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How to get new customers

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  • #16
    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.
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    • #17
      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.
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      • #18
        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. *
        Joel LaRusic
        Consultant/Author, Start & Run a Landscape Business


        • #19
          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!!!
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          • #20
            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.

            Download a 150dpi version of this flyer here.

            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.

            Download a 150dpi version of this flyer here.
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            • #21
              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.
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              • #22
                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.
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