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CHEESE2009
12-18-2009, 05:35 PM
Avoiding commercial property, do any of you have any residential properties owned by wealthy people?

The owner & creator of MEGA BLOCKS is in my area, & you can drive down the street for 10 minutes & still not pass his mansion.

In fact, his driveway would be a nightmare to walk, considering it'd take forever to get to his door.

My question, what is your strategy for getting very wealthy customers with massive lawns? Do you offer free minor services just to get the job to maintenance the lawn??

What are the chances of getting assasinated while dropping of a brochure?

picframer
12-18-2009, 05:50 PM
It was very easy for us and I would guess we have around 80 that own homes 1.5 million plus, I was their banker in my banking days, they were lawyers I dealt with on a regular basis or Auditors. My doctor is part of a group of Angle Investors and is a shareholder in another company I own, I told him what I was up to and he asked me to do a presentation to the club which I did, focus lawn care only I wasn't interested in raising Capital, we picked up 11 new accounts and an offer for investment which I said perhaps another time, from there on, people see your trucks and gear at these places and they seem to automatically want you to look after their place, this happened to us late in the season last year where we picked up the first gated community on the Ocean, while working there, long story short we now have four with 5 to 9 homes per private lane.

turfmaster
12-19-2009, 02:50 AM
Avoiding commercial property, do any of you have any residential properties owned by wealthy people?

The owner & creator of MEGA BLOCKS is in my area, & you can drive down the street for 10 minutes & still not pass his mansion.

In fact, his driveway would be a nightmare to walk, considering it'd take forever to get to his door.

My question, what is your strategy for getting very wealthy customers with massive lawns? Do you offer free minor services just to get the job to maintenance the lawn??

What are the chances of getting assasinated while dropping of a brochure?

My experience with wealthy people is they don't like flyers blowing around their property or on their paper/mailboxes. We have about 15 clients with million dollar + homes that we service and most of them were a referral to us. I do believe though that you need to sell yourself and your company's services. Some of these people are approachable. This is where good salesmanship and people skills come into play.
The hard part is getting the 1st wealthy client. These people will refer you to their friends who are looking for quality property maintenance.
It turns into a snowball effect. And if you do quality on time work their neighbors will take notice.

Steve
12-19-2009, 03:51 AM
The hard part is getting the 1st wealthy client.

That seems to be the sticking point.

Andy, if you hadn't had those initial wealthy contacts, what other tactics do you think you would have experimented with?

The hard part is getting the 1st wealthy client. These people will refer you to their friends who are looking for quality property maintenance.

Can you remember how you landed your first wealthy client and how you did it? Or if you had to start all over again, what would you do to attract them?

picframer
12-19-2009, 03:56 AM
That seems to be the sticking point.

Andy, if you hadn't had those initial wealthy contacts, what other tactics do you think you would have experimented with?



Can you remember how you landed your first wealthy client and how you did it? Or if you had to start all over again, what would you do to attract them?

As noted getting your first one on a cold call can be tough, I have friends/clients worth millions that would like to be treated like you and I and I have clients that want you to know they have money and be treated as such, so far so good.

My first one was a simple call for coffee and I told Bruce (Lawyer) what I was doing, just kept doing this the month of March, all the people I contacted have known me for years and know I run a tight ship and everything will be professional looking, anyhow I got all but one and I didn't get Dennis (accountant) as he was in a contract and didn't want to bother switching until this year, from there it was referrals or people stopping by asking for a card.

Steve
12-19-2009, 08:09 AM
Isn't it amazing how it always comes back to the simplest of things. Networking with people. That's it.

We sometimes seem to make this process so much more complicated than it needs to be.

Why do you feel we do this? Why do we get away from the fact that it all comes down to meeting people, knowing people, networking with people?

SuperiorPower
12-19-2009, 03:00 PM
Connections and networking. I believe that is the same for my industry. I am trying to work in some connections with a much bigger fire department in my area. I have one already. How did I get it? Connections and networking....

You have to be able to transfer your credibility onto your potential customers. This is very important. That is essentially what happens when you get a referral to another wealthy customer. This credibility is something that you may have to building up over time. It may take a while to build and when you get it, protect it.

picframer
12-19-2009, 04:11 PM
Isn't it amazing how it always comes back to the simplest of things. Networking with people. That's it.

We sometimes seem to make this process so much more complicated than it needs to be.

Why do you feel we do this? Why do we get away from the fact that it all comes down to meeting people, knowing people, networking with people?

It is how I have made every business I have either owned or taken over a success, simply calling people in the network or people in power that I know, then it's all word of mouth. I can tell you first impressions on a cold call mean a lot if you are going after the guy that has the big bucks, you, your truck and equipment means a lot to them, I base this on constant feedback, one private community hired us as they said, now that is the kind of equipment we want looking after our properties. I know it costs and it can cost a lot but you have to raise the bar to get into the bucks.

We did our (son & I) last craft show of the season, it was an amazing success and I have all the various cards on display for the Organic Lawn Care, Tree Cutting, Leaf Collection and a few others on display, I bet over 300 cards were taken and a lot of interest in the Organic side and excavation, a few for wood chipping.

As for sales, holy smokes, we have made more in the past two weeks doing craft shows than many people in this industry make in six months, we were both shocked and I have 16 orders due by Christmas Eve, all framing artwork which is easy money but very high profit.

A few former banking clients were by that I haven't seen in years, I will pick up additional work from them, to be honest I had forgot about them and they were right in the rich area where we do mowing and lawn care now, I did remember their name and they knew who I was right away.......four of them thought I was still working in Gold Exploration in West Africa, I left that in 1998 so I guess it's important to stay in touch with the group.

Steve
12-20-2009, 02:48 AM
I was thinking about something as I read this thread. Do you think it is possible you guys know more people than the average person does? Or do you feel you are just more communicative and more plugged into your network?

We often see new business owners get on here and ask how they can get new customers and I will ask if they have networked with their social group letting everyone know they have started their business, but quite often it seems they come back with either lack luster drive or desire or maybe they just don't know enough people.

But is it possible they really don't know that many people or are they simply not thinking about it because this concept of networking is new to them?

picframer
12-20-2009, 05:02 AM
I was thinking about something as I read this thread. Do you think it is possible you guys know more people than the average person does? Or do you feel you are just more communicative and more plugged into your network?

We often see new business owners get on here and ask how they can get new customers and I will ask if they have networked with their social group letting everyone know they have started their business, but quite often it seems they come back with either lack luster drive or desire or maybe they just don't know enough people.

But is it possible they really don't know that many people or are they simply not thinking about it because this concept of networking is new to them?

We played a game one day on a job site to see who was the best connected to get contact with the person at the top, how many people would you have to go through to get to the President for example, maybe the CEO of the local telephone company etc. why did we play this game? I wanted to see how connected my employees parents might be and I was Shocked at three of them.

Next step, get them networking for you and pay them for doing so.

Steve it is not always important who I know but that one person that I do know, who is in their network and who do they know?

I have had so many clients network for us this summer, mainly excavation and landscaping (yes mowing in the South end but than was a given, I knew I couldn't loose but that was not my focus) it was simply amazing, to even the year off we just added another Excavator, 20' trailer which will allow us to transport a loader and an excavator in one trip, massive savings for us and another 8" Diesel wood chipper, did this for tax reasons.

For the client that did give a referral, depending on how big the job was, we will send anything from a thank you letter to a free spraying, maybe a gift certificate etc., it's all about building the house and they are now part of the team, make them feel that way, it works. I have even seen the guys take some clients out for wings and beer to watch a big game, talk about cementing relationships!!

cklandscapingorlando
12-20-2009, 11:20 PM
It's not always how many people you know, but who they are. Some get lucky and just meet the right guy. Some get lucky and know someone that can hook you up. Some make it a point to get around the right people. Some get referred to the right people. Some market to the right people. You cant flier or do door hangers in the best upper end places here. But you can do this in alot of ones that are just a step down. I got my first referel into the biggiest homes from this type of work. Upper class for sure but not gated. Once your in there you can drive around and write down addresses for a direct mail campain. Or you can pay for these now. You just need to find a way to meet the right people.

Steve
12-21-2009, 06:09 AM
I got my first referel into the biggiest homes from this type of work. Upper class for sure but not gated.

Congratulations! What led up to that referral? I think a lot of people get stuck on the first one.

We played a game one day on a job site to see who was the best connected to get contact with the person at the top, how many people would you have to go through to get to the President for example, maybe the CEO of the local telephone company etc. why did we play this game? I wanted to see how connected my employees parents might be and I was Shocked at three of them.
Next step, get them networking for you and pay them for doing so.

Kinda like a 6 degrees of separation game? That is really really fascinating. When you find out your employees have good contacts, how should an employer go about harnessing them? What kinds of things should an employee be doing to network for the company they work for and what kind of incentives should be used to motivate them?

Should you simply get them business cards or is there more that should be done?

I have even seen the guys take some clients out for wings and beer to watch a big game, talk about cementing relationships!!

This does make you wonder how far you can or should take it. These kind of customer interactions really take things to a higher level. Is it good to take customers to a level of good friend? Is that the key to success?

picframer
12-21-2009, 03:49 PM
When you find out your employees have good contacts, how should an employer go about harnessing them? What kinds of things should an employee be doing to network for the company they work for and what kind of incentives should be used to motivate them?

Should you simply get them business cards or is there more that should be done?

This does make you wonder how far you can or should take it. These kind of customer interactions really take things to a higher level. Is it good to take customers to a level of good friend? Is that the key to success?

Money motivates people, give them a percentage of sales from that source, I pay 10% no cap for all work done in the first season, the season being over for my company.

I would never harness an employee, let them loose, fill your boots.

You could get them business cards, personally we do not use them, I will give you a post card that relates to the issue at hand, why???? You loose business cards but in my experience people do not loose a post card.

If the staff bond with a client I do not mind them going to the clients to watch a football, inviting them out for wings and beer whatever, it is all about building and bonding the relationship, I trust my staff and I honestly do not believe they would cross the professional line, not that it matters a great deal, these are all University students with outstanding averages.

Steve
12-22-2009, 06:14 AM
Money motivates people, give them a percentage of sales from that source, I pay 10% no cap for all work done in the first season, the season being over for my company.

There are many ways to pay out bonuses. One could potentially pay a 10% bonus at the completion of the job or wait until the end of the year to ensure the employee stays on.

Do you have any thoughts as to what the best way to go with paying bonuses is? Also, should the entire crew get the bonus or just the employee who made the sale?