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View Full Version : How do you sell quality? for maint.


Agape
03-06-2011, 11:51 AM
It's frustrating sometimes to give an estimate, and loose to a lowballer who makes more promises than he can afford to keep, and you know that after a couple months the quality is gonna dissapear.
What do you say to the customer to convince them that your service is better, has value etc...
Or do you just walk away and let them learn?
I usually do the latter but am always looking for sales tools -although, some people are just looking for the cheapest.

Patriot Services
03-06-2011, 12:05 PM
I was looking back at my books over the years. I tend to pick up the majority of new clients in July. This is when the heat is scorching, everything is growing out of control and Joey the lawn hack start up hasn't been seen in weeks. Our weather is our greatest friend when it comes to seperating the men from the boys. Bring on the heat and humidity there's a whole new crop of lawnboys to fry up.
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Landrus2
03-06-2011, 12:11 PM
It's frustrating sometimes to give an estimate, and loose to a lowballer who makes more promises than he can afford to keep, and you know that after a couple months the quality is gonna dissapear.
What do you say to the customer to convince them that your service is better, has value etc...
Or do you just walk away and let them learn?
I usually do the latter but am always looking for sales tools -although, some people are just looking for the cheapest.

You donít say anything you let them see it

lukemelo216
03-06-2011, 12:15 PM
I dont know how you bid on things, but I spent all winter putting together a really nice bid packet when I submit my bid.

Its in a green folder, which has a label on it with our logo, then Landscape Estimate For: XYZ Company.

We put 2 copys of the bid/agreement, a cover letter, a list of all of our services, company background, insurance certificate, and customer referalls.

ITs working out really nicely so far, but when I show up, im dressed nice, cleanly shaven, on time/or early always.

I tell them everything that is included in the bid packt, i explain that I have included strong references, that our track record is good, etc

Patriot Services
03-06-2011, 12:19 PM
Ok let's start some dialogue here. Who is so confident in their work they would offer a free cut to show off their quality?
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Agape
03-06-2011, 12:19 PM
yeah, but by then the HO thinks the yardguy's price is law. I'm talking about first contact. I have a binder and clear pocket sheets with my registration, Liabillity insurance papers and workers comp. info and pictures, (B4 n after) of my work (going to make this into an actual spiral book). but I show(point out) the papers and leave the book with the customer while I walk the property and estimate. this works well, but I need to make it even more professional looking.

Agape
03-06-2011, 12:21 PM
I dont know how you bid on things, but I spent all winter putting together a really nice bid packet when I submit my bid.

Its in a green folder, which has a label on it with our logo, then Landscape Estimate For: XYZ Company.

We put 2 copys of the bid/agreement, a cover letter, a list of all of our services, company background, insurance certificate, and customer referalls.

ITs working out really nicely so far, but when I show up, im dressed nice, cleanly shaven, on time/or early always.

I tell them everything that is included in the bid packt, i explain that I have included strong references, that our track record is good, etc

I've often thought about having bid folders made up, do you have a pic of what the customer recieves?

SNAPPER MAN
03-06-2011, 12:22 PM
You have to sell yourself. I see that as the biggest thing that helps me get business. People hire my company for me.
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Agape
03-06-2011, 12:23 PM
Ok let's start some dialogue here. Who is so confident in their work they would offer a free cut to show off their quality?
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If people let it go it will only look cut when I'm done. but my quality is great-just depends on what I start with.

Agape
03-06-2011, 12:25 PM
You have to sell yourself. I see that as the biggest thing that helps me get business. People hire my company for me.
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Right! If you can't make yourself look good, how can you make anyone else look good?!

Exact Rototilling
03-06-2011, 12:39 PM
Ok let's start some dialogue here. Who is so confident in their work they would offer a free cut to show off their quality?
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Not saying I would never offer a free cut but I do offer $20 intro cuts with no further obligation on smaller lawns to let a potential customer sample my service.

Patriot Services
03-06-2011, 12:45 PM
This is why I don't do contracts anymore. I tell people if you are not happy after one month we part ways. At most it will cost a month and we will work to your satisfaction. Haven't had to sell that hard lately. It laways seems to come down to they will pay your price or not.
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Agape
03-06-2011, 12:48 PM
I advertise "no contracts" and tell them we assume that if we do a good job, you'll keep us around.

Florida Gardener
03-06-2011, 03:09 PM
Like snapper said, it comes down to selling yourself. People want to feel confident in hiring you and have some kind of comfort they you are going to take care of what needs to be done. You also have to filter through the people that are price shopping. After 2.5 years, I have learned that a price shopper is always a price shopper.
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Think Green
03-06-2011, 08:50 PM
I look at it this way. Do you go to Wal-Mart expecting high quality tires installed on your car?? Do you expect Auto Zone to sell you high quality break pads at a good price?? In all instances.......quality is what the consumer values as fair work being performed. In essence, the tire performs a service over the road. The break pads perform a service if installed correctly.
I tend to think that quality is only really debated among other LCO's who critique each other work. You either stripe the lawn, or mow in patterns. This is the quality versus a boy mowing the lawn in a box pattern. Is edging performed each week or once a month. Is their any edging done at all. This is quality. Is the lawn being treated for weeds. Is the lawn being fed for optimum growth. This is quality. Do you leave green streaks on the driveway or sidewalks. This is bad practice.
In todays world, it is hard and erroneous to carry around a laptop or photo album to show customers your work as pictures can be uploaded from anywhere. So, you have to sell yourself or go by word of mouth. To the average customer...........the word Quality means the wal mart tire or the auto zone break pad because they don't really care or see the difference off the bat. They have to see things first hand to understand the difference. I have seen a 50.00 cut performed for 30.00 and look the same. The difference is one lco is a single operator and the other a 3 man crew. The quality is the same. I prefer to value quality in something that has a life span other than one year. We value ZTR's because of their life spand and the constuction of the steel and hardware.
The average homeowner could not tell you the difference from one mower to another. I have been told a mower is a mower and a chainsaw is a chainsaw.
Even though we all know the difference, it is hard to sell a method of services to the unexpected consumer as long as their isn't something else to compare it to.....!!

Florida Gardener
03-06-2011, 10:16 PM
Round here nobody is doing quality work for average prices. In my eyes quality is when you step back, look at the landscape, and say wow! Most people around here are willing to spend $$ on fert, mulch, new installs etc but most companies round here don't know how to keep a place looking good. The quality guy let's the ornamentals flower and doesn't hack back plants all the time into stupid shapes. The lawn schmuck does the opposite.
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Florida Gardener
03-06-2011, 10:38 PM
Round here nobody is doing quality work for average prices. In my eyes quality is when you step back, look at the landscape, and say wow! Most people around here are willing to spend $$ on fert, mulch, new installs etc but most companies round here don't know how to keep a place looking good. The quality guy let's the ornamentals flower and doesn't hack back plants all the time into stupid shapes. The lawn schmuck does the opposite.
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Century Landscape
03-06-2011, 10:56 PM
I think a lot has to be said for professionalism. Lowballers and high school kids mowing grass just aren't going to look professional. People can tell straight up when someone shows up to give them an estimate whether or not they take pride in themselves and their work. If you show up in a company truck, in uniform (complete with logo I hope), take measurements instead of "eyeballing" how much materials they need, and make sure your overall appearance is neat and clean, customers can tell that you are a professional. It seems to me like people also appreciate a professional looking job proposal.

In the end, there's also no substitute for good referrals or having someone actually see your work. This past year was the first I actually actively advertised since I'm trying to grow the business, but before that all my business was either referral or someone seeing my work and wanting an estimate. I guess having a portfolio is similar in concept, I just always have such a hard time remembering to take before/after pictures.

Oh well, sometimes the cheap tightwads are gonna go with the cheaper estimate from no name just because it's cheaper, but at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing that they will be getting what they pay for!

Agape
03-07-2011, 02:11 AM
I look at it this way. Do you go to Wal-Mart expecting high quality tires installed on your car?? Do you expect Auto Zone to sell you high quality break pads at a good price?? In all instances.......quality is what the consumer values as fair work being performed. In essence, the tire performs a service over the road. The break pads perform a service if installed correctly.
I tend to think that quality is only really debated among other LCO's who critique each other work. You either stripe the lawn, or mow in patterns. This is the quality versus a boy mowing the lawn in a box pattern. Is edging performed each week or once a month. Is their any edging done at all. This is quality. Is the lawn being treated for weeds. Is the lawn being fed for optimum growth. This is quality. Do you leave green streaks on the driveway or sidewalks. This is bad practice.
In todays world, it is hard and erroneous to carry around a laptop or photo album to show customers your work as pictures can be uploaded from anywhere. So, you have to sell yourself or go by word of mouth. To the average customer...........the word Quality means the wal mart tire or the auto zone break pad because they don't really care or see the difference off the bat. They have to see things first hand to understand the difference. I have seen a 50.00 cut performed for 30.00 and look the same. The difference is one lco is a single operator and the other a 3 man crew. The quality is the same. I prefer to value quality in something that has a life span other than one year. We value ZTR's because of their life spand and the constuction of the steel and hardware.
The average homeowner could not tell you the difference from one mower to another. I have been told a mower is a mower and a chainsaw is a chainsaw.
Even though we all know the difference, it is hard to sell a method of services to the unexpected consumer as long as their isn't something else to compare it to.....!!

exactly why I sasked the question- how do you say- I'm going to do such and such better. we know how. I'm not ready to bring pictures of crappy lawns and say "we won't do this to your lawn" lol

Agape
03-07-2011, 02:16 AM
I think a lot has to be said for professionalism. Lowballers and high school kids mowing grass just aren't going to look professional. People can tell straight up when someone shows up to give them an estimate whether or not they take pride in themselves and their work. If you show up in a company truck, in uniform (complete with logo I hope), take measurements instead of "eyeballing" how much materials they need, and make sure your overall appearance is neat and clean, customers can tell that you are a professional. It seems to me like people also appreciate a professional looking job proposal.

In the end, there's also no substitute for good referrals or having someone actually see your work. This past year was the first I actually actively advertised since I'm trying to grow the business, but before that all my business was either referral or someone seeing my work and wanting an estimate. I guess having a portfolio is similar in concept, I just always have such a hard time remembering to take before/after pictures.

Oh well, sometimes the cheap tightwads are gonna go with the cheaper estimate from no name just because it's cheaper, but at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing that they will be getting what they pay for!

my next task is going to be; To build a "presentation packet" so that,no matter what, the HO at least thinks I got my "stuff" together, so any time the lowballer makes a mistake they remember how good I looked.

Patriot Services
03-07-2011, 08:27 AM
My wife uses various tactics on customers. Some you can actually have a conversation with and explain the differences between a licensed, insured and credentialed company vs johnny lowball.Some people dont know they are responsible for any injury or damage caused by illegal operators and applicators. Obviously these are not the one time hack it down and go types. Rather the few golden ones that have nice properties that are willing to pay for quality, competent work. Say what you will but image is everything. I dont mean brand new everything but personal appearence and how you present yourself.

Agape is on the right track with a presentation packet. Have some professional estimate forms made up. Carry your license and certs in thick protective sleeves to show customers. Carry a few 8 x 10's of before and after complete makeovers. Develop a personality if you dont have one. Kiss a little butt until you get back in the truck then go back to being a grouchy ass.

Again this is geared more to people that want, need and can afford your service.

Agape
03-07-2011, 10:41 AM
unfortunately, around here there are plenty of lowballers who have insurance( or at least claim to, but lets face it, $40 month isn't hard to come up with) there are plenty of companies that do a full maint plan for what I charge to just do lawns(grass only).
Granted, their fertilizer is a 6 month slow release, and my fert. plan rules, they don't treat for weeds in the lawn ( I see a lot of somewhat green lawns with weeds everywhere) and you know that for what they charge, they have to take shortcuts, but a customer can tell me 20 things they hated about their previous service, and if I come in $10-20/month more I get- "well my last guy only charged.....). makes me insane lol

CircleC
03-07-2011, 02:40 PM
I try to customer profile when I meet the potential customer some of the things I look at are: What they drive. Do they have wife and kids. What they do for work. If the kids are old enough do they play sports. How they look as far as appearance. Do they have a sport they play. Do they have cars/motorcycles.

Some of these things dont seem like they mean anything, however; I'm trying to figure what the customer holds important. Is the car washed and kept clean. That tells me details matter. Wife/kids, tells me time is important. What they do for work, are they willing to pay and be a long term customer. How they are dressed/appearance, are the small things important like nice clean shoes, shaved face, or even a pressed shirt on his/her day off. If they play a sport or own cars/motorcycles, its a way to make small talk and let the customer know you care about their time off.

Once I have gone through these things, I always talk about myself and my company. Talk insurance, talk the licenses we have, talk about the education we have and how we continue our education. I talk about how we do things diffrently than most. I always keep a clean shirt in the truck with a stick of DEO. Alway keep a shaved face and cut hair. Just because we work in a dirty enviroment doesnt mean we have to look dirty. Sometimes that alone sells a customer. Show them you care about your appearance and your truck. Tells them you care about the details. When you are dealing with a highend customer all these things matter.

Always, always, always, always take my sunglasses and hat off when talking with a customer. For some reason that mean a lot, you are not hiding behind your hat and shades. I was told that once and have always done it.

If all they are concerned about is price then they cant be my customer. I tell them I'm sorry but I dont sell on price, I sell solutions. Once a price shopper always a price shopper. Hard to build a business like ours with shoppers.

Sorry for the long post....I have tried hard to figure this out.

Think Green
03-08-2011, 12:39 AM
Agape,
I can't answer this question either. I will tell a customer to give us the chance to offer them something nice and the work stands for itself. If the customer values the work and pays on time, then that is quality given and appreciated.
It is hard to see quality construction framing on a house from the outside. You have to get in there to the attic and look around. Then again, most people couldn't tell the difference!! As long as it stands up...............it must be quality work.

greendoctor
03-08-2011, 02:43 AM
I try to customer profile when I meet the potential customer some of the things I look at are: What they drive. Do they have wife and kids. What they do for work. If the kids are old enough do they play sports. How they look as far as appearance. Do they have a sport they play. Do they have cars/motorcycles.

Some of these things dont seem like they mean anything, however; I'm trying to figure what the customer holds important. Is the car washed and kept clean. That tells me details matter. Wife/kids, tells me time is important. What they do for work, are they willing to pay and be a long term customer. How they are dressed/appearance, are the small things important like nice clean shoes, shaved face, or even a pressed shirt on his/her day off. If they play a sport or own cars/motorcycles, its a way to make small talk and let the customer know you care about their time off.

Once I have gone through these things, I always talk about myself and my company. Talk insurance, talk the licenses we have, talk about the education we have and how we continue our education. I talk about how we do things diffrently than most. I always keep a clean shirt in the truck with a stick of DEO. Alway keep a shaved face and cut hair. Just because we work in a dirty enviroment doesnt mean we have to look dirty. Sometimes that alone sells a customer. Show them you care about your appearance and your truck. Tells them you care about the details. When you are dealing with a highend customer all these things matter.

Always, always, always, always take my sunglasses and hat off when talking with a customer. For some reason that mean a lot, you are not hiding behind your hat and shades. I was told that once and have always done it.

If all they are concerned about is price then they cant be my customer. I tell them I'm sorry but I dont sell on price, I sell solutions. Once a price shopper always a price shopper. Hard to build a business like ours with shoppers.

Sorry for the long post....I have tried hard to figure this out.

This is how I vet my prospective clients and present myself as well. In some ways I have a harder sell. They are used to the dirty yard boy that will do it all. I do not cut grass or trim trees. I am applications only. That bit about licensing and insurance is very important. Lots of people doing applications without licenses. There is something I am on the lookout for: the overextended client. This person has all of their children in private school, two brand new luxury cars, and a house they are still paying for. Chances are, that person cannot afford me. My usual client has grown children, upper end car that is not new and they house that they have owned long enough to have paid it off or it is well within their budget.

Florida Gardener
03-08-2011, 07:14 AM
Green, you are a smart man. We have plenty of those types around here who are what I call the wannabees. They come off like they have the $$ but are really in debt up to their eyes. The wealthy people are the ones you want. Old $$ as I call it.
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greendoctor
03-08-2011, 07:21 AM
What I cost per month usually screens out the pseudo rich new money. I normally deal only with old money. Few people under 50 and many of them are widows whose husbands used to keep the lawn immaculate, but all they left when they departed was enough money so their wives would not suffer.

I find the pseudo rich ungrateful and hard to please, so they would be soon fired even if they had the money.

Florida Gardener
03-08-2011, 07:58 PM
Yea I agree about the pseudo rich. They are also cheap as hell.
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clean_cut
03-08-2011, 08:00 PM
Yea I agree about the pseudo rich. They are also cheap as hell.
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That's probably the reason that they're still rich :laugh:

Florida Gardener
03-08-2011, 08:35 PM
No there not, your confusing wealthy people between people who act like they have money.
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Agape
03-09-2011, 02:22 AM
Well that's great for identifying scrub customers, but I'm talking convincing with words that you are a better choice between another company. I'm working on a presentation packet, needs to be simple and professional.
I want a copy of my liabillity,workers comp,even commercial vehicle coverage. I may even get 10 customers to say "yes, use me as a referral" and have that as a page, or a quote from them and a picture of their property at it's best.

A page with info on my company? benefits/professionalism
Maybe a list of features:
crisp edges
A lusgh green and weed free lawn
Manicured, weed free beds
A fully insured, professional company
Clean-cut, english speaking, and Uniformed workers on your property...
etc...
left in a neat package with the estimate to be slipped inside and maybe a pen with company info...

what do you think? ideas?