Getting To YES!

Getting to YES!

by John Kennedy

Years ago, I stumbled upon a great book that highlights the importance of the word “YES.” And a few years later, I came upon another book that also focused on the importance of the saying “YES.”  When I hear the same thing twice in short order, I believe I should pay attention.

Both books, as well as many, many others, have been influential in my mind set on strategic planning, training and consulting, as well as the necessary skillsets of leadership and sales.

Always begin with yes…

The first book is “Riding the Blue Train” which helps foster a culture of “Blue Train Thinkers” who are willing to invest their time to be intellectually curious and find a solution to a challenge instead of being intellectually lazy and instantly offer a flat out “NO!” to any challenge or opportunity.

Those of you who I have been blessed to work with, and have created on-boarding videos for your IGC, know how we address the “Red Train Thinkers” of negativity on you team—either shape up or ship out!  No bad vibes welcome on the Blue Train of Change!

Creating a culture of “yes we can” or “you gotta wanna” is key to team engagement, leadership, customer experience and success. I highly suggest picking up a copy of “Riding the Blue Train.”

The second book I referenced is “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher & William Ury and this is the thrust of my message this week. 

Getting to Yes with The Grower and the Garden Center:

“Just in Case” ordering over the last two years quickly switched to “just in time” ordering in the Fall of 2022, and will continue for the foreseeable future.

However, the growers who support the IGC’s within The Group and beyond had already planted “just in case” inventory since their secret crystal ball sales forecasting requires a longer lead time. In short, IGC’s have ordered less and growers grew more.

As you cut back on your SCU’s and reduce your on-hand inventory, it becomes a little easier for your employees and associates to say “no, we don’t have that” to your customers. And by that simple two-letter word “no” pronounced trippingly on the tongue, your sales opportunity to your customer is missed. The perception, at face value, that you may not carry what they need is planted, and the future sales may become a face-plant.

Capturing every sales opportunity does not happen without effort, intention, education and training.

Having the right systems & tools to “special order” when needed, driving your culture of yes with intention, recommitting to training and education (ever more important with new hires having less hort knowledge than ever), and making this a full court press challenge for 2023 will be vital for your garden center.

As the tea leaves indicate a contracting economy may be on the horizon, and as the current trend of sales declines from last year’s WDR show, the effort of “getting to yes” may never be more valuable than now. 

In the book, there is a term called BATNA—the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. In short, it’s what shoe stores do when they don’t have the exact one you want.

With the growing cost of retail space, stores have downsized and now carry fewer shoes in fewer sizes. Covid accelerated this. They offer the best alternative…a substitute or similar option:

  1. “Is there another selection that we may interest you in that is currently here and in your size?”
  2. “Can we special order the one you want and either have it shipped to your home or you can pick it up here when it arrives?”

Both of these options are examples of BATNA and should be made available to your customers;  also trained religiously with your staff (not meaning Sunday’s only!)

The most successful IGC’s in the business reinforce sales training and product knowledge every single day.  Joey’s team at Kerby’s Nursery knows the value of education and also know that a knowledgeable team makes a better sales team.

When a customer asks if you have something…anything…the answer should always be “Yes!”

“Yes, let’s see what we have that meets your needs.”
“Yes, I understand what you are looking for, let’s see what we have available.”
“Yes, my name is John, let’s take a walk to the annuals and see what we can find for you…”

The answer should always be yes first, then BATNA next, then special order as the third option. The best time to buy is the impulse and emotion attached to them being right in front of you.

As we prep for the Springtime ahead, and the energy and momentum felt at the trade shows so far this year, it’s time to train your team on “Getting to Yes!”

And by the way…the growers who have supported your IGC, and were there for you during the Covid Bump, moving mountains every day when the demand was crazy, need you now more than ever to help them move what they have grown for you. Especially our “Partners for Success” that sponsor The Group and invest in your success.

It’s time we learn and say YES to every opportunity… for their sake just as much as yours.

Have a great start to the year and kick off to Spring! 

By the way, BoomerWrangle, LLC has developed a “Special Orders” digital solution inside of as well as a stand-alone special order and delivery App called “Garden on the Go!”  They are also creating a digital bridge to allow you to order directly from your growers and vendors. Visit for more information.

John Kennedy is Co-Founder of BoomerWrangle, LLC. with his amazing wife, Souny.

BoomerWrangle is the new corporate entity that houses all of their talents & tools to support The Garden Center Group members.

From innovative solutions such as “Your GroupSpace,” customized on-boarding videos,  strategic planning and team engagement,  BoomerWrangle, LLC has become a single-source digital solution & strategic planning agency to maximize employee engagement, organizational excellence, build sales and service cultures, ease of ordering and operational efficiency!

for more information and insights into their growing toolbox of IGC solutions!

[email protected]
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REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as John Kennedy, Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

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