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RigglePLC
01-03-2013, 11:06 AM
Is this section, new, Donavan?

Somebody say something. The business, after all pays your bills.

Are mailers still the best way to sell new accounts? What if too many compaines are sending mailers? 5 competitors, what if there are 10 competing mailers? Can you match the quality of the flyers from TruGreen and other major companies and top franchises?

How do we compete with big budget companies with saturation advertising?

jc1
01-03-2013, 02:29 PM
All good questions that continue to be asked that seem to have no definitive answer.
With direct mail are our expectations too high? We send out 10k post cards and expect 100 new accounts when realistically we may only gain 10.

Woody82986
01-03-2013, 05:58 PM
I'll admit. I didn't even see this section until just now. I assumed everything was kind of covered in the general "Business Management" section. But if we are just talking the lawn care business then I understand. I haven't yet ever tried direct mail but it always seemed to me that the guys on here had unrealistic expectations of the number of people expected to call and the amount of new clients they would get from those that do call. For the price it costs, I guess I might have a certain expectation as well. Maybe depending on the size of lawns "10" new clients would be worth it and be considered successful. I would say that if I mailed out 10k cards to certain areas I service and only gained 10 lawns, that would be a horrible return. In another service area, 10 would be quite successful.

doug1980
01-03-2013, 09:43 PM
I've heard direct mailing nets 1% if that of new business. Doesn't seem worth it. TruGreen likes to put there ads (in the form of a lawn sign) right next to my lawn sign to get business. Referrals are the best way I think.

GreenI.A.
01-05-2013, 02:13 AM
I did a test last season with my mailers and set up an additional phone number and domain name linked to my fert page. We did Three rounds of 5k cards. These were not EDDM, but were addresses from a mailing list using our target demographics such as homeowners, home values, incomes, etc. From the 15k post cards that went out our site we gained 42 customers for full fert programs, which equates to .28% of the postcard recipients signing up for service.

Here is the general brake down of the numbers for that mailing campaign.
Called us directly utilizing campaign specific phone number on post card: 28, Estimates 22, CLOSED SALES 10
Visitors to website utilizing campaign specific domain on card: 298
Initiated a FERT request on the website: 112, Estimates Provided 84, CLOSED SALES 32

We did continue to bring in some more work from those particular cards, for example 14 people who found our website from the cards used the links to our irrigation pages and received either irrigation service or winterization last year. These cards also brought in roughly 3k in Sod, and 7k in hardscape install revenue

RigglePLC
01-05-2013, 10:28 AM
So...you got .18 percent response to the cards you sent out to a selected homes mailing list. What is the cost for each? If you paid 10 cents for each postcard mailed that would be a cost of $53 dollars per sales lead. If you estimated 22 that brings the cost per estimate up to $68. If you closed 10, your cost per sale is $150. This is not counting the time and gas it took to give the estimate, and the salesmen's time to call them back.

jc1
01-05-2013, 11:03 AM
Do you know the response rate for each hit? How many called on each round? Was it the third time mailed that had the most response?
Thanks for sharing your data.

GreenI.A.
01-05-2013, 12:15 PM
Sorry, I thought I typed it clearer than I now see I did. The numbers you are using Riggle were just for people who contacted us via phone from that campaign. A couple lines below those numbers are seperate numbers for the people who did not call but instead contacted us through our website after receiving the cards.

Here are the total of phone+online requests for the 3 mailings totaling 15,000 mailers.
Requests for Proposals: 140
Proposals Provided: 106
Sales Closed: 42
The first mailer was a 5.5x8.8 post card, the 2nd was a trifold, the 3rd was once again a 5.5x8.5. The postcards were distinct for the months they were sent out, 1st one "It's not to early to start thinking about spring", the 3rd "It's not to late to protect your lawn this summer", the 2nd (trifold) was more general about or fert service.

We use all heavy stock and high closs, full color. The 15k averaged out to $0.41 each printed and mailed to our demographics. That equates to $43.92 per contact, $58 per proposal, $146 per sale.

These numbers are strictly for fert programs. This does not take into account for the roughly $12,000 in other sales and services we gained from the people who visitted our site after receiving the mailings

RigglePLC
01-05-2013, 03:16 PM
Considering the high cost of sending them out and the cost of each sales lead. It makes sense to make sure that the mailers are the best they can be. And that your salesmen, estimates and followup are the best that they can be. Every incoming phone call is worth $43.

I think this makes a free ap when a customer refers a friend, relative or neighbor...a bargain by comparison.

GreenI.A.
01-05-2013, 07:44 PM
Considering the high cost of sending them out and the cost of each sales lead. It makes sense to make sure that the mailers are the best they can be. And that your salesmen, estimates and followup are the best that they can be. Every incoming phone call is worth $43.

I think this makes a free ap when a customer refers a friend, relative or neighbor...a bargain by comparison.

We get a number of accounts from referals each season. We credit the existing customer $50-$100 for referals depending on the size of the property and package the new customer takes. We credit their account after the new customer has received and paid for their 3rd service.

I'm hoping to see the closing rate increase next year. I ran a good amount of the sales as well as my lawn supervisor. We both had good closing rates, but also had my fert tech running leads as well, he's a great tech, knows his stuff inside and out. But he's not a great sales guy. He has come far since last spring, so hopefully he'll be doing better this coming season. He's already begun calling some of those missed sales from last season and has now closed a couple of them.

RigglePLC
01-06-2013, 09:02 PM
We could probably all benefit from a good sales-training program. Book, DVD, online, or in person sales seminar. Its a shame to go to all the work and money to generates a sales lead and not close the sale. We need to know about grass--but sales success is a whole nother set of skills.

http://www.vqsales.com/OnlineCourses/tabid/76/Default.aspx

for instance.

jc1
01-07-2013, 07:30 AM
It's important to document leads and sales so that you have a clear idea of your success. Then you know your closing rates. When a lead comes in that customer has already made part of the decision to hire you. Once contacted they in effect decided to hire you. At that point you are halfway to closing the Sale. I think that if you are closing less than 50% of your leads it means that the price is to high for your market. Or the message in your marketing is targeting the wrong customer.
Thoughts?

RigglePLC
01-07-2013, 11:40 AM
You are right, JC. Everybody has to deal with sales resistance...and overcome sales objections...and deal with the persuasive inroads of competitors.

Turf Logic
01-08-2013, 11:26 AM
Sorry, I thought I typed it clearer than I now see I did. The numbers you are using Riggle were just for people who contacted us via phone from that campaign. A couple lines below those numbers are seperate numbers for the people who did not call but instead contacted us through our website after receiving the cards.

Here are the total of phone+online requests for the 3 mailings totaling 15,000 mailers.
Requests for Proposals: 140
Proposals Provided: 106
Sales Closed: 42
The first mailer was a 5.5x8.8 post card, the 2nd was a trifold, the 3rd was once again a 5.5x8.5. The postcards were distinct for the months they were sent out, 1st one "It's not to early to start thinking about spring", the 3rd "It's not to late to protect your lawn this summer", the 2nd (trifold) was more general about or fert service.

We use all heavy stock and high closs, full color. The 15k averaged out to $0.41 each printed and mailed to our demographics. That equates to $43.92 per contact, $58 per proposal, $146 per sale.

These numbers are strictly for fert programs. This does not take into account for the roughly $12,000 in other sales and services we gained from the people who visitted our site after receiving the mailings
How much did you sell in gross sales dollars?

Smallaxe
01-09-2013, 09:21 AM
I think a lot of time could be wasted in over-thinking what a graph of sales success/failures might look like... We tend to think that if we convert people into numbers, that they'll be easier to understand and to deal with,,, but I should let you know that a 'people person' that can talk smack as a charming individual will ALWAYS be the successful sales person no matter how much time you spend in the office recording data...
Get out there and talk to people and quit trying to hide behind clever little tactics that no one in the real worldresponds to... just sayin'... :)

GreenI.A.
01-09-2013, 10:31 AM
How much did you sell in gross sales dollars?

I don't get into detail on here when it comes revenue. I will say that it did not take long to recoup the cost of the marketting campaign and we will definitely be fallowing the same model this coming year.

RiggitanoLandscape
01-12-2013, 12:06 AM
Flyers inside bags with a rock in it on the drive way. Best return and cost about .20 including gas to do it. Forget about traditional advertising in the phone book or anything like that. the return is very low. Also Google adwords is a great tool on local web sites for each town/city web site.

PK Mows
01-12-2013, 02:37 AM
I think too many people focus on one thing without understanding that it's your overall marketing approach you have to focus on.

If you try to build a Customer base by just sending out a postcard every now and then or just hanging some doorhangers or just relying on word-of-mouth, then you're not realizing the true potential of each of these.

Let's say you mail out postcards and expect a 2-3% response. Okay, you got some new Customers but what if we mail out those postcards and then the day after we expect them to hit the mailbox we go hit those neighborhoods and doorhang them? How about if we also have an ad in the Weekly Shopper that same week? Maybe we have a neighborhood where we already have 4 or 5 Customers so we postcard it, hang doorhangers with a service price on it, knock on a few doors, run that ad in the Shopper, and primp on our regular Customer's lawns all day Saturday and say Hi to everyone who walks by? And of course all this directs the Customer back to our Professionally designed and maintained website.

You have to think of marketing as your overall reach and use each marketing tool to complement the other. One will not stand alone.

Smallaxe
01-12-2013, 06:57 AM
There's a good example of irritation marketing... if someone left a plastic bag in my driveway with a rock on it,,, he'd would be on the "Never Call" list, right off the bat... junk mail is never opened by me... door hangers are junk mail... if you want a neighborhood,,, go "Talk" to people in that neighborhood...

PITA advertising = PITA customers... Something to think about... :)

jc1
01-12-2013, 08:48 AM
I think a lot of time could be wasted in over-thinking what a graph of sales success/failures might look like... We tend to think that if we convert people into numbers, that they'll be easier to understand and to deal with,,, but I should let you know that a 'people person' that can talk smack as a charming individual will ALWAYS be the successful sales person no matter how much time you spend in the office recording data...
Get out there and talk to people and quit trying to hide behind clever little tactics that no one in the real worldresponds to... just sayin'... :)

I think that marketing to get a customer to inquire is required before the "people person" can sell a service. Or do you only cold call and knock on doors?
Marketing to pick up a dozen accounts is somewhat different than marketing to pick up hundreds of accounts. Once a potential customer has responded to marketing they are more likely to purchase services.

Smallaxe
01-13-2013, 08:02 AM
You make a legitimate point, but there are lots of people I do not want a call from, becuz I don't want to tell them NO... I found a niche in a great neighborhood almost 30 years ago and I wouldn't waste my time in trying to aquire PITA accounts, by the hundreds...
Obviously everyone has their business model and will want to do things a certain way... I was just giving my opinion... :)

RigglePLC
01-13-2013, 11:03 AM
My idea...if you are going to throw a plastic bag onto driveways. Don't include a rock for weight.
Why not include a gladiolus bulb? Include growing tips and instructions for planting of course.
Naturally you will want to mention what a great flower it is. And how to get more bulbs.
And maybe there is a way to throw the brochure--without a plastic bag. Someone think of a way to eliminate the bag.
http://www.americanmeadows.com/flower-bulbs/gladiolus-flower-bulbs