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Steve
03-10-2005, 02:57 PM
We did some research and found some great information that we wanted to pass along to you.

Please feel free to post your suggestions as well.

Steve
03-10-2005, 03:03 PM
Here are some suggestion paraphrased from 'TLC' who sells yellow page ads. These suggestions apply to yellow page ads as well as website design.

- Don't have your name at the top but instead a headline telling the reader what benefits you can offer them or what you can do for them.

- Within the body of the ad, list the most profitable work you do, the type of jobs you offer and/or the most common requested information.

- Put Free Estimates right above your phone number to generate more calls.

- Put your name close to the bottom of the ad just above the number or to the left of it.

- Put your web address at the bottom too. If they can't reach you on a weekend, there is a good chance they wil go to your website to learn more about your company and the services you offer.

- Make sure your website has testimonials.

- Include before and after pictures on your website.

- Always have your phone number forwarded to your cell if you are not in your office. Many customers will try another company rather than leave a message on an answering machine or with a answering service.

Steve
03-17-2005, 04:21 PM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from Jim Bettke,

Create a 'Before and After Book.'

Take pictures of any jobs you do before you start them and then when you are completed, take an after picture. Insert these photos into a photo album with the before picture on the left and the after picture on the right. Take this book with you when you meet a new client and show them your different before and after pictures.

This should allow you to charge higher prices because the customer will feel more comfortable with your abilities.

Steve
03-18-2005, 02:15 PM
from walker-talker

"All good advice there Gopher. One thing that you mentioned, that I don't have, is the testimonials on my website. By the way, thanks for the template....check out what I have done with it. I am not quite finished or happy with it, but it's a start and my first.

http://www.progressivelawn.com "

Steve
03-18-2005, 02:15 PM
from proenterprises

"Also, you could have a "speak with a customer program' The cyclone rake has somthing similar to this, they allow prospectiev clients to speak with a customer who already has the product, for an honest and open opinion. This could be used here as well."

Steve
03-18-2005, 03:37 PM
From daren_r

"Great suggestion Gopher. I have said for a long time your web address should go on all your material. I learned this several years ago when I had the opportunity to take a sales training course.

I worked for an internet start up in tech support but they sent some of us through the training to get an idea of what our sales force was being told and to keep them on the straight and narrow. The guy teaching the course said he almost did not get the job because his company did not have a website."

Steve
03-18-2005, 03:38 PM
From Lawngodfather

"I find another good thing to do is broaden your horrizons....

Offer more profitable services, and get every penny you can out of the ones you have now."

Steve
03-22-2005, 04:20 PM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from Lawrence,

Don't wait for people to call you from flyers. You must go out and actively meet with new potential clients.

Go to local mower shops and hang up your flyer so if a customer's mower is in the shop being fixed, they can call you to service their lawn. Once they see how much easier it is for you to mow their lawn they may decide to stick with you rather than do it themself.

Knock on the doors of residents in your neighborhood and others. Offer them to mow their lawn on the spot. When you are done, knock on their neighbor's doors and show them how you just finished the next door lawn. Offer them a good price to mow their lawn since you are already there.

Many home owners who have a company maintaining their lawn may not be happy with the level of service they are receiving but will stick with that company out of convenience. If you meet with the potential client and offer your services, you give the client a great opportunity to switch to you.

Get in touch with realtors and let them know you are available to service the lawns of the homes they are trying to sell. A home with a nicely mowed lawn will sell faster than an unkept one. Also ask the realtor for the names and numbers of home owners who rent their houses to maintain their lawns as well. Read your local paper's homes for rent section and contact the numbers advertised to offer your services. Contact local businesses that need a nice looking lawn that you could service.

Remember if you are sitting their waiting for people to contact you from your fliers, take advantage of your time and reach out to them. Make it happen.

Steve
03-22-2005, 10:43 PM
from ECS

Out here it seems the lady of the house arranges for everything that needs to be done. We send out recipe cards in the form of post cards every 2 1/2 - 3 months.

Steve
03-24-2005, 06:05 PM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle,

Customer Aquisition Costs:

If you hand out 200 flyers and get 5 calls from them you can figure out a baseline. If your costs for handing out flyers is $0.10 per flyer printing and another $0.10 per delivery, you get a total of $40.00 to get 200 flyers out. Now divide that number by the amount of calls you received.

$40.00 divided by 5 calls = $8.00

You paid $8.00 to get each phone call.

If one of those callers converts to a customer, your marketing cost is $40.00 per customer. If two callers convert to being a customer then your marketing cost is $20.00 per customer.

Are these customers signing up for one-time or re-occuring services. How much will you make from each of these customers? Will you make more than it costs to aquire them? Are you making more than the $40.00 it costs you to aquire a single customer as shown above? If you are then keep it up and get out as many flyers as you can each month.

If you are losing money with this process you need to re-evaluate what you are doing. Your customer aquisition costs are too high so you need to figure out a way to make your flyers get more customers (offer a better service discount) or find another avenue of delivery to get your message out.

Steve
03-25-2005, 05:30 PM
from chevyman1

Advertising on weekends and nights only.

We began last week, and I must say, the success rates go way up when you meet most of the people while their home, totally seperates you from the pack. Sunday I met so many nice people in a brand new development...out of 60 homes I knock on the door and either spoke to or left the info when I left, we signed 6 on the spot, 2 more estimates Thursday night, and a topdress job. Not even going to advertise again until this Saturday. All 6 of the people from last week are also getting an Easter Lily

Steve
03-29-2005, 08:12 AM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle,

Put before and after pictures on your flyers. Most people read flyers right above their garbage can so give them a reason to look through your flyer. You might not get another chance at showing off what you can do. Most people just won't visit your website to see this information. This should increase your response ratio and therefore lower the cost per customer lead.

Steve
03-29-2005, 11:11 AM
Here are some suggestions from muddstopper

One of my best marketing successes was fixing up a trifold brochure. We placed pic's of our services with a brief description and then mailed the brochures to all the area builders and realestate agents. The brochure was designed so that one side could be used for addresses so we didnt need envelopes The response was tremendous and we havent advertised since. I also placed these same brochures at the local home and garden center and at the local mower repair shop. I keep one of those business card holders at each place and make sure to refill the business cards from time to time.

Steve
03-30-2005, 11:11 AM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle,

Waiting for people to call may be the easiest way to get new customers, it also is the most efficient way for your business to fail.

There are three main types of customers.

1. People who already have a Lawn Care Operation taking care of their property and are happy with the service.

2. People who don't use the services of a Lawn Care Operator but would like to.

3. People who have a Lawn Care Operation taking care of their property and are UNhappy with the service.

Your best bet is to go after group 2. Those who don't have a LCO but would like one to take care of their property. Now the next question you should be asking yourself is, how do I find these people?

New homeowners are in this group. One way to reach them is to contact a title company that deals with houses in your area. Set up a deal with the title company where they provide you with a list of new homeowners and you send the new homeowners a thank you for your business letter from the title company on the title company's letter head that includes a coupon for a free lawn mowing which is sponsored by the title company.

The title company benefits from this because you are creating good will for their company. You are sending out a thank you letter that they may or may not have done. They also come across to the homeowner as sending out a free lawn cut they paid for as a gift, which they didn't. This is your promotion.

If you can't get a title company to take part in this with you, contact a realtor or broker or maybe even an alarm company. They would be dealing with the same clients. Maybe you could also offer them $5.00 per customer who signs up for your services after the free 'gift' cut.

The alarm company might be able to use your free cut as a gift for their potential new client to get them in the door and meet. Make sure that this promotion is focused only on the area you service.

If you provide landscaping and not lawn maintenance, maybe offer a free landscape design or a free tree planting with a job of certain value or 10% off a purchase of $1000.00 or more. You have to give the potential client a reason to use you. There is a hidden benefit here in it being a gift from the alarm company or realtor. The potential customer doesn't see this as being free but as a gift with a purchase they have made so it doesn't de-value your service. This weeds out a large percentage of tire kickers that would just want a free design from you or are simply looking for a one time free cut because they are too busy on a weekend to cut their lawn themselves. You have already pre-qualified them to be a potential customer by their new home ownership status.
A week after the letter goes out, if you haven't heard from them, call the customer and see if you can schedule a time for their free lawn cut. Let the homeowner knw the free cut is for a regular cut and not if the lawn hasn't been touched in half a year. If the lawn is in that shape, tell them you will cut the first time for a fee and then the second one will be the freebie with the coupon.
When you are finished with the cut, leave them with an estimate to cut their lawn in the future. How much per month? If you haven't heard from them in a week from that date, give them a call and follow up on your estimate bid to see if they want your service. Maybe tell them your fifth cut will be free. Not every fifth cut, just the first time. Make sure you offer that or another incentive to get them to sign up with you over a competitor.

Steve
04-01-2005, 01:05 PM
From BCSTEEL

To get more residenals I would put out flyers in the immediate area where I am already working. Those people already see you in the neighbourhood every week so they are more likely to go with you. At least this works for me. I find it very easy to sell services to those people within eye sight of the jobs that I aready have.

Steve
04-01-2005, 01:42 PM
From muddstopper,

I trade with a lot of local business as I am sure everyone else does. I try to keep a good relationship with the owners and managers of these business. Most all the local convience stores have a business card bullentin board where they let anyone stick up a card. Even the local Lowes, has one of these boards.The local home and garden centers, mom and pop operations, will let you place your bcard on their counters as long as you use one of those .99cent business card holder trays. For brochures I use a tray designed for them. These items are easily found at Office Depot, Staples, and even walmart. One word of advise for anyone that wishes to do this is to place a lable on your tray and holders. This prevents others from using you property if you let it run out of cards or brochures. It also lets the store owner know who's holder it is thats setting there empty. I have had several call me just to let me know my holders where empty. I have also found other peoples cards in my holders. I usually just remove their cards and place on the counter. I will keep one so that I can contact them just to let them know where they can buy their own holders. This way they know that they where caught and usually dont use my holders again. You dont have to get nasty with the people and I have made a few contacts that way that have benefited me and the other person as well.

I also place cards and brochures at the doctors and dentist office. People that visit these places usually have to wait for a while and providing them something to read while they wait is good for my business. Even if they dont want my services they will leave the brochure behind for the next person to look at.

To me, brochures and business cards are part of a numbers game. Not eveyone that takes a card will call but if i put enough of them out there sooner or later they will fall into the hands of someone that needs the services I offer.

Steve
04-05-2005, 10:10 AM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from b.fahle

To summize what I have suggested to you, you now have the ability to

1. A way to make your first contact with a new potential client. By sending the first letter.

2. A way to follow up with that first letter by making a phone call.

3. A way to provide the potential customer with a sample of your service with won't be undervalued in the customer's eyes because although it was a free 'thank you' to them, they are under the impression the first cut was paid for by the title company as a thank you for using their services.

4. You now have a chance to go over the lawn and review it before you make an estimate.

5. You now have an open dialogue with the potential customer to provide them with an estimate. This is the flyer you leave with them when you are finished.

6. You now have a way to follow up on the estimate you leave with a phone call.

7. This concept has also helped exclude freebie seekers and helped you focus on real potential customers.

Remember to make sure you follow up with your phone call no later than two weeks after your 'thank you' lawn cut. Some people will tell you no thanks because they cut their own lawn but others, being new to the area and not having the chance to get bids from other LCO's may just take you up on your offer. You made a great first impression.

mowboy
04-07-2005, 11:18 PM
Here are some other suggestions:

1) One of the most effective ways to get new clients for me (it's been touched on here but it bears repeating) was to target a neighborhood with door-to-door canvassing. Talking to people face-to-face and being able to advise and quote on their property makes for an easy sell (even better if you can do the job immediately). As well, when you find a neighborhood you like I would keep at it, returning in person or with a flyer monthly. It's a sweet thing when you can spend a whole day in a single neighborhood working (no windshield time)!

2) Use 'Buddy Businesses'. Create alliances with other companies that offer complementary services (i.e. window washers, cleaning services). Often, if someone uses one of these services they also use the other. You could put in a good word for each other... possibly trade customer lists.

3) Remember that your marketing is not just your advertising... it's everything you do. So an important step in getting new clients is being committed to providing outstanding professional service all of the time. * http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Steve
04-12-2005, 10:03 AM
Suggestions paraphrased from Woody

I feel that flyers and/or business cards are the more most inexpensive means of advertising your business. They are great especially for those just starting out. I would like to point out one specific thing that will make a big difference.
Do Not just put your flyers in doors or mail boxes. You want to put them into people's hands. You want to meet face to face with a prospective customer and hand your marketing material to them. This is the most effective way to gain new clients.
If you just leave a flyer in their door, they will quickly forget about you and your services. But if they meet you and meet you more than once, you will be more easily remembered when they need you. Remember that the home owner may not need you at that moment, but they may need you in the future and you want to be the first person they think of when they do.
Another thing you should be doing is to ask your current customers if they are happy with the service you are providing and if they have any friends or associates they could refer you too. Get their contact information and call them. When contacting these referrals make sure you tell them which friend referred you to them.
My best sales leads have come from this process. I make sure when I call that I say their friend 'John Smith' recommended I contact you. This gets me in the door.
Make sure you stay positive and people will respond in the like. If you are negative or down you will get a negative response.
Now go out there and meet people!!!

Steve
04-22-2005, 01:25 PM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from Don,

1. Determine who your target audience is.
Get a map of your area and draw a line around the most expensive homes. This will be your target. You want customers that can pay you for your services and your upsells.

2. Make your target audience an offer they can't refuse.
You want to work very hard initially to get these customers by offering them such things as a Free trial mowing of their lawn. The goal is to give up some of your time now in labor to get the potential customer to sign up with you for the long term. Think about it, would you provide a free mowing initially if a customer was going to then sign with you and pay you $100.00+ a month potentially for years to come in the future?

Here is a preview of what you can use. Try handing these out to 50 homes. Make sure to put your picture in the flyer.

http://www.gophergraphics.com/images/free-lawnmowing-preview.gif

Download a 150dpi version of this flyer here (http://www.gophergraphics.com/images/free-lawnmowing-150dpi.gif).

The next day you will most likely find some of the homeowners have indeed followed the steps for you to more their lawn for free. After you more the lawn, go to the door and hand the homeowner this second flyer. Show them the services you can provide them and the cost. Then try to get them to sign up with you on the spot for the services they check off. Let the homeowner know you will invoice them the end of each month.

If they can't make a decision at the moment, get their number and call them when they say they will be able to have their decision by.

http://www.gophergraphics.com/images/free-lawnmowing-2-preview.gif

Download a 150dpi version of this flyer here (http://www.gophergraphics.com/images/free-lawnmowing-2-150dpi.gif).

Steve
04-28-2005, 05:02 PM
Here are some suggestions paraphrased from Scott,

There is no one magic bullet for quick success in this business. You need to work many different angles simultaneously.

The free mowing concept is a good one but I would suggest only offering that in the neighborhood of your current customer base. You want to keep your routes tight for maximum profit by minimizing drive time.

Create a referral program your current customers will benefit from if they bring you more business. Maybe give them a free cut if they bring you a new yearly contract customer.

Get your employees into this as well. Offer them an incentive to sign up new customers. How about a $50.00 bonus for each customer who signs up for a yearly contract?

Remember there are plenty of referrals out there for you. All you have to do is ask. Ask customers, employees, friends, and family for referrals.

Steve
05-11-2005, 03:44 PM
Here are some suggestions from Elwood

I have used door hangers with decent results, or as good as expected with hangers, but I prefer direct mail. A little better response and a well drafted letter or well done post card works great.

The problem with door to door is this: You may run into people who are outside or who are interested in talking with you and you may actually sign some accounts, but you may also catch someone who does NOT want to be bothered, especially by a "salesman" on what little free time they have to themselves. I know I am not keen when "strangers" show up on my doorstep, especially when I am NOT in the mood for it, but if I get something in the mail, it will lay around until I am ready to read it. Yes, many times it gets pitched, but so do door hangers.

The old saying is "It takes 12 good things said about you to correct one bad thing said." I don't wan't anything bad said about my company in a new area I am trying to get into. Who knows, the guy I upset on Saturday afternoon in his back yard may be the CEO of a sweet commercial site that would be great to have as well as his own home.


I have offered discount coupons for OTHER services than what I am targeting if a one year agreement is signed and it works very well.

Offer a FREE $100 coupon book if they sign an agreement for mowing. Your coupon book can have $25 off shrub trimming, $25 off fertilizing, $25 off spraying, $25 off flower planting or any other services that you provide. They will take advantage of the coupon, see your quality results and chances are very good they will have you perform the same service, at full price later in the season or next year. A great way to get your foot in the door and also hit them hard on upsells!


First, it works like a charm! Second, there is a large number of people who DON'T even use coupons once they have them, but they feel they are getting $100 for FREE when they sign up. Of course, my coupons expire on 12/31 of that current year and they are not transferable.

I have sold a TON of upsells this way. In most cases, by only giving $25 off any service, I am not giving away most of the expense, just the profit and maybe a small part of the expense. Then, like I said, after seeing the results, it is usually a home run.