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jdobbin14
01-09-2009, 09:23 AM
I have a question for everyone out there. I'm getting my advertising material ready for the upcoming season. I'm having flyers printed up and I think I may have come up with a good idea. My father in law owns an alarm system company. I've made a verbal deal with him that I would have one side of an 8"x11" flyer and he would have the other side. He would pay for all the flyers and I would put them out on doors, cars, etc. My question is, do you think I would have better results just having one business/offer on the flyer? Should I go with two separate flyers? Has anyone tried anything like this?

Steve
01-09-2009, 11:52 AM
Hi Jeff,

Great idea! Yes we see a lot of co-marketing like this. In fact, can you sell the alarm service and get a % of the sale? Why not?

Did you consider offering any kind of coupons for the alarm system or for the lawn care?

I'd love to see your flyer when you are done.

jdobbin14
01-09-2009, 10:20 PM
Ya, if I sell one of his alarm systems I get $50. I used to work for him before I started this business, so I know how to sell them. I'll try to show you a copy when I get done with it. I have it laid out, I just have to get approval from my father in law before sending it to the printer. I figure with the economy the way it is I should save as much money as possible.

Steve
01-10-2009, 02:20 AM
Ya, if I sell one of his alarm systems I get $50. I used to work for him before I started this business, so I know how to sell them.

What type of sales techniques were you able to use to sell the alarm systems that you felt were able to be used to help sell lawn care?

StartALawnCareBusiness
01-10-2009, 03:12 AM
Does he mail monthly bills?

You could place an insert into the bill so his customers will see it when they open their bill.

Since they like his service and trust him enough with their alarm business, they might give you a try this spring.

Good luck:

Steve
01-10-2009, 12:35 PM
Yea that is a very good point!

jdobbin14
01-10-2009, 02:19 PM
That's a good idea Keith. He mails quarterly bills for his monitoring. I'd have to see if he would go for that. My only concern would be that most of his customers are out of my service area.

Steve,
I also worked for TruGreen Chemlawn before I started my own lawn care business. I've used more information from them than my father in laws business. I learned all the aspects of lawn care. The most important thing I learned from TruGreen was not to badger your customers. Use a soft sell technique. Offer/suggest a service and leave it at that. Don't call your customer daily and tell them their lawn needs this or it's going to die. I've found that my customers appreciate my low key sales approach. I suggest it and most of the time my customer has it done. I put a suggestion area on my invoices and in the spring and fall I usually suggest aeration and cleanup. In the hot summers I suggest watering for those that don't have sprinkler systems. Sometimes I'll suggest landscaping in a certain area of the property to fill it in or enhance the property.

Steve
01-10-2009, 02:39 PM
I also worked for TruGreen Chemlawn before I started my own lawn care business. I've used more information from them than my father in laws business. I learned all the aspects of lawn care. The most important thing I learned from TruGreen was not to badger your customers. Use a soft sell technique. Offer/suggest a service and leave it at that. Don't call your customer daily and tell them their lawn needs this or it's going to die. I've found that my customers appreciate my low key sales approach. I suggest it and most of the time my customer has it done. I put a suggestion area on my invoices and in the spring and fall I usually suggest aeration and cleanup. In the hot summers I suggest watering for those that don't have sprinkler systems. Sometimes I'll suggest landscaping in a certain area of the property to fill it in or enhance the property.

Very interesting! Now when you offer or suggest a service, is it always in the form of handwriting it in an invoice? If so, how do they go about notifying you if they approve it?

Do you suggest a service in other ways? Do you ever get a chance to talk to them in person and do this?

What is your advice on this?

jdobbin14
01-10-2009, 02:53 PM
If I see the customer in person I would say something like, "Your lawn was awfully rough when I was mowing, so I checked and your soil is heavily compacted. I would suggest we get this lawn aerated. I could do that for you for $xx.xx" Then if they seem kinda iffy I go over the benefits of aeration. Most of the time they go for it if I suggest it in person. Again, I NEVER give my customers the hard sell. If they say no I leave it at that. If I leave a suggestion on an invoice they call my office and schedule the service. I always leave a price on the invoice for the suggested service. My office staff are not sales people. I'd say off the top of my head, in person sales average a 75% return and suggestions on the invoices average a 55% return. The only problem is most of my customers work during the business day.

Steve
01-10-2009, 03:54 PM
If I see the customer in person I would say something like, "Your lawn was awfully rough when I was mowing, so I checked and your soil is heavily compacted. I would suggest we get this lawn aerated. I could do that for you for $xx.xx" Then if they seem kinda iffy I go over the benefits of aeration. Most of the time they go for it if I suggest it in person. Again, I NEVER give my customers the hard sell. If they say no I leave it at that. If I leave a suggestion on an invoice they call my office and schedule the service. I always leave a price on the invoice for the suggested service. My office staff are not sales people. I'd say off the top of my head, in person sales average a 75% return and suggestions on the invoices average a 55% return. The only problem is most of my customers work during the business day.

Jeff with all your knowledge, skills and talent, you are going to kick BUTT!

This is outstanding!

Let's break this down so we can all understand it better and develop a plan of attack.

First off, how many times per year can you suggest the aeration to a customer? And how many times can you perform it where it improves the lawn? Should you do this only during certain times or seasons?

How do you check the soil to see if it is heavily compacted?

Is there something visual you do that you can do in front of the customer to get their attention?

What do tell the customer the benefits of aeration are and then do you duplicate the list of these benefits on your invoice?

jdobbin14
01-10-2009, 04:35 PM
I generally only suggest aeration to a customer once during the season. Honestly, if I know that the customer has the money and he cares about the quality of his/her lawn I'll recommend a spring and fall aeration. They are both beneficial. In the spring I tell the customer that the winter freeze heavily compacted their top soil. In the fall I tell the customer that the summer heat heavily compacted their soil. I do try to explain that as best I can within a limited space on my suggestion area on my invoice. If I'm able to meet with the customer, I have a soil plug remover that I keep in the toolbox of my truck. I take that out and try to shove it into the lawn in front of the customer. They get to see how hard I have to shove that into the soil in order to pull out a plug. Then I go into the benefits of aerating your lawn. Soil compaction, clay soils here in Illinois, allowing your root system to go deeper, better absorption of rain and fertilizers, etc... (If anyone on this forum doesn't know the benefits of aeration and wants to do them (they tend to be a high ticket service that many home owners don't want to do themselves. So they will pay the money to have you do it.) I suggest doing a search on benefits of aeration and memorize them.) I have an informational brochure that I leave with the customer's invoice. I don't have it saved on my computer or I would attach it so you can see it. But again, if you do a web search on benefits of aeration you can get informed that way. I also take them out to their landscaping beds and show them the quality of their mulch and suggest remuclhing the beds or I state on the invoice "your mulch is only 3/4 of an inch and I recommend no less than 2 inches." Then I suggest on the invoice the customer go out and check out the mulch themselves. The most important thing I can say is NEVER LIE to your customer!!! If you get in the habit of doing it you will lie to the wrong person. You'll lie to someone who knows his/her way around the yard and you'll lose that customer and he/she will tell everyone who'll listen that you lied to them. Finally, again I never use a hard sales approach. I treat all my customers like their my best friend.

Steve
01-10-2009, 04:53 PM
I also take them out to their landscaping beds and show them the quality of their mulch and suggest remuclhing the beds or I state on the invoice "your mulch is only 3/4 of an inch and I recommend no less than 2 inches." Then I suggest on the invoice the customer go out and check out the mulch themselves.

Great thoughts Jeff.

How often do you find yourself suggesting the re-mulching of the beds?

When you are talking to the customer, what do you suggest to the the reason why the mulch should be 2" vs 3/4 of an inch?

jdobbin14
01-10-2009, 10:43 PM
Generally, I only find myself suggesting remulching every couple of years, depending on the quality of the mulch they're willing to purchase (i.e. how much they're willing to spend). I recommend 2" of mulch around the trees because it helps keep down on weeds, (I also recommend applying Preen under the newly laid mulch.) 2" of mulch is a good amount for insulating the soil to help keep moisture in the soil. The mulch also works as a sun barrier to keep the sun off the soil. If there isn't enough mulch the sun can more easily get through.

Steve
01-11-2009, 12:08 AM
Great insight!

Jeff,

When you worked with your previous employer, how much did they want you to market in the surrounding properties that you serviced? Did you utilize the clover leaf marketing technique (http://lawnchat.com/?p=156)? Or any other marketing concepts?

jdobbin14
01-11-2009, 07:40 PM
When I worked with the previous employer they did a lot of telephone soliciting and door hanger marketing. Here in our part of Illinois almost all the towns limit door knocking and require that you go to the town hall or police station, pay for a background check, and wait for a permit until the background check comes back. Therefore, we didn't do much of that. So we would hang door hangers saying things like, "check out your neighbors yard. Doesn't it look great? Don't you want your yard to look that good?" Then we would get their phone number out of a reverse directory and call them until they threatened to call the police. Now I go out and hang door hangers marketing my materials. I generally try to do that on weekends hoping that I'll catch someone working out in there yard. Again, I use the soft sell technique. Generally, something like, "wouldn't you rather be spending time doing something else right now?" If there's kids around I use that to my advantage. I have kids of my own and I say things like, "they won't be this small for long, trust me. Quit spending your weekends working in your yard. I can free up your weekend for $XX.XX, but your son/daughters childhood is priceless." In fact I'm trying to figure out how to put that last statement into a door hanger. Kind of like the Mastercard commercial. Anyone with any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Steve
01-11-2009, 08:42 PM
Hey Jeff,

How about something like this? I will put the clean template without text in the free door hanger section (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=7198).

jdobbin14
01-11-2009, 09:40 PM
Thank you Steve.

Steve
01-11-2009, 10:09 PM
I hope you can use it. Show us what you create!