It just so happens our industry has a “good-news, bad-news” aspect to it.
Here’s the bad news. Because the landscape business has a relatively low barrier of entry, there’s a ton of mediocrity out there. This has caused the general public to view the industry as less than professional.
Here’s the good news. The mediocrity and poor market perception creates a great opportunity for those that practice the trade properly, and let the market know it.
Commodity Or Skilled Trade?
Some of my design clients change their landscape maintenance contractors regularly in search of a knowledgeable one. Other homeowners feel resigned to the idea that most companies are the same and…”it is what it is”.
Meanwhile these companies forge ahead competing on price and trying all kinds of tactics and advertising to gain more customers – often to replace the ones they lost.
This can’t be fun.
We all work hard, but these commodity-like companies are doing the wrong hard work.
Do The Right Hard Work
Hard work should result in gain, but smart hard work results in long-term gain. This work has real value that solves problems and helps people get what they desire.
And when people get results and satisfaction from working with you, that starts to build the long-term relationship. They want to do business with you and they’re happy to tell their friends about you.
More work comes by way of your reputation.
Referrals and word-of-mouth become your sales force so you can focus on what really matters…doing the right hard work.
Help And Advise To Show You’re Different
When I meet with a new customer I talk about the work we have planned. I tell them why I’m recommending things and how it will help improve their landscape. I’ll then explain how the work will be done. And if subs are involved I’ll even talk about each contractor. This is all part of personalizing the experience and showing the thought and care you’re putting into their job.
All the extra steps you take, the systems and materials you use, the other contractors you work with…are all part of your normal workday. And you may not think to talk about them with your customer. But these are the things that matter. These are the things you do work hard at that clearly set you apart from others.
How you operate as a business and collaborate with other skilled contractors speaks volumes of who you are and what you’re all about. What seems so normal to you is often extraordinary to your customers.
There are two realities in the landscape business:
- Most homeowners are just not aware of the “right and wrong” ways of doing things. (This is actually true with many of the trades.)
- Most homeowners think of landscape contracting as a low-level skill.
Fortunately some of the new home improvement shows and magazines have helped educate people. The internet has also made homeowners more informed.
Here are some techniques to educate your customers and prospects:
- Talk about what you do and why you do it.
- Show people before and after pictures of your work and explain the stages of the projects.
- Describe the thinking that went into your plant selections.
- Talk about the future benefits to their landscape from the care you’re giving it today.
Educate and build relationships that will grow your business now and continuously. As a bonus you’ll end up really enjoying these relationships too.
Do you operate your business like this? If so, does it help keep existing customers? How about getting new ones? Let us know what you think in the comments.