With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and technical training in computer science, winding up in the green industry was not exactly on Peter Chianchiano’s radar. But the New York native, California transplant says that he has learned that the landscape business is really no different than any other business — it’s all about the people, the process and the product. A new sales representative at Wolff Horticulture, Chianchiano was hired to execute a sophisticated strategy of content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, advertising, email marketing, warm calls, web design and analytics. Having built a long-standing sales career in the IT space, Chianchiano is applying the business principles he’s learned in the cut-throat IT world to what he says is the equally competitive green industry.

This industry is full of hardworking people who do a really good job with landscaping but they don’t know how to handle the business side of things. The forward-thinking companies are bringing people with business backgrounds onto their teams.

PHOTO: ISTOCK

My motto has always been: “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” That’s a Vince Lombardi quote, and in a brutal career like sales I have tried to keep that mentality. I have had some jobs where I’ve been very successful, and others not as much. It’s often a matter of timing and, sometimes, it’s just pure luck. At its roots, sales is all about having a conversation around a service or a product. You just need to keep persevering.

My favorite part about the green industry has easily been the plants. I’m amazed by how many types there are and how much their needs differ. Most recently, I planted a bottlebrush in a sunny spot in my yard, but our designer told me it needed even more sun. I’m fascinated by the nuances.

It’s only a matter of seconds that people will give an email before they delete it, so you have to have a catchy piece of information in there that keeps them reading. I target my emails directly to potential clients by reading their mission statements and learning about their businesses on their websites.

I studied organizational psychology, which is all about understanding how people need to change for the better. In California, where we are always looking for ways to save water, we’re changing landscapes for the better — just like you would a person or a company. We’re using more drought-tolerant plants and getting rid of turf. It’s all about constantly evolving and improving.

In my free time I ski and mountain bike a lot. My friend and I created a website where we go on excursions and then post about them. I also enjoy golfing. The common thread is that I enjoy being outdoors. I think that’s why the green industry already feels like a good fit.

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