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View Full Version : Proven ways to get customers


Icemanku
12-28-2007, 01:24 PM
I'd like to talk about the best ways most of you get your customers each year?

I'd like to hear from old and new people into the business.

ed2hess
12-28-2007, 03:09 PM
Well the Justmow it look alike guys came into Austin and got a bunch of jobs because they had a low price. And they had a picture of their truck with 21" mowers and a photo of the cutter.

Icemanku
12-28-2007, 05:23 PM
Well the Justmow it look alike guys came into Austin and got a bunch of jobs because they had a low price. And they had a picture of their truck with 21" mowers and a photo of the cutter.

Ummmm? That doesn't really help me at all.

Anyone else?

grassnazi1
12-28-2007, 05:28 PM
I have had a LOT of luck sticking flyers in doors next to the properties I already have and say something like.... "we are here every Tuesday servicing Mr Smiths lawn, if you would like your lawn to look as nice as his we can offer you the same great service for $40 per week with a monthly bill cycle or seasonal agreement...Please call...blah blah blah" You get the idea....If they like that neighbor and your doing a good job, chances are good they'll give yopu a shot..... Works well for me in adding a lot of customers in the same neighborhood quickly....Hope this helps.

Roger
12-28-2007, 07:12 PM
Proven ways ... Do a good job for existing customers, show up when expected, be prompt with billing and deposits, ... In other words, just do the tasks needed to be a viable business and do them well. Since there are so many flaky people in this industry, you will stand out if following the above recommendation. As a stand-out, business will likely come your way.

Remember, you are ALWAYS selling. That includes casual conversations with friends, with those you encounter in stores, neighbors living next to existing customers, those walking by on the street while loading/unloading, anybody. Your best calling card is for other potential customers to see the kind of work, and how you work, at existing customers.

Get a business card into the hands of anybody you encounter. I'm amazed at calls I receive sometimes, from a card dropped here, or there, and often, a year or two earlier.

topsites
12-29-2007, 12:02 AM
At first it's like they say, you just show up and do a good job and they're happy.

Later it gets more complicated, but I don't think the more advanced techniques will help at the earlier stages, other than it will waste so much of your time it's not worth it. See you get a ways down the road, several years into it the boredom is so bad, we get creative and to a point its absurd but guys like myself strive to be the absolute best in town bar none... The reality, well, you know, but seriously, it really does boil down to you just show up and do a good job.

Thou I can recommend sharpen your blades daily, grease the zerks, check the oil and keep the pre-cleaner in good condition.
That's not too far out there, I don't think, a little eccentric maybe but it helps, I did that pretty much since day 1.

bohiaa
12-30-2007, 09:12 AM
word of mouth

Icemanku
01-08-2008, 07:01 PM
Let's say for some reason you guys lost all of your customers and have to start from scratch.

What would you do starting tomorrow morning to try and get customers?

Sean Adams
01-08-2008, 09:30 PM
So many possibilities...a lot depends on what you have to spend. If we are looking at low cost options, things often mentioned work well - flyers, door hangers, passing out business cards, etc.....

I know if I had to go back and do it all over again one thing I would consider telemarketing from the start. A lot of people are afraid to face that constant rejection, and some people are turned off by the idea of telemarketing in general....but if you compare cost to return, it is hard to beat.

tinman
01-08-2008, 09:36 PM
classified ads (cheap in my paper) worked great for me om the beginning. Flyers are ok , but must be done in big numbers. Direct mail has never worked for me. Yellow pages work , but remember you will be paying monthly even in months that the phone will not ring.

tjsquickcuts
01-08-2008, 11:11 PM
The best and most proven sales method since the dont not call list was created is Door to Door. You can pass out all the flyers in the world, pay for a pretty ad in your phone book, and do all kinds of other things, but there is no better way to sell your services then being face to face with someone. If you make a good sales pitch, you will either sign them up that day, or they will remember you for their future needs and call you when needed. I am going to post a thread with outlining my winter preparation for some of you all to follow if needed. But I will be using 3 people a day, and the expectation is for each person to knock on 500 doors or more per day. If we can just talk with 50 to 60 people each per day, we have a 1 and 3 chance of either signing them up, or making a good first impression. JMO....

Chilehead
01-08-2008, 11:31 PM
Cold calls--relentlessly executed.

tjsquickcuts
01-09-2008, 07:57 AM
Cold calling might get you in trouble with the dont not call list.

hackitdown
01-09-2008, 08:51 AM
I'd like to talk about the best ways most of you get your customers each year?

I'd like to hear from old and new people into the business.

When I started (5 years ago), I asked about 20 people where they would look for a landscaper or lawn guy if they needed one. About half told me about one classified advertiser that gets mailed to every house in our area. It is full of service companies like plumbers and painters. So I advertised there...pretty simple really. I have generated about 50% of my customers from that thing.

I have used Service Magic also. It works pretty well for me.

Last year I signed up about 18 new customers, more than 1/2 from advertising, the rest were referrals or neighbors who saw me in action and walked up. I expect to keep about 13 to 15 of those customer for 2008.

Sean Adams
01-09-2008, 09:23 AM
I like the door to door method as well, but it requires people who can sell. As the owner of the company you are going to be able to present your company in the best light, but if you have other people doing these door to door cold calls, make certain they are prepared to answer questions in detail. If you have that kind of staff, excellent....pound that pavement.

A lot of people do not like the direct mail approach, but I have learned over time that it is the entire presentation that determines success or failure with the campaign. A follow up call after the letter is even better. I consistently experienced 15% to 17% return on my targeted direct mail campaigns. It was the research and presentation ahead of time that created this level of success.

Valk
01-09-2008, 12:18 PM
Door to door selling is technically soliciting...and may require registering/licensing with your municipality.

A lot of folks have a No Soliciting sign on their doors...so what to do when faced with this?

tinman
01-09-2008, 02:46 PM
Door to door selling is technically soliciting...and may require registering/licensing with your municipality.

A lot of folks have a No Soliciting sign on their doors...so what to do when faced with this?

No soliciting signs I would not go there. as for regulations on what you can & cannot do, I would not worry about that so much. If you checked before anything business related, you would rarely find something you COULD do. I'd rather ask forgiveness than permission.

Roger
01-09-2008, 05:27 PM
... I'd rather ask forgiveness than permission.

Along with asking forgiveness, you may also write a check for the fine.

Our municipality has strong ordinances regarding those doing soliciting. It requires registration and prominent display of an assigned badge. And, I say "good." If somebody comes to my door or driveway, my first question before they start their prepared speech, "... let me see your badge."

I think others here feel the same way. We don't want people with wrong motives roaming through the neighborhoods, scouting out homes and cars, and other inappropriate motives. If somebody does not have their credentials, then we make a call to the local police. Why not? These are the rules, and some of us are glad they are in place.

tinman
01-09-2008, 05:41 PM
Along with asking forgiveness, you may also write a check for the fine.

Our municipality has strong ordinances regarding those doing soliciting. It requires registration and prominent display of an assigned badge. And, I say "good." If somebody comes to my door or driveway, my first question before they start their prepared speech, "... let me see your badge."

I think others here feel the same way. We don't want people with wrong motives roaming through the neighborhoods, scouting out homes and cars, and other inappropriate motives. If somebody does not have their credentials, then we make a call to the local police. Why not? These are the rules, and some of us are glad they are in place.

No doubt most people do not want to be bothered at home much less have someone with bad intentions on their doorstep. But if you don't want someone bothering you, just don't answer the door or put a no soliciting sign on your door. It's just a vocal minority that wants all these rules obviously since the majority of people simply do not vote at all. By the way people with bad intentions are still roaming neighborhoods. bad guys seem to know how to get around these little obstacles. What I am saying is there are too many rules which can be handled on an individual basis, instead of having Mommy govt take care of any "potential" problems.

ed2hess
01-09-2008, 06:01 PM
The best and most proven sales method since the dont not call list was created is Door to Door. ...
I am not sure about knocking on doors......people will tolerate to some extent handout/door hangers but "ringing their door bell?

tinman
01-09-2008, 06:31 PM
I am not sure about knocking on doors......people will tolerate to some extent handout/door hangers but "ringing their door bell?

I'd rather have someone leave a flyer. And you have to be a special person to talk face to face with a lot of people. You have to be a people person and not easily discouraged. After the 5th "GO TO HELL" it will get tough to knock on the next door.

Roger
01-09-2008, 07:31 PM
... It's just a vocal minority that wants all these rules obviously since the majority of people simply do not vote at all. ...

Sorry, you are living in a different place. BTW, where do you get these statistics?

tinman
01-09-2008, 07:45 PM
Sorry, you are living in a different place. BTW, where do you get these statistics?
the majority of people do not vote? I though that was a given. Usually the % of "REGISTERED" voter turnout is low, so figure in the people who do not even register and you have a majority of people not voting.

J&R Landscaping
01-09-2008, 09:09 PM
I run an ad in 2 local papers to generate new business. The biggest thing for me however would be positive word of mouth and refferals from existing customers!

Roger
01-09-2008, 09:46 PM
the majority of people do not vote? I though that was a given. Usually the % of "REGISTERED" voter turnout is low, so figure in the people who do not even register and you have a majority of people not voting.

Ordinances are not made by local voters. Ordinances are made by officials elected to manage the municipalities. Voters vote in elections -- nothing to do with establishing ordinances.

gosselin142258
01-09-2008, 09:51 PM
I feel that if you're afraid to talk one on one then you shouldn't be in the business

tjsquickcuts
01-10-2008, 12:19 AM
I feel bad for you northern guys....there are so many B.S. Laws and Ordinances that are just useless and meaningless. Here, there are no special requirements to go door to door. Apprearance, Knowledge, and a little southern charm are the keys to my success. As for the No solicitation neighborhoods, unless they have a State Mandated No solictation permit with Ordinance number clearly visiable then its not valid. If someone has gone to the extreme of placing a No solicitation sticker on their door then I dont even leave a thing, because those are the people that will become a problem down the line. If I am in a neighborhood that has a No Solicitation sign and someone questions what we are doing, I say we are providing home owners with free lawn anaylsis and landscaping information. There is no law against passing out info and who doesnt want something for free. Personally you can feel a person out within the first 5 seconds on the convo by their body language and if they arent really feeling what you are selling then smile, and just say sorry to bother, just didnt want you to miss out on what some of your neighbors are going to get. We wear nice clean WHITE or YELLOW (a very submissive color) Polo shirts, with a nice pair of slacks and some comfortable shoes. Grooming is a must and look happy(it may sound chessy but it works). Lastly, know how to effectively communicate and be knowledgable. We are able to win a lot of people over with just knowing what we are talking about, and I think it makes people feel like they are making a comfortable buying decision. Another plus is, I close all sales, either by phone or in person and people love being able to talke with the owner and be reassured by the man at the top that we will go above and beyond, plus I am able to tell them a little about who I am and what they can expect. Its by far one of the most cost effective ways of marketing post DO NOT CALL LIST. Mass mailers are great, but it can be expensive, and you are not able to control your customer base. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is leaving flyers on doors, mailboxes, etc....so your flyer is likely to end up as toliet paper just like all the others. Ads are good, but most people are likely to either remember the guy who stopped by, or find one of the 1000 flyers for Lawn Care that didnt make it to the toliet bowl and call them. But to each their own, just thought I would share my success. No to mention, its great exercise and a great way to meet new people that you might possibly be able to network with for bigger projects. (This has to be my longest post).....

tinman
01-10-2008, 07:11 AM
Ordinances are not made by local voters. Ordinances are made by officials elected to manage the municipalities. Voters vote in elections -- nothing to do with establishing ordinances.
None the less, the officials making ridiculous ordinances are put in place by a small % of the people generally. You can take these ordinances to the extreme, which some places have. I can think of a problem with any action and say "we" need a rule to prevent X from happening. Example is the rules put in place against talking on a cell phone while driving. It is a distraction to some people more than others, but there are many distractions....... kids in back seat (Want to ban that?) , eating in car , billboards are distracting (especially the harley Davidson Blonde on a bike) , and good looking women on the sidewalk (should they be prohibited?) .
Also you mentioned that you check to see if the person at your door has a "badge" (permit). If they have bad intentions it would not matter if they had a badge or not. Your door is open & they are right in front of you. And badges are easily to conterfiet I am certain. These rules are to stop a small percentage of people out to do others harm (theft or fraud). The vast majority of people are not thieves or con artists. There are too many rules period. They don't stop real criminals who know how to get around this stuff. It only stifles everyday folks from doing reasonable activities. And the permits are just a way to raise funds for the local govt.

AI Inc
01-10-2008, 07:57 AM
Just be honest do what you say you will do for the price you said. Nowadays people have to deal with so many snakes they are estatic to deal with an honest person.

Honeybee Texas
05-19-2008, 09:30 PM
I started in March and 90% of my business has come solely from Craigslist. I've sold $9,000 since March starting from scratch, and it as taken about as much money just to get the equipment, pay the labor, pay the taxes, and put a couple of hundred bucks away. It's getting better, but for free advertisement like Craigslist, I can't complain. Luckily, my wife has a nice job and she gave me the green light to dive into this. Some folks aren't so lucky.

Lawnut101
05-20-2008, 12:22 AM
I have a lot of luck advertising in my local papers. Most guys on here say that it doesn't work for them, but it works great for me. Door hangers don't seem to work the best here, but every once in a while they do. But not as much as I'd like since I bought a whole bunch of them.

Woody82986
05-20-2008, 09:09 AM
Whenever I get the itch for a few new clients, which is pretty often, I always put my mind in a place where I don't have any clients at all and I am needing the new ones really quickly. That normally gets something to pop into my head and I run with it. It normally works.

SmittyCity
05-20-2008, 09:53 PM
Ordinances are not made by local voters. Ordinances are made by officials elected to manage the municipalities. Voters vote in elections -- nothing to do with establishing ordinances.

Therefore you have to admit that there are very few people who actually have any say so in this, correct?
I would very seriously doubt that someone would go through the trouble of passing out mowing flyers to your home most less knock on the door to talk to you about it, just to try and stake out your home for burglary.
I have gained many very good clients by knocking on the door and speaking to them in an educated manner and thanking them for time. Most people like to put a face with a name, do business with someone that they feel comfortable with. Would you rather hire someone you met face to face or just pick a name out of the phone book and hope that they send someone decent out? There is much to be said for meeting someone face to face, most people are somewhat decent judges of character. Give it a try, but you may not be a people person and likewise you would have poor results b/c standing there looking like you are mad at the world isn't the key to success.

therealdeal412
05-29-2008, 10:00 AM
I got my first few customer's from people I knew, then I made business cards and gave the to the customer's. Your customers will spread the word about you business to people they know and so on...