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LawnBoy0311
07-31-2012, 05:40 AM
Times are changing fast! I noticed the 40+ yr old generation prefers phone calls, but the younger is all about emails! I noticed when I email a customer, I have to be very careful with what I say. Because they will study EVERYTHING I type!! One good thing I have had luck with, is in your emails, type the service you are doing followed by the price. This way the price doesn't stick in their mind as they read. I know its a debate to do a meet/greet with the customers, or talk over phone. But lately I've done more email quotes than phone quotes. Out of all my quotes, I only lost 1 this year- it was a highball because I didn't want to mess with her. Anyone else running into the same thing???? How are you doing your email quotes?

dpld
07-31-2012, 08:28 AM
i do agree that the times are a changing but i certainly would not say it is for the better.
the younger generations rely so heavily on social media that they have absolutely no social skills what so ever.
they prefer to do business through emails because it takes the human element out of the equation so if you sent them a price they did not like they don't have to muster up the balls to tell you face to face or on the telephone.

i am obviously from the older generation but not that old as to where i am out of touch and i do have conversations with customers through emails but any initial business deal i prefer the face to face because it is not only more professional, it shows you are willing to take the time for them as well as i beleive you can get a better feel as to if they are serious and if they are a customer you even want to work for.

i know we all want every job that comes our way but it is very important to screen your customers just like they screen their prospective contractors.

we do live in a free country and just as much as they have the right to choose who works for them i too as a business owner am free to choose who i want to work for.

LawnBoy0311
07-31-2012, 09:06 AM
I agree 100%. Im in the middle of the generations, so I deal with both worlds. It's harder to an extent with social media, especially the review sites like angieslist. Theres always goin to be a bad apple that posts a negative review because you wouldn't come down $15 off a $40 quote. I always and forever will tell people how I feel, thats a part of my Marine Corps side that can't be taken away. I see and hear alot about people utilizing google earth as a means to quote, but I've always felt its best to see with your own eyes. This way you can see for yourself what your dealing with. I have no problems with either method of communication, sometimes email is easier than listening to 20 minutes of whining.

shadrach
07-31-2012, 04:29 PM
I steer people towards email whenever possible. Everything is in writing & easier to control when/how long a conversation lasts. It is nice to be able to link to info on website/blog for reference as well. It seems like it is easier for someone to respond to an email while they are at work than a phone call.

hansenslawncare
07-31-2012, 05:34 PM
I'm not sure if I'd be considered that "younger generation" I'm 29...but I think my generation is pretty well versed in the social department.

Anyways...

I'd have to disagree with some here...about 90 + percent of my customers have contacted me online and prefer email communication over face to face/phone conversations, and most of my customers are in the 40-60 range.

For me...doesn't really matter. I'll chop it up (slang for conversation for you old timers, lol) j/k, or I'll email, whatever the customer wants.

Hedgemaster
07-31-2012, 05:42 PM
After I'm established with a client, I prefer email or texting.

I never want to bother anyone with phone calls and an email or text isn't going to interrupt anyone's dinner with their family.

I think I have two clients who I've never spoken to. All communication has been via email.

Initially though, I prefer to speak to someone, and meeting them in person is even better.

branchoutshrub
07-31-2012, 06:33 PM
We email as much as possible. That way it is in writing and no gray area to come back to haunt you. www.*******************

LawnBoy0311
07-31-2012, 07:15 PM
We email as much as possible. That way it is in writing and no gray area to come back to haunt you. www.*******************

I love the fact that I can save all my emails and always go back to them to make sure the customer and myself are on the same page. Even if I ever meet a customer, I ALWAYS follow up with an email, just so we are both on the same understanding of price and service.

The Cleaning Doctor
07-31-2012, 11:27 PM
A lot of it comes down to your sales ability. I found that most of my email contacts were tire kickers where phone and face to face I was able to close most of the bids. They may have been tire kickers in the beginning but when you can sell yourself, you have to do that in person.

Hedgemaster
07-31-2012, 11:57 PM
A lot of it comes down to your sales ability. I found that most of my email contacts were tire kickers where phone and face to face I was able to close most of the bids. They may have been tire kickers in the beginning but when you can sell yourself, you have to do that in person.


You can sell yourself with a keyboard too if you take the time to do it right.

:)

PVMS
08-01-2012, 02:28 AM
Times are changing fast! I noticed the 40+ yr old generation prefers phone calls, but the younger is all about emails! I noticed when I email a customer, I have to be very careful with what I say. Because they will study EVERYTHING I type!! One good thing I have had luck with, is in your emails, type the service you are doing followed by the price. This way the price doesn't stick in their mind as they read. I know its a debate to do a meet/greet with the customers, or talk over phone. But lately I've done more email quotes than phone quotes. Out of all my quotes, I only lost 1 this year- it was a highball because I didn't want to mess with her. Anyone else running into the same thing???? How are you doing your email quotes?

Be careful if you are getting every single quote. It is a sure sign your market can afford more.
When a large mowing franchise started here in the 80s, all the indies laughed at their over the top prices, and called them rogues, until they worked out that they too could charge the same.

Text is by far the biggest form of communication media these days. Its for this reason you should list your businesses on yelp.com, which new apple iphones wich SIRI voice recognition is linked too. It may become the most important form of marketing in the near future.

LawnBoy0311
08-01-2012, 04:10 AM
Be careful if you are getting every single quote. It is a sure sign your market can afford more.
When a large mowing franchise started here in the 80s, all the indies laughed at their over the top prices, and called them rogues, until they worked out that they too could charge the same.

.

A lot of people in my area are military and government. When they see a truck pull up with purple heart tags and a USMC sticker on it, they tend to go towards me. The majority of my quotes are within reason, some are a bit high. But as one customer put it, he'd rather give to an american vet than an illegal.

How many of you do text??? I don't even give out my cell phone number. I do, however, have a land line number that gets transfered to my cell. I just can't see myself getting into texting customers. And at 27 yrs old, you'd think I would!

dpld
08-01-2012, 09:47 AM
Be careful if you are getting every single quote. It is a sure sign your market can afford more.
When a large mowing franchise started here in the 80s, all the indies laughed at their over the top prices, and called them rogues, until they worked out that they too could charge the same.

Text is by far the biggest form of communication media these days. Its for this reason you should list your businesses on yelp.com, which new apple iphones wich SIRI voice recognition is linked too. It may become the most important form of marketing in the near future.


yes , but we are landscapers and we need to work in concentrated area's so appealing to the masses is useless in this business unless you want to spend a half hour driving from job to job.

i know a lot of people here are young and starting out and i am 46 and have been in business for 23 years but lets look at it for what it is and base it on reality.
in this business physical presence is what it is all about and i was a young guy starting out like most of you and i did what other successfull landscape businesses did and that is why i have what i have today.
sure i have conversations with clients via email because once i established a working relationship with the people i work for which is all corporate and commercial these clients are busy dealing with the day to day operations of running their own businesses and they don't have the time to be talking about the daily happenings with their landscape while they have board meetings and a hundred employees and staff to deal with daily.

but i can tell you that when ever i have a upsell to a existing client or i am selling a new contract to a new client you need to be face to face with them for many reasons includeing getting a answer right then and there and not risk it taking them 3 days or 3 weeks to check their email.
from a contractual standpoint you can easily put things in writing and be concise but unless you want to write a mini novel your email can not justify the need for the service and answer every question they have. for the most part you get one chance in business to make the sale and i have had experience in the past where a customer was waiting on a quote and expected me to get back to them and i emailed it and told them i would do so and they got busy and never checked it and thought i was blowing them off only to call them and hear " i did not hear back from you so i called someone else.
face to face business dealings put finallity to the situation and get the ball rolling faster.

i also found that when it comes to upsells even your best customers will resist to the added cost but when you are there to walk them through it and answer every question they have to justify it more often then not that face to face was the direct result of making the deal happen.

there are many stages to a business from starting out to being well established.
at first we take anything that comes our way and usually start out doing the work nobody else wants or are too busy to deal with but over time we build it up to get the right select customers and frankly as your business grows working for seniors on a tight budget or someone who just does not have the time to do it themselves are not the ideal customer.

before i made the switch to all commercial corporate properties i serviced 150 high end properties a week but one constant that remains today even though the type of client i have today is vastly different is that the furthest i ever had to drive to the job the longest distance from my place of residence is about 6 miles.

sure a web site can get you hits and be seen by thousands very quickly but physical presence and local exposure through newspappers and traditional advertiseing and refferals is the best bet for success in this business.

if i were selling a product that i could ship to any place in the world the internet would be a great thing, but we are landscapers and everything we do relies on us going to a specific place to perform our services.

look at ebay, you would think all these businesses selling stuff are legit companies and all they are doing is taking orders and drop shipping what you buy after marking it up and being nothing but a middle man.

unfortunately as landscapers we can not do that.

PVMS
08-02-2012, 06:17 AM
yes , but we are landscapers and we need to work in concentrated area's so appealing to the masses is useless in this business unless you want to spend a half hour driving from job to job.

i know a lot of people here are young and starting out and i am 46 and have been in business for 23 years but lets look at it for what it is and base it on reality.
in this business physical presence is what it is all about and i was a young guy starting out like most of you and i did what other successfull landscape businesses did and that is why i have what i have today.
sure i have conversations with clients via email because once i established a working relationship with the people i work for which is all corporate and commercial these clients are busy dealing with the day to day operations of running their own businesses and they don't have the time to be talking about the daily happenings with their landscape while they have board meetings and a hundred employees and staff to deal with daily.

but i can tell you that when ever i have a upsell to a existing client or i am selling a new contract to a new client you need to be face to face with them for many reasons includeing getting a answer right then and there and not risk it taking them 3 days or 3 weeks to check their email.
from a contractual standpoint you can easily put things in writing and be concise but unless you want to write a mini novel your email can not justify the need for the service and answer every question they have. for the most part you get one chance in business to make the sale and i have had experience in the past where a customer was waiting on a quote and expected me to get back to them and i emailed it and told them i would do so and they got busy and never checked it and thought i was blowing them off only to call them and hear " i did not hear back from you so i called someone else.
face to face business dealings put finallity to the situation and get the ball rolling faster.

i also found that when it comes to upsells even your best customers will resist to the added cost but when you are there to walk them through it and answer every question they have to justify it more often then not that face to face was the direct result of making the deal happen.

there are many stages to a business from starting out to being well established.
at first we take anything that comes our way and usually start out doing the work nobody else wants or are too busy to deal with but over time we build it up to get the right select customers and frankly as your business grows working for seniors on a tight budget or someone who just does not have the time to do it themselves are not the ideal customer.

before i made the switch to all commercial corporate properties i serviced 150 high end properties a week but one constant that remains today even though the type of client i have today is vastly different is that the furthest i ever had to drive to the job the longest distance from my place of residence is about 6 miles.

sure a web site can get you hits and be seen by thousands very quickly but physical presence and local exposure through newspappers and traditional advertiseing and refferals is the best bet for success in this business.

if i were selling a product that i could ship to any place in the world the internet would be a great thing, but we are landscapers and everything we do relies on us going to a specific place to perform our services.

look at ebay, you would think all these businesses selling stuff are legit companies and all they are doing is taking orders and drop shipping what you buy after marking it up and being nothing but a middle man.

unfortunately as landscapers we can not do that.

I respect that you started your business before internet marketing was important, and I agree that quoting should be done face to face, but far more people search for a local business on the internet, compared to any other media, including local papers.
Not sure why you have the idea that internet marketing does not target local areas.
With new iphones, all you have to do to get a phone number for a local business, is ask your phone for "best lawn care service in (insert place here)" and it will find you the highest rated business by review.
As each younger generation comes along, they use technology to do less and less physical and mental work. They will use SIRI.

dpld
08-02-2012, 08:06 AM
I respect that you started your business before internet marketing was important, and I agree that quoting should be done face to face, but far more people search for a local business on the internet, compared to any other media, including local papers.
Not sure why you have the idea that internet marketing does not target local areas.
With new iphones, all you have to do to get a phone number for a local business, is ask your phone for "best lawn care service in (insert place here)" and it will find you the highest rated business by review.
As each younger generation comes along, they use technology to do less and less physical and mental work. They will use SIRI.

i never said the internet did not include local businesses all i am saying is landscapers by far and wide get the lion share of their work through refferrels and local exposure.how many people here get work from customers neighbors?
how many people here get work from a passer by that either seen them working or seeing one of their jobs and was impressed ?

any solid business that has built a reputable name in a community did not do so by way of the internet.

answer me this truthfully, how many businesses use the internet as a false facade by putting up pictures of jobs they never did and use generic pictures off the internet?

it really does not matter how old my business is as well as i have a web site and take full advantage of modern technology but yet 99.9% of my business from when i started to this very day comes from a boots on the ground approach.

i don't know many guys in this business that can say the internet built their business and i know hundreds.

dpld
08-02-2012, 09:40 PM
Hey dpld, how did you first start to land your corporate accounts? What are your insights on getting these type of accounts?



my very first corporate account came from a very wealthy homeowner that i serviced and he was so happy with the work he tried me out on one of his 10 acre complexes to see if i could handle it.

once given the opportunity i made the best of it and made sure that he was happy he made that decision.
to my suprise halfway through that first season with his corporate property he then decided he had enough of the guys takeing care of his other locations and he gave me all 8 sites that he owned totaling about 60 acres.

all the while he never told me he had that many properties and although i knew he had buku bucks because his house was a easy 8 mil alone plus the corporate place he owned that i was taking care of but he played like cool hand luke and kept me clueless.
i swear i felt like i hit the lottery and could not have been happier and although i was going for 13 years and doing very well business wise, it was a major boost and a second shot to gain that feeling like when i started out filling in my schedule like any guy out there and that good feeling you get inside when you realize you made the right choice and your hard work was paying back dividends.

then he reffered me to some of his other buddies who owned commercial and corporate properties and it dominoed from there and then some of the owners hired management companies and then let them know that although he was giving them full responsibilities to maintain and manage their entire properties inside and out as well as finding renters.
he made it clear to them that he was happy with me and did not want to change his landscaper even if the management co found some low ballers even the management co was like this guy comes highly recomended maybe we should use him on other properties and then it just goes on and on.

thats how it is and a lot has to do with luck and being in the right place at the right time but the funny part is that to me that is not how and why it really started it off with the commercial accounts.

i was basicly cutting 140 everyday type of homes each week some jobs were real small and basic service and about 45 of them were full service and used me for everything and the rest were the cut it when it needs it no mulch don't want to spend anymore then they have to types.
i was getting tired of the bare bones crowd and just felt like the only way i was ever gonna get into big more profitable properties like what i do now was to just focus on the upper level of society that pay people to just about do everything for them.
the types with the new cars the huge house and pool and a daily house cleaner and cook, someone comes to clean the pool keep the yard green and clean and well groomed.
cutting grass just pays the bills and covers cost and all the profit in this business comes from all the extras like mulch, shrub and ornamental tree pruning and fert and weed control.
people that have the money lead you on the the bigger dogs becaus the reason they have money is because they own these businesses.

i know it all sounds obvious but if i was selling a 15.00 pair of jeans i would want everyone in america to own a pair but i am a landscaper and i need to make as much money from each client to succeed.
the normal thought proccess is is joe landscaper is cutting 75 lawns a week and he makes 4 grand a week and needs to make 6 grand to cover cost and turn a profit he needs to add 20 lawns to his route to hit the target.

the problem is you don't need more clients you need better ones and say you had 20 more house at 40 bucks a pop you still got to absorb the added payroll and fuel and general expenses in going from 75 to 95 lawns a week.
at that point your still falling short of your 6 g's a month and working more and spending more to do it and still fall short.

i understand in the beginning you got to do what you got to do, i did.
but every day you are out there you got to stalking like lion looking for your next kill because after a while it gets old working for people being johnny save a buck for people who nickle and dime you to death and make you chase them down for a 100 bucks.

i just got tired of being everyones coupon, and that is what got me in to the commercial because i started hunting out the properties.
for commercial you need to find out who takes care of the property, the owner or a management co.
then you find the company and you contact them and kindly ask if you could speak the the person who manages the property for that particular site.
then when they come on simply introduce yourself and ask the if they are accepting any bids or have timelines as to when they will for that particular property.
then ask them if it would be ok if you sent them a bid when they were accepting them and usually they will tell you when they will and to contact then or they will say they are not and then ask if they have other properties in your service area and you can get a good feel where it is going from there.

if they say no move on there are many more from there and you get better at it as you go.

dpld
08-03-2012, 10:43 AM
Thanks a lot for the insight, Thats really good info.

your welcome, and sorry for the long dragged out post.
also i don't want anyone here includeing yourself to think they are doing something wrong because as i stated in the beginning you got to do what you got to do in order to get the wheels in motion.

most of us have to learn on the fly and no matter how much experience you have when you start out there are just some things you can not learn until you jump into the fire as well as learn by trial and error as you go.

it is just like when you go to college, you start out all confused and overwhelmed and not knowing much and then by the time you get your degree you got most of it figured out and then after school you need to take that knowledge and apply it to reality.

i always found lifes lessons are better learned by observing other peoples mistakes to avoid them so you don't have to suffer the same consequences and follow the lead of the successful ones because that is what they did and how they got successful to begin with.

ringahding1
08-06-2012, 06:22 AM
Times are changing fast! I noticed the 40+ yr old generation prefers phone calls, but the younger is all about emails!

OKAY I have to chime(since I am over 40)in since I have fallen into the category of ROTARY....

You do realize that Steve Jobs was over 40 before he passed, right?
"Yeah but he owned APPLE"...yup, true dat!
He also owned a few products, too....One I use everyday to bust out some OLD school music, while mowing the lawn at an OLD speed(TORO G3)....:cool:


Selling....Can you sell a WELL water?

When selling your services, essentially you are selling yourself. At the end of the day YOU are the PRODUCT....I do not care if you are the best PROVIDER to ever walk this green earth.

If you cannot sell yourself via:

TEXT(OMG....the old dude can text?)
EMAIL(He knows how to email?)
SOCIAL MEDIA(WTH he has a Facebook Page)
WEBSITE(This old dude, builds them)
PHONE Since I am soooo OLD...Here is my statement:"Years of practice"
FACE 2 FACE I love this part, but the OLDER I get the more wrinkles I have to show off....oh oh and grey hairs....haha

My man forget about age...because their are dudes older than me that will plain take me to school....Now go sell your PRODUCT...

LawnBoy0311
08-06-2012, 07:58 AM
OKAY I have to chime(since I am over 40)in since I have fallen into the category of ROTARY....

You do realize that Steve Jobs was over 40 before he passed, right?
"Yeah but he owned APPLE"...yup, true dat!
He also owned a few products, too....One I use everyday to bust out some OLD school music, while mowing the lawn at an OLD speed(TORO G3)....:cool:


Selling....Can you sell a WELL water?

When selling your services, essentially you are selling yourself. At the end of the day YOU are the PRODUCT....I do not care if you are the best PROVIDER to ever walk this green earth.

If you cannot sell yourself via:

TEXT(OMG....the old dude can text?)
EMAIL(He knows how to email?)
SOCIAL MEDIA(WTH he has a Facebook Page)
WEBSITE(This old dude, builds them)
PHONE Since I am soooo OLD...Here is my statement:"Years of practice"
FACE 2 FACE I love this part, but the OLDER I get the more wrinkles I have to show off....oh oh and grey hairs....haha

My man forget about age...because their are dudes older than me that will plain take me to school....Now go sell your PRODUCT...

how long did it take you to try and find the "respond" button? JUST KIDDING!!! Those are VERY good points! BUT, with a generation like today, kids are growing up with computers. Your generation had to be taught about them. I was over my friends house a few weeks ago and I saw a plastic flip cell phone that made noises when you pushed the keys to text. This kid is 3 years old!!! And they have toys like that already?! I bet you when he's older, put him behind a ZTR and watch him master it in a few minutes. But ask him to lay some mulch in 100 degree temps and he will throw in the white flag. But in the end, it is how you sell.