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  • #16
    Andy,

    Do you feel most people hate marketing? Why so?

    What you wrote seems very straight forwards and simple, but why is it seem this just rarely ever happens?
    I have to leave for a meeting the off to work to start a demolition job I won the other night anyhow

    I don't want to come off to a reader as a know it all, obnoxious or rude as I am the opposite, but at the same time people who know me personally will tell you I call a spade a spade and lay it on the table.

    If I am not good at something, accept it and get someone that is, it doesn't mean that you are not excellent at something else. There may be folks here that are the best there is at clean up jobs or maybe designing shrubs or making gardens, but terrible at sales, folks that is life. There are few in this world that are great at everything, the guys that won and are winning have a team below them to fill the gaps of what they are not good at, I could list many multi million dollar companies that accepted this, put the people in place and look at them now....Bill Gates comes to mind and is an excellent example, he is an amazing guy but DOS and Windows were designed by others, he simply was the Captain of the ship and made damn sure he had the right people in the right positions, Donald Trump is another example.
    Andy
    Halifax, Nova Scotia

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    • #17
      People are not afraid to market, look at the posts here of dozens printing thousands of flyers to send out, that is not sales, it's easy, you can hide behind the door with flyers and wait for the phone to ring, it probably won't and you will probably starve, you need to get in the face of the prospect to get them.
      Do you think many small business owners confuse marketing with sales? As you pointed out, it seems many people are afraid of sales because they are afraid of rejection. With marketing, there isn't the fear of direct face to face rejection.

      How should a lawn care business owner use marketing and sales to find success and how shouldn't they?
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      • #18
        Do you think many small business owners confuse marketing with sales? As you pointed out, it seems many people are afraid of sales because they are afraid of rejection. With marketing, there isn't the fear of direct face to face rejection.

        How should a lawn care business owner use marketing and sales to find success and how shouldn't they?
        Marketing and Sales are totally separate but like a good marriage they need to work together to build a strong and long lasting relationship.

        Well to me it's simple, if I make 50 sales calls and come home with less than 50% of the business, in my previous jobs I would give the sales person another chance but if it happened twice, then they are not a sales person and would be moved to another division or let go. Does that sound harsh, perhaps but if one employee can close say 60% of the sames, then I expect all sales people to close at least 40%.

        If you are a business owner and making call after call and not getting the business, accept that maybe it's not the offering it could be me or you so hire someone that can close the deals and maybe focus your time on marketing or managing the workers or doing the work, it's nothing to be ashamed of, it takes a certain kind of person to be a top sales producer.

        I can close 90%+ of the calls we receive (or I should say I did last year as I keep stats on everything) but that is not what I would ever expect of a sales person.

        Let me give you an example, in July we hired a fellow and he was let go by a supervisor as he couldn't seem to follow instructions that well, his mom calls me and it turns out he has ADD, I hired him back to work directly with me, a challenge, OMG you bet at first then I noticed something, he was starting to repeat my sales lines to clients and clients seemed to love him, so one day I said to myself what the heck, we were doing leaf collection on a street where dozens of homes needed our services, I let him loose to go door to door while I and another staff member were doing the work, OMG he closed almost 20 deals in one day and most were over quoted, a couple were under, in the end we made a pile of cash as we didn't have to move the truck and trailer for two days. So now he is in charge of sales, I give him a vehicle and he is on his own and paid commission rather than salary at his request and he made a lot of money last fall for the leaf collection crews.

        I can hardly wait to see what he does this year, the only thing he is not allowed to quote is excavation, I do all of those quotes as I want to see what we are getting into and it takes years of experience to quote these jobs properly.
        Andy
        Halifax, Nova Scotia

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        • #19
          Well to me it's simple, if I make 50 sales calls and come home with less than 50% of the business, in my previous jobs I would give the sales person another chance but if it happened twice, then they are not a sales person and would be moved to another division or let go. Does that sound harsh, perhaps but if one employee can close say 60% of the sames, then I expect all sales people to close at least 40%.
          I am guessing you mean pre-qualified callers? Meaning these are people that called you looking for service? Or do you mean cold calling area residents and you are looking to sell them a service?

          now he is in charge of sales, I give him a vehicle and he is on his own and paid commission rather than salary at his request and he made a lot of money last fall for the leaf collection crews.
          When looking for a sales person, do you think the average lawn care business owner should promote from within or should they get someone from the outside to do this job?

          I would think it might be difficult to not only train someone how to sell but also how to bid jobs.
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          • #20
            I am guessing you mean pre-qualified callers? Meaning these are people that called you looking for service? Or do you mean cold calling area residents and you are looking to sell them a service?



            When looking for a sales person, do you think the average lawn care business owner should promote from within or should they get someone from the outside to do this job?

            I would think it might be difficult to not only train someone how to sell but also how to bid jobs.
            Yes, people who called wanting something done.

            I think we should first try to do it ourselves but if we are treading water we need to look at what the issue may be. If you have someone on staff that can sell, let them loose and go do something else, I have staff that can run certain gear better than I can, does that bother me??? Not at all more power to them, glad to have them on board and I won't go near their machine.

            Some people have a natural sales ability, others try to learn how to sell, find someone with a natural sales ability as for pricing, that is super simple to learn, teach them the box they must work in and when they make mistakes let them know how it should have been done.

            In my case it's super simple, measure the property and my laptop will tell you exactly how much every service we offer for lawn care will cost.

            Clean up's, straight by the hour and I know the customer will ask how many hours, come up with a line, generally speaking this would take us about 3 hours so the cost will be $150.00 or whatever, however we will stop at three hours.

            They are going to make some mistakes, gosh we all do, what is important is that we learn from them.

            The way I have worked this commission, it's tied to profit on the job, so if my sales guy bids $45.00 to mow a lawn and it ends up costing us $40.00 and lets just say I agreed to pay 30% of profits then he just made $1.50 per mow, he will learn real fast.....or at least I would hope so.

            In my case the sales guy's focus is tree cutting and chipping, it's by the hour no exceptions, his job is to simply find clients needing it, next is mowing and that one is simple as I have a digital talk roller thing that gives you the square feet in seconds, I paid quite a bit for it but it's great, spraying and this will be interesting I told him to sell the entire package for the first spray and then certain sprays monthly, told him what to look for etc. Pressure washing is by the square foot so that one is easy also, excavation is me only. Driveway grading is by the hour, tilling by the square foot, post holes by the hole, mulching by the square foot, we tend to stay clear of weeding jobs, I am not a plant expert and some of our clients have some pretty extensive flower gardens so I sub that to a lady I know that is an expert and does it for a living.....I think that is about everything we do.

            Forgot to add, if it's a major job, like some of these private gated communities we picked up late in the season, we will do these together.

            Most of the readers here are straight lawn care so it should be super simple, tell your sales guy min of $xx.xx per lawn for mowing however it is $xx.xx per square foot, in my case if he really screwed up a quote, I would go talk to the customer and take it from there, I am sure there are going to be a few head shaking times ahead but I am willing to go down that road and see what happens.
            Last edited by picframer; 01-15-2010, 10:00 PM.
            Andy
            Halifax, Nova Scotia

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            • #21
              I think we should first try to do it ourselves but if we are treading water we need to look at what the issue may be. If you have someone on staff that can sell, let them loose and go do something else, I have staff that can run certain gear better than I can, does that bother me??? Not at all more power to them, glad to have them on board and I won't go near their machine.
              I think that is one of the toughest things to do, not only in business but in life.

              Reflecting on yourself and looking at what you are good or bad at.

              No one likes to admit where they are weak and I think that tends to lead us all down a path of either mediocrity or failure.

              We also don't like having people around that are better than us in ways we will admit. I think that tends to be due to a feeling of being inferior and no boss or owner wants to feel inferior.

              However, like you said, if you want to grow, you need to hire people who are better at things than you are. Then you need to rise above it all and look towards the future.
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              • #22
                However, like you said, if you want to grow, you need to hire people who are better at things than you are. Then you need to rise above it all and look towards the future.
                Many years ago when I was promoted to my first management position at the bank, I will never forget the words of the Regional V. P. whom I felt the world about, he said "Andy, if you want to rise to the top at the bank and in life let me give you some advise going into your first management job, you always want people under you that want your job and you want people under you that are better than you. You are a very young man and it will take you some time to accept and learn this but when you do, your career and life will take off"

                He was right, it took a few years in my case as I was a pretty proud person and thought I could do a better job than my staff as I wanted to be in control however I finally got it gave in and many things took off including my career. I wanted to work outside the box but I realized one day I wasn't letting my staff work outside the box, yes we had audit guidelines to work within but man when I got it and let some of them loose, we really made some of the upper end people take notice.

                Today never call me boss, well I will let you get away with it once, we are a team, let's think baseball, I am the pitcher and you are the catcher, can we do each others job? heck no, can we play a game without each other? Not a chance, I may own the company or gear but I want and will be treated like everyone else, our success depends on us working as a team and I really mean and stick to this.
                Andy
                Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                • #23
                  you always want people under you that want your job and you want people under you that are better than you.
                  It is very possible that one of the main reasons that keep small businesses small is the thinking that you may want people that are smart as your staff but not smarter than you. I think the reasoning goes that you don't want them thinking they don't need you and can do this without you.

                  When you are in constant fear an employee will leave and start their own business to compete with you, I think you tend to fear teaching them what they need to know to really do the job well. You also tend to fail at handing over to them the responsibilities to free you up to run the business.

                  Do you feel this is the case too? How can one overcome this?

                  Having such a fear is very difficult to overcome.
                  - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                  Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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                  • #24
                    It is very possible that one of the main reasons that keep small businesses small is the thinking that you may want people that are smart as your staff but not smarter than you. I think the reasoning goes that you don't want them thinking they don't need you and can do this without you.

                    When you are in constant fear an employee will leave and start their own business to compete with you, I think you tend to fear teaching them what they need to know to really do the job well. You also tend to fail at handing over to them the responsibilities to free you up to run the business.

                    Do you feel this is the case too? How can one overcome this?

                    Having such a fear is very difficult to overcome.
                    Do you want to eat hot dogs for the rest of your life or the best steak money can buy, I know what I want.

                    I love having people that are smarter than I am, good lord how can I continue to learn if I just hire people that are at or below my level, my companies will never rise to the top.

                    There is a guy in my workshop right now turning pens, I am a professional wood turner and I taught him pen turning, OMG he is far better than I am, I think this is excellent!

                    Why would you be scared to have staff smarter than you, in many ways most of mine are in various areas as they are all University Students and to the best of my knowledge they all are on the Dean's list as it's a competition between them to get the highest marks.

                    I realized quickly in May that the engineering students were amazing at building retaining walls and inter locking walkways, I let them loose, they designed, sold and did the work, just used my company name and vehicles, now everything went through the company but I paid them top dollar as they were bringing in amazing bucks and loved what they were doing, I would look at their work and think, we did that???? I sure as heck would not have figured many things out like they did, it's great!
                    Andy
                    Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                    • #25
                      I was thinking about your reply as I was putting supper on, name me one coach in any professional sport that is as good a player as anyone on his team, there isn't one. As a business owner we are nothing more than the coach, we have to realize that is we want a winning team and as we all know the winning team makes the most money in every sport I can think of, a business is no different.
                      Andy
                      Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                      • #26
                        What's a BOLG ?

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                        • #27
                          I was thinking about your reply as I was putting supper on, name me one coach in any professional sport that is as good a player as anyone on his team, there isn't one. As a business owner we are nothing more than the coach, we have to realize that is we want a winning team and as we all know the winning team makes the most money in every sport I can think of, a business is no different.
                          I never thought about it in that light. I think that is excellent.
                          - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                          Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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