Visual Aids for selling a job?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by PerfiCut L&L, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458

    Just wondering what if any, visual aids you use to help sell your work and or ideas.

    Im puting together a work notebook of brochures, and photos of various hardscapes, walls, walks, patios and such to help give customers a visual of potential projects. Are any of you doing something similar and how effective has it been in helping to sell a prject?

    Some customers we have call and know axactly what they want, I just help fill in the blanks. But others are looking for ideas as to what to do with a particilar area of their property. Of course I have a thousand ideas in my head, and try to describe several possible options based on thier potential budget, but thought a scrap book / brochure package would help greatly.

    Maybe even list prices for the jobs we've done so they can get a picture of both the final product and the cost. Of course the cost would vary depending on a number of site requirements but atleast its a ballpark number.

    What do you think?
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    Sounds like a good idea. I carry a laptop on any design/install estimates that I go on. It has past and current jobs we did, design software, estimating software, and lists of referrals... everything in a suitcase!
  3. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458


    I knew I wanted to buy a laptop for a reason. :)

    What sort of design software do you use?

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    I have always found that if you can get the prospect to invest some of their time by using their computer and going into your website to see what you have done, (I am hoping that what is on your site is work you have done and not taken from a stock photography site) you will score a better chance of prequalifying them to suite the needs of your company.

    People that need too much visual, are always difficult. What I mean specifically is that if you can show them your website, or direct them by a few jobs you have done that are close to them, and/or looking at sample products at your supplier or that you bring to them, those are good clients.

    People who always need their hand held through the sell process, thus taking too much of your time, will absorb way too much of your budgeted job management hours once you get on the job.

    The more you can get the prospect to invest their time during the sell, the more interested in your services they will be, and, the easier the installation becomes.

    That brings this question. If you have to create an array of visual aids to play show and sell, is it really worth what time you take, what money you invest, or how much other time you can spend selling those who are easier to use your services?

    Our office is soon to be loaded with all the techno junk one can imagine, and, if someone is truely interested, they come here for us to work with them. The easier you make it for the client, the less interested they have to be to take your time. Have you ever called anyone who someone suggested you call to sell your services? Every time I have done that it has been a waste of time because I made it too easy for the prospect to discount the value of our work. If they ick up the phone, it tells me they are interested enough to invest their time to drop that dime and hear what I have to say.

    The huge whack and hack paver installers out there, like Systems, like Barzanni, like Genisis, they set themselves up to do a one stop sale by using a laptop and digitial imaging program. They want to close a sale on one seating. The visual aid only enhances the ridiculously low pricing, they push. That is how they sell, by giving work away. The salesman often use square foot pricing, and the people who hire them more often than not, don't even get the company they met with on the job doing the install. It's all subbed out. Where do they cut? On the base and excavation of course.

    So, consider your projected return with the cost of your time, and, weigh what those tough to sell jobs cost you in terms of positive productive movement before you invest your money. You don't need to go walking in armed with all the bling to sell the same volume you would to do it the other way. I'm not saying no, I'm very suspect and slow to invest in crap you really don't need to get the job done.
  5. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458

    Thank you Uniscape, very descriptive and informative. Point well taken.

    Im just looking at potential customers that have inquired in the past and anticipate future inquiries where the customer says "Id like to do somethig with this area here" , "maybe put a small patio there...", or "I'd like to level this part of my yard, can you install a retaining wall to do that?" ,"maybe put in some flower beds, or lawn ornament(s) to spice it up"

    these types of questions. People that have an idea of what their looking for, but arent sure about what a prject might cost. A scrap book just to give them idea of what they can get for a buck, could help us to get another job.

    I think by spending a few minutes to show the customer, right then, what they might be able to get for the $ they want to spend is time well spent. Sure, repetative visits, constant calls, continuous mind changes, these are all signs of skeptics and customers more than likely to not even follow through.

    We have plenty of photos of either past jobs, or supplier sample projets listed on our web site. But now your leaving it to the customer to hopefuly remember to visit your set when they have some free time. I think by taking the initiative and giving the customer all the information they could need a that particular time is the way to go. Not to mention, once you leave, the customer now has hundred ideas going through their head with pictures of what their property COULD look like. Causes increased curiousity, and more than likely the customer will pick up the phone, as say "you know, was thinking... I'd like for you to ahead put that patio in." Then its only a matter of working out the finer details.

    Just like any other sales job.
  6. WildLake

    WildLake LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    I feel that software and other visual aids are great tools. Many people that walk through the door only have a vague idea of what the want, or what they want may not be the best thing for there layout. Visual aids can show them several other options that they have no considered that will work better for their needs.

    You are going to have a hard time selling the large scale ($50k+) jobs without software to show the customer what they are paying for. Besided that, software is the easiest way to put several ideas on paper.

    Unlike uniscaper, I don't think it is a waste of time to hold a customers hand through sale or install of the sale. Thats what the saleman is paid to do.
  7. EgansCountryGardens

    EgansCountryGardens LawnSite Member
    Male, from Plymouth, MA
    Messages: 165

    Try this, I was just looking at it online, I called their sales rep, her name is Diane. Very helpful, and cheaper than all the other programs - about $500.00
  8. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    belgard has bought and is giving out this software to selected installers. I supposedly have one on the way. Should be here today.

    i'll let you know how it works.
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    just started touing around with the software...
    it has a 30 trial period and must be registered.
    don't know if they are trying to sell it or not. will not find out unitl tomorrow.
    it works pretty well. cannot figure out how to do top caps for thier wall, and how to do a curve away from the line of sight, or really any curve of the pattern.

    but it is still pretty good, especially if it is free.

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