The Holganix Blog

What makes plant growth regulators cool?

Have you ever noticed that when you go to purchase bananas from the grocery store, they are always perfectly ripe and ready for consumption? That is because of a little known plant hormone known as Ethylene. Ethylene is a gas produced in the plant with the purpose (among others) to speed up the rate at which fruits ripen. Bananas are harvested in a pre-ripening condition (green). To prevent ripening, they are shipped under refrigeration to the destination country. Upon arrival, they are placed in a sealed ripening room and exposed to ethylene gas, causing the green peel to turn yellow and change the sugar content and texture of the fruit. When left to their own devices, the ripe bananas produce their own ethylene gas, sending other bananas into ripe mode. Ethylene is just one example of how plant hormones play a crucial role in plant life.

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Auxins and gibberellins are two common plant hormones when it comes to growth and orientation, positively affecting cellular growth and differentiation. Other naturally occurring plant hormones include: abscisic acid and cytokinins – which direct germination and fruiting when environmental conditions are right. Used in commerce, these naturally occurring plant hormones and their synthetic cousins are referred to as plant growth regulators.

Soil Science

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, agriculture, science behind holganix

Robot makes HOLE-IN-ONE at TPC Scottsdale!

Soaking the 16th green at TPC Scottsdale in booze during a hole-in-one shot has been a tradition since 1997. But during yesterday’s Waste Management Open’s Pro-Am Event, something even craier happened at TPC’s 16thgreen. The hole-in-one wasn’t made by a pro or even an amateur golfer. In fact, the golfer in question wasn’t evenhuman. He was a Robot named LDRIC!

Watch LDRIC the Robot make a hole-in-one below.

Turf roots

Tags: golf course

Plants aren't as solitary as they appear...

Plants aren’t as solitary as they appear. In fact, if you study a plant over a 24 hour period, you’ll notice that a lot happens. Leaves move towards the sunlight to capture energy during the day and sometimes fold at night when photosynthesis is impossible. That’s because plants have a biological clock that tells them when it’s time to initiate certain biochemical and physiological actions. Is it based on sunlight or temperature? While both play a role, the plant biological clock runs regardless of light or temperature. When you take a plant indoors and maintain certain lighting, the plant will continue to go through a daily schedule.

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In addition to a biological clock, plants also have a biological calendar, telling them when to germinate and when to go dormant. So how does the plant know when it’s a specific season? It’s not temperature! Plants don’t want to be tricked by Mother Nature’s whims. Instead, plants utilize the length of the day to determine if it’s the right time to come out of dormancy or begin budding.

Turf roots

Tags: lawn care, the science behind holganix, sports turf, golf course, agriculture, plants

10 Kickass Telemarketing Tips For Lawn Care Companies

Although no one can deny its importance to lawn care sales, telemarketing can be down right frustrating. Here are a few tips by Holganix CEO, Barrett Ersek on how to telemarket the right way. 

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  • What’s the goal? Before you even pick up the phone and start dialing, you need to know what your goal is. For example, is your goal to close a sale? To get a lead? To gain permission to measure a lawn? Have the goal in mind, and then direct your conversation around your mission.

  • Script it! It goes without saying that working off a script makes things easier for telemarketing newbies. Create a script and role-play with colleagues or friends until you feel comfortable with the content. If you are new to telemarketing, don’t be alarmed if you don't get sales for the first week or two of telemarketing. It takes several days of practice for a telemarketer to get into their “groove”.

  • Make it a habit. Treat telemarketing like going to the gym - stay disciplined, work at it every day, and your persistence will pay off. If you take short cuts and telemarket only a couple days of the week, than telemarketing will be a waste of time.

  • Don’t give your prospect the opportunity to say no. Don’t ask your prospect a question that will give them the opportunity to say no. If the wife says you need to speak with the husband, ask: “Would Tuesday or Thursday be best?”. If you want to get prepays, ask: “Would you like to prepay or autopay?”. If you want to ask for a sale, say: “I’m going to sign you up for the first application, and if you don’t like it call, and I’ll cancel free of charge. But, if you do like it, I’ll keep on coming out until you say otherwise. What’s your email and I’ll send you a confirmation with everything in writing?”.

  • Keep them talking for as long as possible. The longer you can engage with a prospect on the phone, the easier and easier it is to close the sale. Whatever you do, keep talking… until they hang up!

  • Don’t leave a voicemail. Don’t leave a voicemail when you telemarket. Instead, call back in a couple hours or the following day. If you leave a voicemail or two and keep calling, you’ll seem pushy (or at least pushier than usual!).

  • Understand your ROI. Measure your telemarketing to understand your ROI (Return On Investment). Barrett always kept a list on hand, and marked when a prospect didn’t answer the phone, asked for a callback or additional information, provided an email or closed the sale. By collecting data, you can tell which hours are best to telemarket in your region, and how many calls you need to initiate in order to make a sale. For example, it might take you 25 calls to get 5 prospects. Out of those 5 prospects, you might get 1 sale. And, 25 calls may take 1 hour to complete. Your ROI? 1 sale per hour.

  • Capture the email address. Whatever you do, make sure you are capturing email addresses. Even if your prospect isn’t interested in buying from you today, he may be ready to purchase from you tomorrow or next week or next month. Add him to an email list that you can target on a once a week or once every other week basis. Slowly drip information on your prospect, and he will become a warmer lead on his own.

  • Couple telemarketing with other sales and marketing techniques. Telemarketing on its own can be a super effective way of gaining customers. However, when coupled with another form of sales or marketing, your ROI on telemarketing can increase. Consider coupling telemarketing with a social media campaign, email marketing or direct mail piece. In this way, you are reaching your prospects through several different channels and they’ll remember your name when their pain is at its greatest.

  • Make it fun! Telemarketing can be tough and sometimes a tad bit depressing. Make telemarketing fun for you and your team. Throw a pizza party or open some beers. You can also boost morale by holding sales competitions featuring prizes. Don’t be afraid to let loose and have fun on the job.

  lawn care strategy in a box

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips

Is telemarketing dying in the lawn care industry?

When it comes to growing your lawn care business, many lawntrepreneurs turn to telemarketing to get the job done. That’s because it not only works, but success is easily measured. Our CEO, Barrett Ersek, grew his first two lawn care companies primarily through telemarketing. When the “Do Not Call List” came out, his sales strategy took a hit, but he pushed through regardless. Today, with cell phones being the predominant means of communication (forget the landline) and the increasing number of people electing to join the “Do Not Call List”, telemarketing has gotten difficult. So, Is telemarketing dying in the lawn care industry?

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While telemarketing is undeniably tough (how many times do you have to listen to someone scream at you before you lose heart?), it’s still crucial to growing lawn care companies. At the 2016 Real Green Systems Conference held in January, we had the opportunity to speak with many lawn care company owners and sales managers that are still getting awesome results and relying heavily on telemarketing. For example, most of Go Green Lawn Care’s customers come through their team of telemarketers. But, we also saw a lot of lawn care companies looking for alternative ways of reaching prospects.

Go Organic in New Jersey has been testing paid advertising on the internet as a means of reaching prospects. George Louvis, their Head of Marketing, has been optimistic about the strategy. Other lawn care companies have started utilizing social media and content marketing as a means of warming up leads. Oasis Lawn Care in Ohio has seen some action on Angie’s List.

Regardless of your approach, telemarketing remains a very important tool in your sales arsenal. But, coupling telemarketing with alternative marketing and sales methods is important and can even boost your acquisition of prospects.

Want to learn more about alternative marketing and sales methods? Check out these blogs and videos:

lawn care strategy in a box

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, telemarketing

Communication Sucks! Try a Daily Huddle

Have you ever played whisper down the lane as a child? It all begins when one child whispers a phrase – let’s say ice cream, into the ear of another child. That child passes the phrase along to the next, and so on. A dozen children later and the last child announces the phrase he or she heard: “RICE BEAN!”

Whether you are playing whisper down the lane as a child, managing a crew at the course or running a small lawn care company, communication sucks!

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Sam Walton, founder of Walmart understood the power of good communication. That’s why he started a daily huddle: a meeting that occurred every day for a specific, short amount of time (think ten to fifteen minutes). Each morning, the Walmart crew would gather to discuss key information, providing direction and alignment to the entire team.

Walmart isn’t the only company to incorporate a Daily Huddle. The Ritz Carlton has a daily lineup, Johnson and Johnson has a daily meeting and at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Director of Grounds Management, Paul B. Latshaw, has his own daily meeting before the crew begins their day.

Here are some of the basics for designing your very own daily huddle taken from The Rockefeller Habits, by Verne Harnish.

  • Time of day – It should be as early as possible, ideally before the work day begins.
  • Length of time – Five to fifteen minutes depending on the team size.
  • Number of attendees – Teams of seven or fewer people. If you have more than seven people in a meeting, split up the team.
  • Who attends – Every person in your company should be attending at least one daily huddle.
  • Who runs it – Select someone on your team that is organized to run the meeting.
  • Where does it take place – It can be done in person or over the phone. Although, in person is always BEST!


What should your meeting look like?

  • What’s up – The first section of the huddle should allow members to share something they’ve accomplished since the previous meeting. Allow three to five minutes for this section with each participant talking for no longer than thirty seconds.
  • The numbers – Cover your critical metrics that are most important to your team. For example, at Holganix we discuss the number of RAD placements as a critical number. Allow three to five minutes for this section.
  • Roadblocks – Review any roadblocks faced by the team and see how other team members may be able to come to their rescue. Allow three to five minutes for this section.
  • Values and ideology – Discuss values related items that don’t fit into the first three sections. For example, at Holganix we share a story about an employee, partner or customer that lives by one of our core values.

Turf roots



Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, marketing hints and tips, agriculture, golf

10 Dirty Secrets About Soil


Let's dig deep into soil science with these 10 dirty secrets you didn't know about SOIL! See below for our slide share. If you are viewing this via email, click here.

lawn care strategy in a box

 

Tags: lawn care, the science behind holganix, sports turf, golf course, agriculture, golf

Do you REALLY understand the nitrogen cycle?

A whopping 78% of our atmosphere consists of nitrogen (N2). N2 is an instrumental element within plants, acting as a key component in amino acids, proteins, nucleic acids (DNA & RNA) and other biochemicals. Yet, while plant life is surrounded by N2 found in the atmosphere, most plants (including turfgrass) are unable to turn N2 gas into plant usable forms: nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+). Therefore, the plant relies upon microorganisms that manage the nitrogen cycle to naturally turn N2 into the plant usable forms NH4+ and NO3-.

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Nitrogen Cycle Chat By EPA.gov

N2 in the atmosphere is converted to NH4+ in the soil by the process of nitrogen fixation. This process requires a lot of energy and is performed by nitrogen fixing bacteria living freely in the soil and symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria living in certain plant roots. These two types of nitrogen fixing bacteria turn the nitrogen gas (N2) into ammonium (NH4+) a plant available form, through the process of ammonification. If not taken up by roots, specific bacteria (Nitrosomonas spp., consume plant available (NH4+) and convert it to nitrite (NO2-), which is not a plant available form. This is the first step of nitrification. The second and final step is performed by Nitrobacter spp. These bacteria will finish off nitrification by converting NO2- to NO3- which is again a plant available form.

When the NO3- is not consumed by the plant or does not leach (wash out of the soil with water), it goes through a denitrification process performed by bacteria. These bacteria first turn NO3- into nitric oxide (NO) then to nitrous oxide (N2O). It is then returned to the atmosphere as N2, a gas. If the plant does consume the N2, an entirely different process follows. The plant first has to die and fall to the soil. When it does, decomposing bacteria and fungi-like mushrooms will begin to consume the plant. This is what naturally happens to all life, including animals and humans as well when they die. The nitrogen will then go through the process of mineralization, which will convert it back to ammonium.

Register: Let's Talk Turf with Superintendent Russ McPhail of Garden City Country Club, NY

Tags: lawn care, the science behind holganix, sports turf, agriculture, golf

Ready to keep that New Year's Resolution?

As the new year dawns, a spell takes over the world and suddenly everyone is setting goals for 2016. But, it’s one thing to make a New Year’s Resolution and another thing entirely to keep it. In fact, out of the 45% of Americans that set New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving their Resolution (Statisticbrain.com). So, whether your New Year’s Resolution revolves around personal fitness, sales goals, or agronomic goals, keep these three tips in mind to ensure that your New Year’s Resolution is a success.

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  1. Create SMART Goals. Okay, you have your goal in mind and you’ve even written it down… somewhere. But is your goal SMART?

    • Smart. Is your goal specific or general? Is your goal to grow your company? Or is it to gain new customers. Simply stating that you want to grow your business, isn’t specific enough.

    • Measurable. Is your goal measurable? Is your goal to get new customers? Or is it to increase sales by 100 new customers? Stating that you will increase sales by 100, makes the goal measurable.

    • Attainable or action oriented. Did you list steps to achieve your goal? For example: I will increase sales by 100 new customers by hiring 1 new sales representative.  

    • Realistic. Is this something you can reasonably accomplish in 2016? Or is this a 2 or 5 year goal?

    • Timely. Did you select a date for your goal? For example: I will increase sales by 100 new customers by November 1, 2016, by hiring 1 new sales representative, creating a social media account, and increasing direct mail by 25%.

  2. Get a goal buddy! It’s hard to keep yourself accountable to yourself. Ask a friend or colleague to hold you accountable and encourage you to reach your goal.

  3. Set up rewards! When you reach a certain hurdle, whether that means reaching 25 customers or hiring an awesome sales rep that propels you towards your goal, treat yourself. Setting up defined rewards can help motivate you to succeed.

Register: Let's Talk Turf with Superintendent Russ McPhail of Garden City Country Club, NY

 

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, marketing hints and tips, agriculture, golf

Promoting vigor and color in your flowers

Nothing looks more beautiful in a garden than colorful, healthy flowers. With annuals, achieving the most pop and life in as short a time as possible as compared with turf is key. Yet, how do you promote vigor and color in your flowers? It all comes down to fertilization and how the flowers efficiently acquire and use nutrients and water. By utilizing a bionutritional product like Holganix, landscapers and gardeners alike can create the perfect, colorful garden. 

Holganix flowersFertilization—Reducing Fertilizers with Great Results

Fertilizer is necessary to promoting colorful flowers. However, as you apply fertilizers, many of the nutrients don’t actually make it to the plant. Instead, some nutrients become locked within the soil, becoming unavailable for plant use. Bionutritional products like Holganix help unlock these nutrients and covert them to a useable form for your flowers. That means that the fertilizer you use gets you optimal results. Just think, with Holganix, you can reduce tablespoons of fertilizers to mere teaspoons!

 

Food Sources—Making Natural Food Sources Available

Yet another helpful feature of Holganix is its ability to improve the cation exchange capacity of your soil. This is the ability for the soil to store one particular group of nutrients called cat ions. The major cat ion nutrients include calcium, magnesium and potassium. Improvement of the exchange capacity of your soil will make nutrients that were unavailable to your flowers accessible!

 

Watering—Reducing Water Needs Is Easy

Holganix significantly reduces your watering needs. The mycorrhizae found within the Holganix secret recipe helps create a thicker, deeper root system allowing for better water, food and mineral translocation. Furthermore, Yucca and additional sugars also help the plant increase water retention.

 

http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/sciences/earthscience/geology/Soils/SoilComposition/ComponentsStructure/CationNutrients/CationNutrients.htm

http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ay/ay-238.html

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Tags: lawn care, holganix, the science behind holganix, bionutrition, sports turf, golf course, flowers, holganix flowers, healthy flowers