“Sorry, I can’t take the job. I’ve already got too much work” – said no one ever!
If you’ve been in the landscape contracting business for any length of time, you probably adhere closely to that old farming adage, “make hay while the sun shines.” In other words, if there’s work available, GRAB IT!
The risk you run, of course, is that all that additional work eventually catches up to you and you begin to lose jobs – even clients – because you’re having trouble handling it all. So how do you get around that problem? By adopting a landscape business model that provides high enough value early in the sales process to satisfy the client enough for them to be willing to wait until you’re ready to deliver more services.
A typical example of this model would be to provide a low-price-point item such as a site assessment and a promise of future work that has a scope and budget attached to it. The intent is to deliver such initial value and demonstrate such expertise that the client is inclined to say, “Gee, this contractor really knows his/her stuff – and they’re reasonably priced, too – I’d rather wait until they’re available than go with those other guys.”
This proven sales technique of offering high initial value with no to very low risk provides early and easy access to you and valuable information for the client which generates early loyalty, gains client trust, and blocks out the first round of competition.
The goal is to get the client to feel that “warm & fuzzy” sensation about using your services. You aren’t trying to bowl them over with your brilliance so much as honor their time with your attention, so they feel heard and understood by a professional. You want them to personally trust you and value your input and service above all others. This trust must NOT be violated.
It may not even require the time to visit the home – you may be able to do a discovery session on the phone and deliver so much value that when they speak to other landscapers, they’re not as impressed and consider you the best of the bunch.
With a little thought, you can deliver an initial assessment visit with minimal effort and maximum return. It’s a win-win situation that provides good value to the client and ensures you get paid for your effort. Once the relationship is established, you can then feel free to explain your availability and provide a timeline for your services.
Utilizing this type of business model – early free discovery and easy low investment assessment - enables you to effectively secure new business, manage client expectations, and deliver services on a timely basis that doesn’t jeopardize client relationships. You are essentially taking prospects through your sales funnel while holding their hand. Once through, they are pleased to wait until their turn on the production calendar comes up. That’s truly a win-win business model!