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View Full Version : I smile, I nod and I listen as I am trying to get the hell outta there


brodo374
06-05-2010, 06:34 AM
Yea, I do things like leave the trimmer running while she is talking, I slowly begin walking away while she goes on about how we need some rain this year, or I even tell her I gotta get going to try to get home to see the kids but she still will not release me. So i smile and nod untill she finally takes a breath and then i book, I get the hell out of there. I've lost at least 6 minutes listening to the chit chat so that means I've lost at least 6 dollars ( and probably much more). And I wonder how many clients will be home for the remainder of the day. It is a Saturday so that means more contact with my good people. I am ok as long as I do not add up the dollars that I have lost at the end of the day. I am ok.

93Chevy
06-05-2010, 06:43 AM
In the business of serving customers, I don't understand why many of us (myself included at some points) really hate talking to customers.

I never go out of my way to talk to customers, but I (usually) enjoy talking with them so I can judge how happy they are with my service, just by the way they talk, even if we don't talk about anything I've done on their lawn.

Sometimes it's annoying, but I think it pays off.

TimsLawnCareVA
06-05-2010, 07:01 AM
In order to be successful you need to take the time to talk to your customers. I have a very good relationship with all my customers and don't mind at all talking to them. Take that time to find out if there is anything else they need then upsell other services to them. If not, just be nice and listen to what they have to say.

Charles
06-05-2010, 07:20 AM
Yea, good customer relations is very important. That may save you when another lawn care person tries to steal them away from you with lower prices. 6 to 15 minutes of chit chat is a good investment. Most customers are considerate of your time. So really it isn't that big of a problem. I know what you mean though because I dread the road block with the 15 minute ones. That is the maximum time I allow and then I say I have a lot of yards to do and have to go.
Just part of the job when dealing with the public.

yardguy28
06-05-2010, 07:52 AM
In the business of serving customers, I don't understand why many of us (myself included at some points) really hate talking to customers.

I never go out of my way to talk to customers, but I (usually) enjoy talking with them so I can judge how happy they are with my service, just by the way they talk, even if we don't talk about anything I've done on their lawn.

Sometimes it's annoying, but I think it pays off.

this is so very true........

one of my goals in my business this season to be more customer friendly.....

now i won't go out of my way to talk to them but if i see them on the property i wave and if they come my way i stop what i'm doing, sometimes shutting the equipment off to talk to them.

like you said it gives you a chance to feel them out for how happy they are with your services. i know some might think if they were unhappy they'd tell you but with some people they will fire you never giving you the chance to fix or even know what you did wrong.

QualityLawnCare4u
06-05-2010, 08:20 AM
Just about every client I have (usually older folks) I allow 15 minutes to BS with them. I think it shows a more personal interest in them and its also polite. Do I want to spend that time talking, not always but I just accept it as the way it is. I have two really older clients I do last in the day where I will have time for it. One lady in particular you can figure half an hour, a big glass of tea and a sandwich,sitting on her patio talking with her. I think I am the only person she must ever see during the week. And since I have sooooo many clients I usually have time anyways:laugh:

StoneFaced
06-05-2010, 08:42 AM
I don't mow lawns, but I understand the need to time limit when you have other places to be. I would suggest that if you know you had to cut someone short, try to make it up the next time you see them, or even call later just to make sure you have addressed all their concerns. There is a balance and a way to finesse a conversation with them, that takes practice and knowing your client.

It's important to remember, that people generally do business w/ people they like and are reluctant to do business w/ those they do not. They also like to talk about and refer those they like and respect. Think about that when you are going over your advertising budget. I started contracting myself in 1990, I haven't paid for an ad since 1994. My close ratio is high, because it's already half sold when I walk through their door.

unit28
06-05-2010, 08:52 AM
I talk a little with the same customers year after year.

MikeKle
06-05-2010, 09:02 AM
I try to remember the ones who talk my head off and either do them last for the day, or when they are at work or out.. I dont mind a little bit of customer relations, but when they want you to come on in and sit for a spell, you just know your not getting much done that day, however if you indulge them each week, it is likely they will stay loyal to you for life., plus the more you talk to them, the more loyal they get and you may even get more work as a result. I just wish this would happen with some young nice looking gals and not older folks all the time, but beggars cant be choosy!

clean_cut
06-05-2010, 09:08 AM
In the business of serving customers, I don't understand why many of us (myself included at some points) really hate talking to customers.

I never go out of my way to talk to customers, but I (usually) enjoy talking with them so I can judge how happy they are with my service, just by the way they talk, even if we don't talk about anything I've done on their lawn.

Sometimes it's annoying, but I think it pays off.

Yeah, customer contact is almost always good, excessive talk time can be annoying though.

If I were you, I would just look at talk time as marketing time.

"Hey I noticed your bushes were getting a little long, do you want me to trim them up for $$$ next week"

"Hey, I noticed your neighbors lawn was getting a little long, do you think he might be interested in having someone mow it?"

You get the idea.

topsites
06-05-2010, 10:17 AM
6 minutes :laugh:

LOL!

I can see getting irritated after an hour or two.

But even then I'd have to agree, every minute of every dollar spent talking is good as money in the bank,
even if the chit chat's got nothing to do with work or money, word of mouth is the best advertising,
I take time out and talk to them, doesn't hurt a thing.

Matter of fact as hot as it's been here lately, I don't hardly work and the sweat's just running down, what a joke,
now I can handle standing in the shade shooting the breeze, who cares?

Then again that lesson took me YEARS (and a depression) to figure out.

TennisBum
06-05-2010, 10:36 AM
I decided a long time ago I would out-talk them. Now they run in the house when they see me coming.:clapping:

BINKY1902
06-05-2010, 10:53 AM
I used to get in a hurry and try to avoid the talking. I took a new approach this year and just set a steady pace. If I have customers home I don't mind talking 5-10 minutes. Normally I just say "hold on a minute", and go turn my AC on in the truck. Then I visit while the truck is cooling off. Bless her heart, I had one little lady with memory problems that would ask me every time I mowed where I was from, who my relatives were, and how much she owed me. I would always answer her questions and didn't mind a bit. I have gotten some good referrals from doing some talking. Also, it's a good time to ask who the people are on the street and line up some potential customers.

topsites
06-05-2010, 11:02 AM
I decided a long time ago I would out-talk them. Now they run in the house when they see me coming.:clapping:

Well I do that, too LOL

On another note, now that I think of it...
Maybe if you're too busy to talk, your prices are too low.

mbrew
06-05-2010, 11:19 AM
My guess is that its a whole lot easier to change from Sundown Lawn Service to Barksdale Landscaping over a couple of bucks than it is to stop using Mike who asks me if everything is ok and I know is retired from......etc.

QualityLawnCare4u
06-05-2010, 12:02 PM
Well I do that, too LOL

On another note, now that I think of it...
Maybe if you're too busy to talk, your prices are too low.

You, Topsites, No, I can't imagine that!:laugh:

Charles
06-05-2010, 01:05 PM
I decided a long time ago I would out-talk them. Now they run in the house when they see me coming.:clapping:


:laugh:Ya one way to get them to run is to start talking about yourself a LOT. Old people especially want to tell you about their health problems and their relatives health problems. Just take over the conversation with your own problems. "Well you must have a lot of grass to cut, I will let you go":drinkup:

mark123
06-05-2010, 01:21 PM
Talking to a customer is one thing but getting walked around the house EVERY TIME and hearing the same complaints about how the painter missed a spot, the repair guy didn't hang the rain gutters properly and how the sidewalk developed cracks but only just this year (for the past 4 years) does get really tedious. I can really understand avoiding this customer.

yardguy28
06-05-2010, 05:12 PM
Just about every client I have (usually older folks) I allow 15 minutes to BS with them. I think it shows a more personal interest in them and its also polite. Do I want to spend that time talking, not always but I just accept it as the way it is. I have two really older clients I do last in the day where I will have time for it. One lady in particular you can figure half an hour, a big glass of tea and a sandwich,sitting on her patio talking with her. I think I am the only person she must ever see during the week. And since I have sooooo many clients I usually have time anyways:laugh:

I try to remember the ones who talk my head off and either do them last for the day, or when they are at work or out.. I dont mind a little bit of customer relations, but when they want you to come on in and sit for a spell, you just know your not getting much done that day, however if you indulge them each week, it is likely they will stay loyal to you for life., plus the more you talk to them, the more loyal they get and you may even get more work as a result. I just wish this would happen with some young nice looking gals and not older folks all the time, but beggars cant be choosy!

i don't mind a few min. of chit chat but when they want you to come in and sit down thats just to much.

i worked for one that was that way. they always wanted me to come in and sit down and would talk for like 20+ min. the few times i just mowed and left they complained i was in such a hurry.

currently i have a lady i work for who has no husband and no kids. she pays me double what i try to charge her each week and in cash. i don't mind the chit chat we do peroidically.

brodo374
06-05-2010, 08:07 PM
I think that I may have been too harsh with my original statement. Mostly all of my folks are nice people and I do try to spend a FEW minutes with the ones that like to talk. Last week I was doing a hedge job for a regular talker. When I am nearly finish, she decides to help. She picks up my rake and immediately gets a large splinter in her finger. I suggest she allow someone else to help her get it out but she wants me. So there I am sitting on her front porch with a needle, pair of plyers, and a frail 60 yr old woman. I polked and pryed until I finally got it out. That moment felt way to funny to be upset. I don't think I will be losing that yard.

1993lx172
06-05-2010, 08:38 PM
Never miss an opportunity to talk with a client if you have the time, I have gotten a TON of extra work from my clients just by talking with them. Often times they will notice things that need to be done or mention ideas for projects they have been kicking around which opens the door for you to up-sell other services like trimming bushes, mulch, and the like or (concerning the ideas for projects) to make suggestions that will help them get what they are looking for out of a project and since they know you are familiar with what they are looking for, you will have a better chance of getting the job because they know that you know what they want.

rwar
06-05-2010, 10:27 PM
Ive got several old customers that like to talk,I have this one guy that was a first seargant in ww2,he is very cool,he just went to his 75th high school reunion and was the only one left,I really like to listen to his stories,sometimes they slow you up a bit but its part of the biz,but then im solo and dont have a crew waiting on the clock

milo
06-05-2010, 10:58 PM
i dont think of myself as a lawn guy, i now call myself a therapist. i cannot stand that part of the job anymore. 1 to 2 minutes fine or if something big happened to tell me about but otherweis i hate it.

yardguy28
06-05-2010, 11:19 PM
I think that I may have been too harsh with my original statement. Mostly all of my folks are nice people and I do try to spend a FEW minutes with the ones that like to talk. Last week I was doing a hedge job for a regular talker. When I am nearly finish, she decides to help. She picks up my rake and immediately gets a large splinter in her finger. I suggest she allow someone else to help her get it out but she wants me. So there I am sitting on her front porch with a needle, pair of plyers, and a frail 60 yr old woman. I polked and pryed until I finally got it out. That moment felt way to funny to be upset. I don't think I will be losing that yard.

now that right there is going WAY to far........

clients want to talk for a few thats fine but they are not helping and i am not pulling any splinters out of there fingers.

i have ways to avoid situations like these. either A i do some of that kind of work while they are away, B i keep all tools close by me and C which is usually the case the only tools left away from the truck are the one's in my hand. to prun shrubs i would get out the hedge trimmers only prun everything put away the hedge trimmers and get out the rake and start raking. therefore no tools are laying around for the client to pick up and start messing with in the first place.

MikeKle
06-06-2010, 09:25 AM
i dont think of myself as a lawn guy, i now call myself a therapist. i cannot stand that part of the job anymore. 1 to 2 minutes fine or if something big happened to tell me about but otherweis i hate it.

Thats funny you say that, as I have had many customers start crying and telling me all their problems, cheating spouses, money troubles, personal depression, even suicide attempts, etc. I am like..Hey, Im the lawn guy and just met you, why are you telling me all of this?!! But it can never be some young 20 something blond with a smoking body to start telling me her problems? Now I would enjoy that...Ok honey, here is what you should do, get your stuff, come with me, and I will make it all better for you!! I never get that lucky though? Does anyone else??

Robert Pruitt
06-06-2010, 09:53 AM
schedule was off this week because of storm clean up. was a an elderly lady house (she knows my schedule, i can see her coming out while driving down the road) talk to her every week. one of her neighbors came wanting her lawn cut, and how much? looked it over and said around $100. double cut it, because it had not been cut in about two weeks. cut it,trim, and blow. went back to the truck to write invoice had a check for $125, with a note saying could i cut it every week.
ten min. here ten min. there is worth the time.

milo
06-06-2010, 11:38 AM
Thats funny you say that, as I have had many customers start crying and telling me all their problems, cheating spouses, money troubles, personal depression, even suicide attempts, etc. I am like..Hey, Im the lawn guy and just met you, why are you telling me all of this?!! But it can never be some young 20 something blond with a smoking body to start telling me her problems? Now I would enjoy that...Ok honey, here is what you should do, get your stuff, come with me, and I will make it all better for you!! I never get that lucky though? Does anyone else??


yea always hearing this stuff. i would not mind it if they paid for that service to.