Sales cycle in HOAs and Commercial accounts?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GreenscapesG, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. GreenscapesG

    GreenscapesG LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 50

    Hey TPendagast. Hehe, you can sue me if you want. Thanks for your insight, like I said, I agree with you in a lot of things. Yes, I go see properties and how they look, thats part of the job, right? And making grass greener is contingent on them buying a fertilization program :)
  2. Bryan27

    Bryan27 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 152

    A man who understands salesmanship! :clapping:

    In any business, it doesn't do you any good to trash and bash your competitors and certainly not to a prospective customer. It also doesn't make the prospective customer think fondly of you by pointing out how crappy some areas of their lawn look. They might agree with you, but saying it directly is in poor taste. Remember, at some point that person hired their current company to do the work that you are picking apart and you are essentially telling that person that they are a poor decision maker.

    If their curbs are hacked to pieces from a string trimmer, you don't have to tell them that, point out that you use an edger that will make a perfect line along the curbs and sidewalks that defines the lawn. Create a 10 (or however many) point checklist that you will use in evaluating the completeness of work each time the property is serviced. As you walk the property with the owner/manager/president, stop in front of something that you see the current company missed and hand them a copy of the list and go over it with them and explain how you use the checklist to ensure your customers a level of service they will appreciate and benefit from. When you do this and they look down the list and see those two weeds in the bed, the one stray branch of new growth in their hedge, the clump of grass left on the wont have to "say" anything, they'll think it to themselves. They'll see the value in it without you telling them and coming to that conclusion on their own is much more powerful than if you tell them outright. A good salesman knows when to shut his trap and let the customer sell themselves.

    You'll find it exceedingly difficult to sell your services to customers if you can't show them that how switching to you over their current service provider is going to benefit them. I think the term "vulture" is being used inappropriately in this conversation, the term competitor would be my choice of words.
  3. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    If you use the phrase "your lawn", it personalizes it for your potential client. You are not pointing out damage to their lawn, you are speaking about processes that if used can cause damage to their lawn.

    "When string trimmers are used on edges it damages your lawn. Here is a picture of a lawn (not their lawn) with damaged edges. This is one reason why we will only use edgers on your lawn. Here is a picture of one of our lawns with nice crisp clean healthy edges cut using our edger."

    Using pictures, helps clients visualize what you are discussing and helps them make the connection between what you are educating them on is something that has been happening on their lawn. They then come to the realization that "hey, that's how the edges of my lawn look now. I need nicer looking edges."
  4. 205mx

    205mx LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,392

    Here comes a string trimmer vs edger debate
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  5. ronslawncare

    ronslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 540

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  6. pdreibels

    pdreibels LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 263 people really take you seriously when you talk like this? "Do you want your edges to look like our edges?"hahaha
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  7. PLW

    PLW LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    Hey TPendagast,

    What do you feel like the ratio of the conversion is on this method that you mentioned?

    Also, how could one go about trying to execute this method without offending the property manager / decision makers?
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  8. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 763

    This thread is a good read, but I had to quote this specifically. I service 9 HOA's so this post was very informative to me personally. At some of my accounts they are still building and have a Model home, so you could easily walk right up during an open house and start the chit chatting with the realtor. They would even have a build plan on the wall, so you could see just how big the account could one day be. I really liked the idea of seeing what their fees are ;) Then from being at the model home, you find the board pres as mentioned. Its an excellent idea and I never thought of it myself. I always went straight for property managers. But what I have noticed since ive been around this a bit more now is that board presidents DO try to find a company and bring it to the attention of the board & prop manager when bidding time comes around. Whether they know the person, just like the person...doesn't matter. But they do like to bring up that they have a company to replace so and so who they maybe are not be too happy with (or they just wana hook up someone they know instead). Ive seen this several times. Whether they work out or not, they still get their shot. It just goes to show you theres more than one way to skin a cat.

    I lost a plow contact due to a pesky board member. Not even a board pres. Her banks plow guy, and he was more expensive on the initial bid, so they allowed him to match my price so he would get it. (this was a personal "attack" so to speak from this board member, since her and I got off on the wrong foot when I first started there) And yes i got the low down on what happened over there with the bidding. Sort of annoyed me, and still does but this stuff happens and now im glad I didn't get the contract especially after the winter we have had. I really only bid the snow because I have the landscape contract. The guy they went with has not worked out, board member looks bad. The rest of them wish they went with me and even asked if I would be willing to take over if they gave him his 30 days notice. I told them I was all booked up now. And truth be told since I only had a 1 year landscape contract I might just call it a day on that one. Ive already added 2 more for next year so no skin off my back. Back on topic tho, good post hotdog.
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,346

    Well that all depends.

    What cycle is this property in?

    are they in the honeymoon stage where they love their service provider and he can do no wrong?
    are they in the "things are getting stale but there is no reason to make a change stage"
    or are they in "something needs to be done but we don't know what or who" stage?
    Or even possibly the change of management stage.

    unless you have some kind of inside knowledge, you don't really have a clue, except for how the property looks, and it's ENTIRELY possible the property looks like doo doo because of the owner/managements refusal to pay for something reasonable to make it look better.

    So it's a crap shoot.

    Conversion success depends on the market and your ability as a salesman.
    for the most part, I would say 80% of landscapers, especially owners of small companies and solos, are crappy salesman… they talk too much, they babble on about things that are truthfully only meaningful to themselves and talk them selves up so much they make themselves sounds like a stolen valor candidate.

    The key is be respectful, not overbearing and just ask permission for a bit of their time, if they would allow you to show them how you can help them with their property and why it should be you doing it.
    this might included a little insightful education on what the problem is and why it is commonly overlooked.
    Be careful not to give out too much information lest they take it to their very best drinking buddy who is doing the lawn care and give him free trade secrets he wouldn't have otherwise known.
  10. PLW

    PLW LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    Hey TPendagast,

    The stage that they are currently in is the proposal stage. As far as their current service provider, they just have been having different people providing service for them over the course of the years (not a lawn care company). With this being said, they are looking for a professional lawn care company to handle all of the property needs.

    How would one know if they love thier current service provider like you mentioned?
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