Here in the US, we’re just a few days away from our presidential inauguration. It’s a time of change that happens every eight years (or occasionally after just four – hey, no one’s perfect). This is also a time of change and planning for businesses. No matter how you may have voted, this is a great time to look at what’s working, what’s not, and make some changes of your own. Consider replacing or revising these three things in your lawn or landscape business in 2017.
Your marketing plan
Your marketing should be accomplishing two important objectives: bringing in leads, and ensuring those leads are qualified to buy your product or service. This is a terrific time of year to take a hard look at your marketing efforts to decide if they’re succeeding. Did you get enough leads to fill your schedule last year? Were they customers who were profitable, good to work with, and who will help you get your business where you want it?
The way you answer these questions is by tracking data and results. If you’re not doing it already, be sure that in 2017 you’re paying attention to some basic metrics like
- # of leads from each lead source
- $ value of each lead
- cost to acquire each customer (averaged out over your marketing spend)
And of course, the very subjective question: did you like working with these people? Do you want more clients just like them?
When you look at that data, you can better decide which methods (print, online) paid the most dividends for your business. And if you’re stuck, consider hiring a marketing firm or a consultant. As small business owners we try to be everything to everyone, but sometimes an outside expert is what’s needed to 10x your business.
Your health insurance
If your company offers health insurance, 2017 is looking to be a year of a lot of changes. Congress has already started work on rolling back the Affordable Care Act, and in a few months the insurance landscape may look radically different. How can you prepare for this?
Without a doubt, this is a time to make sure that your insurance rep is staying informed and up to date, and is passing that info along to you. It’s also going to be important to keep in touch with your accountant as there will likely be changes to the tax implications of all this. If you don’t have a savvy insurance rep and a responsive accountant, beefing up your team of trusted advisors needs to be a priority in 2017!
Your sales strategy
The landscape industry has always been a crowded, competitive field. How can you stand out and increase your likelihood of closing the sale? As with anything else, having a plan is key. Consider changing or improving these parts of your sales process in 2017:
- Prequalifying: odds are, you don’t just run out to meet everyone who calls. Do you have a script for prequalifying leads, though? It may sound silly but write out an actual script of all the talking points and questions you want to hit. Decide what responses determine a good lead vs a weak one, and don’t be afraid to decline a consultation. Not everyone is a fit, after all.
- Showtime: Just like you’re mentally cataloguing every detail of their property from the time you step out of your truck, your prospect is doing the same with you. Does your vehicle and how you’re dressed speak to the type of company you run, and do they fit with your marketing?
- Razzle-dazzle: What do you bring with you on your sales calls to demonstrate the fact that you’re the best company for the job? Many landscape professionals will bring a portfolio of prior work, brochures with lots of pictures, or other items that show off what they can do. Testimonials are another excellent tool. One of the pool builders we work with provides each prospect with a stapled packet. It’s three pages of happy past clients that have agreed to speak with new prospects. That’s a heck of an asset.
- Proposal and followup: 2017 is a bad time to be in the 3-part, carbon paper hand written proposal business. Technology has given us some really powerful tools to present proposals in a way that’s clean, concise, and easy for the client to understand. The ability to include company info and photographs of what you’re proposing can make the sales process go a lot smoother. Describeit offers software that does exactly that, so be sure to check us out! We also make it easy to follow up with reminders to help get that all-important signature.
Some of our users are happy with who’s getting sworn in on Friday and some aren’t. The reality, of course, is that 100% of us will still be hard at work in 2017, making our businesses everything we’ve always dreamed of. Take a hard look at your business and work on these three things and we can all be successful together.