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  #1  
Old 07-01-2009, 05:33 AM
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I wonder how much our clients read our flyers, post cards, web sites etc.

The housing market here has stayed stable and we are moving into a season where it seems a lot of homes are being put up for sale, sometimes the clients are older and want something smaller, the client is young and wants to start a family and needs something bigger or like trading your vehicle, they want something newer or nicer.

I have three crews that do the lawn mowing, pressure washing, clean up jobs and I worked with them this week just to see how things were going. I try to encourage them to look around, look for things we do and talk to the client. I realize it's not in everyone's blood to simply hit up a conversation and say I happened to notice you could use.....this is something we offer if you like. Staff even ask me is it ok to talk to the customer....I wonder why...my response is always by all means they are the ones that sign your pay cheque.

I picked up 8 additional jobs from current jobs this week so far, I took various staff members to talk to the owner. A classic was yesterday, I checked in on a crew doing a mulching job and it looked excellent, I walked around the house and noticed it really needed a pressure washing, I asked staff if they noticed and they did, they said and they are right, it's clear on our post card we do this, I knocked on the door and had an employee with me, I said Linda I stopped by to see how things were going and to me it looks excellent, what do you think so far? Then I said you know you have a beautiful home and location, I couldn't help but notice the mold on the side and back of your siding which we see very often, if you are interested we provide this service and can give you a quote. Her response was I didn't realize you did this and was going to look a company up in the yellow pages, what would it cost, I replied $425.00 and explained the process, she said do it please.

I see this on probably 60% of the places we visit, we have to be proactive and I believe based on my experience if we are, you will get additional work and some of this work is very high profit, besides that you already have the gear there and the longer on a site the more prople notice that are walking or driving by and as the property transforms, people stop and start asking questions, the neighbour feel slighted as his place no longer looks better and he wants it to......play into that....

Just a thought for the day.....Canada Day here so it's a day off except for me, I am digging two fish ponds. I picked these up while with a mowing crew and talking to the customer, one is a day care and one is a home with a lot of those small water falls you buy at the big box store....it will be a very easy $600.00 job(s), I had simply walked the property with the owner and said, a fish pond would be an interesting addition...."You do those"???
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2009, 06:52 AM
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I had simply walked the property with the owner and said, a fish pond would be an interesting addition...."You do those"???
That is amazing! How did that thought pop into your head at that moment?

I'd love to see pics of it.

Quote:
we have to be proactive and I believe based on my experience if we are, you will get additional work and some of this work is very high profit,
What do you think can be done to get employees to want to sell more? What factors do you think effect an employee not thinking about this or taking the initiative?

And what can be done to over come this?

Can you teach them sales techniques?
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  #3  
Old 07-01-2009, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
That is amazing! How did that thought pop into your head at that moment?

I'd love to see pics of it.



What do you think can be done to get employees to want to sell more? What factors do you think effect an employee not thinking about this or taking the initiative?

And what can be done to over come this?

Can you teach them sales techniques?
As for the fish pond I have no idea, I had a customer ask one of the staff if we could dig a pond for her gold fish, he called me and I said yes sure, probably 1 to 2 hours, simple job, put the liner where you want the pond. It was on the back of my mind, I did three today as the initial customer told her friends, this must be a new niche thing, excavation will be caught up in two and a half weeks at which point I am going to advertise this, I also have to find out where they are buying the liners and tell the store I will dig the pond. Anyhow as I walked the property with the customer I simply made the comment and it was obvious they had considered this.

I started at 9 this morning being a holiday, finished at 2:30, did three, made almost six hundred bucks by myself and have the rest of the day to do some work on my own property or take the dog to the beach.

As many are aware my employees, except for one, are university students and seem to be intimidated at talking to customers, probably because they have never had to, the way to overcome this is to talk to the customer with them with me and what I do is for example say , "Great question, what do you think Steve?" Steve being the employee, once they get talking they are fine, it's that ice breaker....not a money thing as they all love to talk, make money, get the work, they ask every day for customer feedback I may have received, when I tell them they are like a bunch of little kids grinning from ear to ear. In short its self confidence.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:22 AM
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Do you think it is difficult for the average employee to think outside their immediate job requirements? Is this one of the reasons why employees don't think to be creative and talk with customers and come up with additional services ideas that could be offered?

If this is one of the difficulties, do you think maybe having a check sheet with them where they could check off if the customer could potentially use a certain service?

Say for instance power washing.

Would a check sheet that included questions to the employee like, is there mildew or dirt on the house? Could the customer benefit from power washing? Then the employee could walk around the property and check this off.

Maybe they could even take a picture of the problem area which could then be used in an email to send to the customer to notify them of a potential problem?

Or maybe then a member of the sales staff could contact the customer?

How would something like this help create more structure for upsells?
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:55 AM
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Good questions.

Not many employees have the confidence or desire to sell or upsell, they are from what I see intimidated or they simply want to arrive at a site, get the job done and head to the next one. They are good at leaving our post cards that are job specific, "I couldn't help but notice your home could use.....", I am a one on one guy, if I see something, customer or not, I will stop and talk to the home owner and pretty much always get the job.

A check list would be excellent however I am not sure most of the crews would follow through, they will at the start but......

To me it isn't just about getting the job or making the money, I was digging a pond yesterday and had finished, was just looking around the property from the seat of the excavator as I was amazed at the size, I noticed quite a few dead trees. I said to the owner we offer tree cutting and chipping if you are interested, you have quite a few that need to be cut, especially ones that could fall on your shed or house, our rate is $XX.XX per hour. She said yes I need them cut, would you be able to come in and do $xxx.xx worth of work for now, I said sure thing. It's about making the place look better and in some cases safer.

I am going to talk to staff about this at one of our meetings, I know the majority will simply do what they are doing, send me a text message which is fine, I was trying to save a step or trip and get them more involved and perhaps discover one with the gift of sales and send them out on quotes.
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  #6  
Old 07-03-2009, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
I was trying to save a step or trip and get them more involved and perhaps discover one with the gift of sales and send them out on quotes.
I think all of this is fantastic. In general it seems we learn by example. If there is someone there to show us how to strike up a conversation, we can learn how to do it. Then from that conversation, if we can learn to point out property issues, that can be very helpful as well.

More people than not seem to have a disdain for sales. I am not sure why but once you start interacting with your customers, pointing out additional services, you just might be amazed at what returns you get!

Do you think you were always very good with one on one or do you think you acquired the skill over time? Where do you think you learned the skill the most from? Also, what do you do to keep updated on continuing education of sales techniques to learn new skills you might not have thought of? How have the other jobs you have worked at, trained you to improve your skills?
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  #7  
Old 07-03-2009, 06:45 PM
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I seem to be full of ideas and jump on opportunities when they present themselves, had another today....

One of my pressure washing guys does amazing work, an engineering student who loves pressure washing with a very keen eye for detail. Anyhow I dropped by on a big job he did to present the invoice to the older couple. They presented a cheque and said I hope you don't mind but we had Dave (they got on a first name basis and I guess they fed him all day long) was our Bio bin and outside furniture, how much extra will that be?? I said on the house we appreciate your business and Dave tells me you better half is an amazing baker.

Halifax was one of the first cities in Canada ti introduce a very strict recycle program, every house hold received a large green bio bin, you have a list of things to put in it and every other Wednesday you put it out for collection, the alternating Wednesday (it's Wednesday in my community) is garbage, now they spot check your garbage and if there are items in it that should have been recycling you get a warning then a fine, they employ dozens of people to check this and the ton's we save on garbage a year is staggering.

I pressure wash my own every other month so I got to thinking, I wonder if anyone offers this service, checked the yellow pages and there is one company listed, called them and asked a few questions, in short for $300.00 a year they will drop by your home and wash your bio bin every other month. So next I checked google for our city, no returns....JACKPOT!

Two hours ago I wrote the last 8 clients we did pressure washing for, in short the email said thank you for your business, Oakridge Yard Care has rolled out another new service, for $300.00 a year we will wash your bio bin every other month, if you are interested simply confirm by email and we will add you to our schedule, as of now I have six replies saying sign me up.

Not sure how this will work in the winter but I have lots of time to figure that out, I will schedule this so we go to the home the day after their bio bin is emptied, now I will write a webpage and add the key words, could be a small gold mine as there are over 100,000 bio bins in our city.

I think people are turned off from sales due to the call centres, high pressure sales places, this history of vacuum cleaner door knockers etc. customer do not mind soft sales which is all we do, I never have and never would pressure sell anyone, a joke line I use with a lot of clients is "I hope you don't feel that I have my hand in your wallet however I noticed you could use........., give it some thought and if you are interested let me know, most times they say go ahead on the spot after a chuckle"

I'm a classic workaholic, love interaction, kids sometimes call me a social butterfly, I find it so easy to strike up conversations, selling comes so naturally I sometimes catch myself and have to stop.

Being a entrepreneur is simply in my blood, yes I love making money but I love the challenge of getting the deal or sale even more, I educate my self over and above before I even start as this is a deal. I receive email or comments every week along the lines you have the job, you are not the cheapest but you presented yourself as having a high level of knowledge and you took the time to explain everything to me/us. I do this as if I were in their shoes, I would want to know, from my side I do it as I want to ensure you understand the process, for example if I am hauling 60 ton's of top soil across you lawn to a new area, I will tell you straight up, we take the up most care and use tractors with loaders that have very wide tires to minimize damage however there will be deep ruts by the time we are done and it will need repair.....most times this doesn't happen however I present and sell a worst case scenario, when we are done the bill is generally less and the damage next to nothing, the client is very pleased as you exceeded the expectations you set, this gets you referrals.

The dozens of courses I took while in banking refined these skills and opened my eyes to really understanding people, watching for buying or objection signals and knowing how to close or ask an open ended question to get you on side, I then worked for years at perfecting it and man does it work, my son who is now 19 has worked in woodworking with me selling his own products since the age of 12, he has perfected this skill without question and has made well over a hundred grand from the workshop, it is simply amazing to me, he drank it all in then honed it to match his personality.

Anyhow bud, it's been another long day and another chapter in the book closed...lol
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Old 07-03-2009, 07:49 PM
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Again, I will start with my disclaimer, I'm new to this business, but not business in general, so take my comments for what they are worth.

I'm an old fart (55) and I've noticed a change in the workforce. I won't bother you with my opinions as to why and what caused it, but basically I will call it the "WIIIFM" (what is in it for me) attitude. Generally speaking, people don' want to work their way up in one company, but will switch to another position that offers more.

Now, what/how does this relate to the Lawn Care / Landscaping crews. You pay your crews X dollars and hour, they are happy with that and as long as you have business they have a job. They know you're making money off of their labor, and that's okay because all they have to do is show up and make X dollar an hour.

But what if you gave them a percentage "commission" for an up-sale, referral or additional services? Imagine if they got, say 5%, of that power wash if they recommended it and closed the deal. For such a small price, you've transformed your work crews to sales crews.
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:37 AM
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I pressure wash my own every other month so I got to thinking, I wonder if anyone offers this service, checked the yellow pages and there is one company listed, called them and asked a few questions, in short for $300.00 a year they will drop by your home and wash your bio bin every other month. So next I checked google for our city, no returns....JACKPOT!
Great idea! This bio-bin would be like a large garbage can? What would you need to do to perform this? Possibly just have a pressure washer in the back of your pickup and pull up to the property and spray it down with water and some kind of cleanser?

That is a good question on what to do in the winter. Could you have heated water?
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:19 PM
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Great idea! This bio-bin would be like a large garbage can? What would you need to do to perform this? Possibly just have a pressure washer in the back of your pickup and pull up to the property and spray it down with water and some kind of cleanser?

That is a good question on what to do in the winter. Could you have heated water?
They are a very large type garbage can, fiberglass, very, very well made, they have a serial number and good quality 8" wheels, you can put 200 pounds on stuff in them and they pull like a dream.

The other company I called picks your bin up in the winter in the morning and returns them that evening, I am assuming they wash them in a garage.

All we use is a product made in the states called simple green, it's bio degradable and will not harm anything, amazing cleaning power.
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