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View Full Version : Critique my form letter advertising my services (Long)


FERT-TEK
02-19-2005, 11:24 PM
Please look at the following form letter I am working on that advertises my lawn care services to targeted homeowners. This is a rough draft letter I want to direct mail to certain houses along my route that I feel might be looking for someone to care for their property. As I said it isnt complete but wanted to get some opinions before I have to re-write it later. The things I will add at the end will include ala-carte services like small nursery installations, mulch work, seasonal color, aeration and de-thatching to name a few. Any way let me know what you think. I know some of you will rip me for not getting a signed contract but I have only been burned once in the past. Regarding the "pricing" issue this was included to get their attention NOT to steal accounts from other LCO's. As a matter of fact none of the houses I have targeted currently have a lawn service.

Feel free to use any part of this for your own marketing if you choose. Well here goes nothing....


Hello, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dave Palmeri and I am the owner and operator of Fairway Lawn Care (FLC). Fairway Lawn Care is a full service residential lawn care company operating in our community for the last 12 years providing the services that you might want or need. I pride myself on providing quality, professional services at reasonable cost. The reason you may not have heard of FLC is because since its inception I have kept almost all of my original customers and received most of my new accounts through word of mouth. Recently, I took the opportunity to drive through our neighborhood and identify some houses that might be looking for professional lawn care next year and decided to introduce myself to them. I am different than most lawn maintenance companies in that all of my services are done on a handshake and can be canceled at any time with written notice, and I only bill for the service provided. There are no contracts locking you in for the season or a required number of weekly visits. As I stated earlier I am the owner and operator of FLC which also means I will be the person you see each week taking care of your property. I also promise to be properly dressed and respectful to you, your family and neighbors and provide the personal service you desire. While caring for your lawn I will only use clean state of the art commercial equipment by Toro, Echo and Perma-green to name a few. Also, I am never in a hurry and will be glad to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your lawn care needs. In addition to weekly lawn service I also offer an affordable season long fertilization and weed control program. This program uses quality well known fertilizers that are bought through a wholesale distributor that supplies golf courses and landscape nurseries and then I pass that savings on to you. The fertilizers I use will keep your lawn healthy and green and provide the necessary nutrients at the right time to keep your lawn looking its best. The only thing you will have to do is just add water when needed. FLC also guarantees that it’s pricing will beat the “bigger guys” hands down.

Precision
02-20-2005, 12:03 AM
Don't like it.

Lets just say I got about 4 sentences into it.
I never read letters sent to me for prospecting. NEVER.

get some glossies, get some door hangers, get some current clients to give you referrals, Take out an add in a local small distribution paper.

I don't mean to sound rude, but I can't force myself to read the letter in its entirety.

It makes you feel good, but it sounds like blah, blah, blah to anyone not inthe business.

Hope that helps.

grass disaster
02-20-2005, 12:09 AM
Don't like it.

Lets just say I got about 4 sentences into it.
I never read letters sent to me for prospecting. NEVER.

get some glossies, get some door hangers, get some current clients to give you referrals, Take out an add in a local small distribution paper.

I don't mean to sound rude, but I can't force myself to read the letter in its entirety.

It makes you feel good, but it sounds like blah, blah, blah to anyone not inthe business.

Hope that helps.

i'm totally with you on this one, i got to the end of the second scentence and gave up. i'd rather stare at a flier. looks like gpod effort though :blob1:

battags
02-20-2005, 12:52 AM
Your trying to say too much in too little space. You only want enough to have them call you back. That's where you 'sell' yourself, not all in an introductory letter.

Less should be more for this type of letter. You can schmooze in person when they call you for a quote.

Brian

Cobra Jock
02-20-2005, 12:59 AM
Your trying to say too much in too little space. You only want enough to have them call you back. That's where you 'sell' yourself, not all in an introductory letter.

Less should be more for this type of letter. You can schmooze in person when they call you for a quote.

Brian

Very good advice, IMO.

Greg

FERT-TEK
02-20-2005, 01:04 AM
Batags, thanks for taking the time to read the letter. I agree that less is more. Just thought I would possibly try something different. Except for the local distribution paper I have done everything Precision suggested with the same limited results everyone gets. About a 3% return on my efforts.

Do you think this would work better as a follow up letter to be left for the customer when I do an estimate. I am just looking for something to set myself apart from the competition.

FERT-TEK
02-20-2005, 01:13 AM
I replied below to Batags about the possibly of only using this letter to introduce myself when a prospective customer requests an estimate (after I have my foot in the door). I am looking for somthing to set myself apart from the competition and including copies of the form letter with the estimates might work better. Or better yet maybe I will just Sh#t can the whowl idea and be like everyone else.

battags
02-20-2005, 01:25 AM
I replied below to Batags about the possibly of only using this letter to introduce myself when a prospective customer requests an estimate (after I have my foot in the door). I am looking for somthing to set myself apart from the competition and including copies of the form letter with the estimates might work better. Or better yet maybe I will just Sh#t can the whowl idea and be like everyone else.

I think leaving a letter similar to that upon meeting potential clients for a quote would be an excelent idea. That will definately set you apart from many others.

That could all be for nothing if your 'people skills' are not up to snuff. Remember, come on too strong and your labeled like a used car salesman. Too shy and modest leaves the impression of inexperience. Find a confidant, yet not cocky, medium and don't make promises you can't keep.

Good luck!

Brian

SReaves
02-20-2005, 04:29 AM
I leave a letter with my quotes to better explain my services and give a small explanation of my companies history. Th total letter ends up being about two paragraphs long. I don't like to drag it out because I know that my customer won't want to read any thing too long.

Mo Green
02-20-2005, 08:27 AM
Nice letter, but waaaaaay toooooo looooong. You need something that potential customers can read in 5 - 10 seconds. Something that says it all in few, but effective words. Most people's attention span is not long enough to read something of this nature, I know mine isn't. I couldn't get more than 2 or 3 sentences into it without crumbling it up and putting it in the round file. But if it was short sweet and to the point, but also appealing, then I might give you a call.

Norm Al
02-20-2005, 09:23 AM
ok ill try and rewrite it for you, heres my try:



.{insert your logo here}

My name is Dave Palmeri and I am the owner and operator of Fairway Lawn Care (FLC).

Fairway Lawn Care is a full service residential lawn care company with 12 years experiance.

My company is not a snake oil sales company, you will receive quality lawn service with a respectful attitude.

We are a full service lawn service that also provides affordable season long fertilization and weed control programs customised to your needs.

ALL of the products and equipment we use are of the highest quality, commercial grade and maintained up to date for safety.

Consider us the "Chia Pet of Lawn Service", The only thing you will have to do is just add water.

FLC extends an invitation to you, "please try us out", you will be happy you did!
__________________
FLC Dave

Mo Green
02-20-2005, 09:36 AM
That's more like it. Short, but detailed and to the point.

aries
02-20-2005, 09:50 AM
I agree way to much to read! they will definitely lose interest short and sweet to the point the end!

FERT-TEK
02-20-2005, 10:57 AM
thanks Norm Al and the others that have replied, I do appreciate and respect all your opinions. Good or bad.

Precision
02-20-2005, 11:09 AM
much better this time.

but avoid the use of negative images.

Which sounds better?

WE are not a snake oil company, you will recieve quality lawn care with a respectful attitude.

OR

We are a full service lawn maintenance company that knows the value of prompt courteous service. Our goal is not just to cut your grass and fertilize it. We want to become your one stop for lawncare needs.

Get rid of things like affordable. That word means nothing but attracts cheap people. Affordable to me may be $50 per month, to someone else $150 a month. Give and estimate and let them decide if it is affordable. Full service and affordable are contradictor marketing ideas.

Chia pet ugh I understand what you are trying to say, but a infomercial image of $14.99 and thats not all isn't where you want to be.

FERT-TEK
02-20-2005, 11:36 AM
thanks precision but that revision was done by someone else. I will re-write it and try to incorporate the suggestions I have received.

Norm Al
02-20-2005, 11:54 PM
good stuff precision! i rewrote that in about 2 minutes to see what you guys would say!

im curious if the chia pet and the snake oil analogys made you read more into the letter?

sometimes light hearted illistrations have the ability to convey personality and a not taking oneself to seriously. remember if you sell yourself as "to professional" you will have to live up to that image! personally i like a more relaxed customer so i can be relaxed also!

P&C Lawn Care
02-21-2005, 12:54 AM
Keep it short and to the point. No one cares about your history or what great equipment you have.You can tell them that when you come out for a face to face. Make fliers with bold letters stating what you do. MOWING/LANDSCAPING quality, professional service All your letter said was Blah, blah blah.

battags
02-21-2005, 10:19 AM
good stuff precision! i rewrote that in about 2 minutes to see what you guys would say!

im curious if the chia pet and the snake oil analogys made you read more into the letter?

sometimes light hearted illistrations have the ability to convey personality and a not taking oneself to seriously. remember if you sell yourself as "to professional" you will have to live up to that image! personally i like a more relaxed customer so i can be relaxed also!

There are some pretty dumb people out there that won't get the 'snake oil' comment. Then again, that could filter out the dummies that you may end up working for!

Snake oil is the sludge and muck under your deck when you hit one, right? :p Why would anyone sell that stuff?? Yuck! :laugh:

Brian

Norm Al
02-21-2005, 10:34 AM
hahahaha tru dat brian! did those comments "draw you in" to read more brian? or did you instantly feel like saying "what the ^%$# was that for"...? im curious so that in a marketing sense i get a better feel of what people like AND what causes them to keep reading instead of just tossing the letter in the trash before they finishing reading the whole pitch.

most professional and old people would get the snake oil comment but maybe not the guy who lives in the broken down bus at the end of the dirt road?:)

MMLawn
02-21-2005, 11:22 AM
Not only it is too long and every thing else the others said, BUT the most important thing and something no one has mentioned you never even ask them for their business nor even offered a Free Estimate.

You MUST in todays market also offer new customers something in return to get their business...just blah, blah about your business is not enough anymore, if you really want to gain new accounts you must offer something else such as a free this or that service or a discount after a certian number of cuts and do that in the first three lines or you lose their attention fast.

As to the type of dress you'll wear and equipment names that'll you use....they don't care in that letter. They care about quality and price. Also the comment about riding through the area looking at homes that might want lawn care would highly offend me as it sounds like you are saying their lawn looks bad. It might, but don't say that in a letter trying to get the first business of soemone you have never met yet.

FERT-TEK
02-21-2005, 06:22 PM
Thanks Mike, I never thought that this post would get as much negative feedback as it has. I do appreciate everyones opinion and as I stated earlier have reconsidered sending them off to the homes I have targeted. You have made some valid points though. When I wrote that letter it was one of those days where the ideas kept flowing out of my head and I just put them down as they came. Next thing you know I had War and Peace in front of me. I think I mentioned that this was a rough draft and planned on revising it anyway. After reading everyones posts (none of them positive) I have decided to start from scratch and be more direct with what I have to say. Believe it or not customer relations is one of my strongest characteristics. I literally haven't advertised in about eight years and have received all of my work through word of mouth. So even though I have been in business for thirteen years this is relatively new to me and I want to do it right. FYI, the reason I am trying to add some accounts this year is because my wife and I are expecting a baby in March and I want her to be able to quit work and stay home if she wants.

Norm Al
02-21-2005, 10:20 PM
mine wasnt positive?

what did you want, for all of us to just say "hey man thats awesome use it".....?

VnDrWLawnCare
02-22-2005, 01:08 AM
The reason i ask is that name is already taken here in Illinois. My buddy owns Fairway Lawn Care, Inc. You said you have been in business for a while, so that is why i ask. He incorporated about 4 years ago. So if you are inc. and he is, there is a gliche in the system. Not really a big deal to me, just thought i would ask. Something to consider if you are not and possibly considering. It would already be taken.

Eric

JimLewis
02-22-2005, 02:00 AM
Don't like it.

Lets just say I got about 4 sentences into it.
I never read letters sent to me for prospecting. NEVER.

get some glossies, get some door hangers, get some current clients to give you referrals, Take out an add in a local small distribution paper.

I don't mean to sound rude, but I can't force myself to read the letter in its entirety.

It makes you feel good, but it sounds like blah, blah, blah to anyone not inthe business.

Hope that helps.

100% Agree with this. I got to sentence #3 and gave up too. Nobody wants to read long paragraphs when it comes to advertising. Find some good pictures, graphics, and combine them with some quick catch-phrases or an attention grabbing headline and make sure you put your phone number in large font somewhere. That's all there is to it.

FERT-TEK
02-22-2005, 10:56 AM
mine wasnt positive?

what did you want, for all of us to just say "hey man thats awesome use it".....?
Norm, thanks again for your contributions but you are reading waaaaay to much into it. I humbly stated many times that this letter was a mistake and simply somthing I was considering using as an introduction letter. When Iwrote "good and Bad" I was being polite and stated that I appreciated comments good and bad from EVERYBODY not just you. I can learn just as much from negative criticism as from postitive.