, and a breakout year for your company?

For starters, sell solutions.

Position yourselves as problem-solvers, specializing in providing remedies for residential and commercial clients stressed out about plant and lawn diseases, bad weather, weeds, insects, lousy soil, poor drainage and other landscape challenges.

Promoting your expertise will help you get heard above the noise in a crowded marketplace. Customers will invest in more of your products and services, because they'll attach far more value to who you are and what you do.

Sharing your know-how is one way to break away from the pack and set out on the road to a stellar year. Here are some others:

Sell your…

  • Self. Promote yourself as a uniquely-qualified, one-of-a-kind green professional.
  • Team. Market your collective horticulture experience and know-how.
  • Specialties. Spell out what makes you stand out: what you're recognized as and known for.
  • Acclaim. Talk about the rewards you've won, and the online recognition and media coverage you've received.
  • News and views. Offer company updates in blogs, newsletters, videos, TV and radio shows, columns and elsewhere.
  • History. Explain how long, and how well you've served your customers.
  • Customer commitment. Take pride in your guarantees, warranties and service.
  • Community commitment. Remind others of your local roots and relationships.
  • Location. Make the case that convenience counts.
  • Events. Spread the word about your Pinterest parties, pumpkin parades, spring garden shows and other happenings.
  • Resources. A good roster of vendors and suppliers makes you look good.
  • Size. Reframe "smaller" as "nicer, nimbler and more responsive." Promote your personalized, customized service.
  • Flexibility. Give examples of how and where you say "yes" when competitors say "no."
  • Affiliations. Identify the associations you belong to, and local groups with which you're involved.
  • Independence. Conversely, going it alone puts you in a class by yourself.

Don't leave money on the table in 2015 by selling yourself and your company short. You'll convert more contacts into contracts and seal more deals if you tell and sell all that you have to offer.