Archive for February, 2013

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There are many ways to say yes.

“Sure we can do that.”

“Of course.”

“No problem.”

“Absolutely.”

“Right away.”

“I think we can make that work.”

“Definitely.”

“Okey dokey.”

“Gladly.”

“By all means.”

“Exactly.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

“Certainly.”

No matter how you say “yes”, remember that it always comes with an obligation. When a customer asks you to change your install date, add an element to the design, or lower your price, make sure you understand how it will affect the project and your bottom line. Be certain you are prepared to fulfill that agreement before you say anything.

Especially yes.

Happy Hardscaping!

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Home Shows are a marketing staple for a lot of Landscape/Hardscape firms. Company’s can generate a significant number of leads with the right focus and approach.

Just like any other marketing effort though, they must be wise with their use of budget and resources. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your home show experience:

1. Attract Homeowners With An Attractive Booth And Marketing Material

Your Home Show booth is like a 3D business card. It should give homeowners a visual representation of what your company offers and project a professional image. This includes your pamphlets, brochures or project information. Have them professionally printed.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

2. Don’t Give Price Lists To Your Customers

The homeowners you meet at a home show will default to the price discussion anyway. Why offer them a price list to fuel the fire?

Stay away from talking about price until you have the scope of work well defined. And that includes design fees, even if you charge a flat fee. Save this discussion for your face-to-face with the potential customer.

3. Your Only Mission Is To Set A Meeting

When you start talking to someone who is in the market for a Landscape/Hardscape professional, it’s not hard to go into sales mode.

My advice? Focus on getting an appointment booked and nothing else. Home Shows are like speed dating. Talk to as many people as you can, find out if there is a fit and set time to get together. Save everything else for your “first date”.

4. Find Out Quickly If Your Talking To A Potential Customer

It happens to everyone. You start talking to a couple. They are asking questions about your company and the work you’ve done. They seem nice. And then 25 minutes later you find out that they live in a condo, or they are from Winnipeg and just in town visiting friends.

Ask qualifying questions as soon as possible to eliminate people who will never be your customers. Questions that start with a “W”; who, what, where, when, why. That way, when someone else wanders into your booth while you are talking to the Winnipeggers, you can excuse yourself knowing that you are not abandoning a real prospect.

5. Measure The Success Of The Event

A lot of money and resources go into a successful home show. Determine all of your company’s costs including labor for set up and tear down, materials for the booth (including marketing materials) and any giveaways you sponsored while at the show.

Now, how many projects do you need to sign to make this investment worthwhile? This is the most important part of any marketing budget. Measurement.

Home Show season can be a very stressful time for any contractor so make the most of your events by being prepared and professional. The success of your upcoming season may depend on it

Happy Hardscaping!

Your Customers Are Looking For An Avenue To A Better Price

Your Customers Are Looking For An Avenue To A Better Price

If your business is booming and your price to your customer is a “take it or leave it” proposition, congratulations. You have reached the Mount Everest of the landscape industry.

But for those still climbing that mountain, you need a strategy for when your customers request a price break. So let me be your Sherpa and guide you with a few suggestions:

1. Offer An Earlier Installation

When you provide your customer with your project install date, never use the next available time slot on your project calendar. If you follow this rule, you can bring an earlier date to the bargaining table which can work in place of a discount.

Your customers want to be enjoying that patio, driveway or grill island as early as possible so use that as currency.

2. Offer An Upgrade Or Addition

Some of your customers are trained to ask for a better price. Why not give them a better project! Upgrade the polymeric sand to a premium product or upgrade the lighting to include the pergola. You can also add items such as plantings, a small seating wall bordering the patio, or a fire pit.

By upgrading or adding to the project, the customer gets added value and you get the project price you quoted.

3. Offer To Change The Scope Of The Project

When your customers ask for a lower price, you don’t have to slash your profit to get there. Find out how much you need to lower the project cost and offer to reduce some of the elements of the project. You may find that certain parts of the job are not as important as the final price. Your customers will be happy about how much money they are spending and you get to keep your profit margins intact!

4. Offer Alternatives

Customers may be trying to get a better price because they cannot afford the full project. Suggest they scale the project back by offering a different product that will save them money but offer a similar look. Take out some border work that will save labor dollars or offer to stagger the project over the next 12 months.

Help your customers discover ways to get their dream backyard or driveway without admitting they may be in over their heads.

5. Be Prepared To Walk Away

If nothing else works and the discount your customer is seeking is too steep, thank them for their time and pack up your design and presentation. Some contractors will actually use this as a closing tool since it forces the customer to make decision.

If they do let you walk out without a deal, don’t worry. One project is rarely worth the effort when dealing with small margins. Use your leads and referrals wisely and there will always be another project.

Customers have learned over the years that if they ask for a better price, they usually get one. Change that conversation by being prepared to talk about ways to change the project price without slashing your profit margins. You will set yourself apart from other contractors and get to the top of the mountain doing it.

Happy Hardscaping!