That title may surprise you – an engaging landscape proposal? After all, we tend to think of proposals as those black and white, boring descriptions of what you’re proposing to do and for how much money. If that’s how you view your proposals, you’re missing a great sales opportunity at the moment when that prospect most wants to buy from you! Let’s talk about what you need to know to create an engaging landscape proposal that will win their business.
Make it look good
The basics first! Nothing against Quickbooks (we love them – did you know Describeit integrates with Quickbooks?) but their proposals are nothing exciting to look at. Imagine getting five quotes, all in the same format. How would you tell them apart? You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so let the look of your proposal set you apart:
- Use your logo! If your prospect sets all their proposals on the table, they should be able to tell at a glance which is yours.
- Color works wonders. The landscape business is all about looks, whether you’re doing maintenance or installs, so you know this is true. Even simple accents using colors from your logo will go a long way towards creating a cohesive look that stands out from everyone else.
- A clean layout makes your proposal easy to navigate, so be sure to separate sections with clear headers. All the information they need to make a decision should be easy to find and right where they’d expect it.
Tell your story
You’re not just selling lawn mowing, or fertilization, or a patio. You’re selling the relationship they’re beginning with you and your company. If you’re reviewing the proposal in person with your prospect, you get to tell them your story. But what happens if you have to email the proposal to them? What happens when you leave and they’re reviewing proposals the following day? Let your proposal be a reminder of what a relationship with you gets them:
- Set the tone that you’re a professional company. Make sure your cover page doesn’t just have their name and yours, make sure it gives them multiple ways to reach you.
- Talk about yourself. Don’t be shy! These folks called you because they’re interested in buying what you’re selling. This is your opportunity to show them why they’re super smart and they made the right decision. What’s your background? Did you go to school for this? What’s your industry experience? What are some accomplishments your company has made? Tell them what the path is that led to you and them sitting across from the table.
- What is the customer experience like with your company? If there’s an intake path that new customers take, tell them what that is! They should know what happens on the day they sign the contract, what happens when work starts, and how they reach out to you or your staff if they need something. People fear what they don’t know, and fear kills sales. Make your process an open book.
- What happens if something goes wrong? It may seem counterintuitive to bring this up in the sales process, but let’s be honest: your prospects are thinking about this! Make sure they understand that you have systems in place to quickly resolve issues and make them happy. That’ll give them peace of mind, which will make them sign on the dotted line.
Answer their questions – before they even have a chance to ask!
Naturally you’re already putting as much detail as you can into your line items and letting your prospects know material choices, square footages, and more. Your big opportunity comes from letting them see what those descriptions actually mean. How so?
- If it’s a planting proposal, photographs of the plants you’re specifying is huge. Your average homeowner doesn’t know a Chamaecyparis from a Camaro, but they know what they like when they see it.
- Having a way to show where on the property each line item is taking place lets them see exactly what they’re signing up for. A landscape plan, a sketch, or even a site photo with notes on it identifying what’s happening where will really help your prospect feel like they know what’s on the table.
- A gallery of photos is a no brainer for landscape professionals who do installs, and those who do property maintenance. If you offer fertilizer applications and pest treatments, how about a gallery of specific problems? That way they can see what that grub damage looks like, or what a bagworm is, or what the fungus you’re treating looks like.
These three tips will have a tremendous payoff for your business’s growth and success. The point at which your prospects are reviewing your proposal is when they most want to answer the question. “Are you the one?” Make your proposals look good, tell your story, and answer all their questions, and you’ll close the deal.
If doing all this seems like an awful lot of work, don’t worry! Describeit is a business tool for landscape professionals that automates much of this for you. We help you create proposal templates that look amazing and share a wealth of information with your prospects about you, your company, and what you have to offer. We’ve helped numerous landscape companies increase the power of their sales presentations – are you next?