Your landscaping customers are not all the same. They all have different needs, wants, and desires.
Sometimes they will volunteer this information to you, other times you will have to investigate to fill in the blanks.
We are going to fill in the blanks on some other important information for you though.
What makes them buy, and what makes them buy from you?
This is valuable information, as it allows you to present you and your business, product, or service in the most productive and focused way you can. The bottom line is you need to "help" your customers with their needs.
If you are trying to start a landscaping business, or lawncare business, this is what we call a sales process.
There are thousands of different sales courses out there, and many of them say the same thing. (Just in different words.) To compare sales to designing, they both have basic fundamentals. If you learn and follow the basic fundamentals, you will have more unity and flow to your sales process, just like your designs.
Tip. If you are looking to develop better sales skills, study different sales courses in your down time. Take notes on the tips, methods, and techniques that you like the best. These should be incorporated into your current sales process. You will always find at least one or two great tips from each one.
Why People Buy?
In order for you to understand how to develop an effective sales process, let's look at what makes people buy.
I remember from a number of years back, and still see this today.
“People buy based on benefits and features of a product or service.”
This is so true, and should be incorporated into each step of your presentation. You should always try to give the advantages of the features so they see the benefit. After all, benefits are the real reasons that people buy.
Make sure you know your benefits and features.
For example: A feature may be a large maple tree.
Your knowledge of the features should be presented as advantages to the customer. These advantages will provide them with the overall benefit. Once again, you are helping them.
For example: The advantage of having a nice maple tree here is that the canopy will provide shade in the summer, this will help cool the house. In the winter when the leaves drop, it will allow sunlight through to help warm the house.
The feature is the maple. The advantages of the maple were explained to give the client the overall benefit. Now they are sold on having a maple tree there. (Until they spend a few years raking the leaves, then they will curse you.)
Make sure that if you are going to explain benefits and features, you know your products and materials. Have you actually read the brochures you hand to your customers? Also, spend some time reading about the companies that make or provide these materials that you are using.
Here is one more example geared towards you. The feature is "product knowledge".
There are a couple of advantages to you in knowing more about the products and the company.
It allows you to accurately and quickly answer any questions they may have during the presentation.
Product knowledge will also improve your self-confidence, which in turn, improves your enthusiasm and your sales ability. This is what will help you get the landscaping job. Enthusiasm sells. (We will be discussing this in another article.)
So I didn't just tell you to know more about your products. I gave you two important reasons so you could see the benefit in it.
Just a quick recap.
What makes them buy from “You”?
There are a number of things that will make someone buy from you, but the bottom line is that they must like and respect you. That is why you should follow some basic principles of how you present yourself.
Remember to present yourself professionally at all times. You not only represent yourself, but the company as well. You are a direct reflection on how the company does business. Taking pride in yourself shows people that you and the company also take pride in their work.
Initial Contact and Appointment.
How many times have you had a sales call and didn't have all the tools you needed? If you want to save yourself time, money, and lock out your competition by closing more deals right away, you better be prepared. I understand that we may not be traditional salespeople with suits, but we can still improve on many things that we do.
Be professional, punctual, organized, and ready. Have all your sales tools ready to go. Have your portfolio, brochures from product suppliers, business cards, estimate forms, notebooks, tape measures, quotation forms, deposit receipt forms, laptop, and anything else you may need before you go to a customers house.
If you have the space, having a file folder or two in the back of your truck with all your sales tools will help. Let's face it; there are enough mobile containers of various shapes and sizes in the marketplace to accommodate a mini office.
I know we sometimes get stuck at a job and don't have time to go home and clean-up for an appointment, but try to avoid this if you can.
Is it accepted by customers to show up dirty? Usually, given the line of work that you are in, but that doesn't mean you should be doing it.
Some people will respect the fact that you are a hands on owner, others will not. They will expect a professional sales call. Stick to consistent safe practices. If you are ever wondering why you aren't getting the high end more professional work, this could be one of those reasons.
Have a quick clean up bag handy. When in a bind, keep a clean shirt and pair of pants that you can change into in your local phone booth or gas station. At least then you will be able to sit on a customer’s furniture without getting it dirty. Oh yeah, don't forget clean socks and shoes. Most of all don't ever smell. You may have just worked 14 hours in the hot sun so keep deodorant with you if you need it.
A facecloth or towel that you could clean up with in a bathroom should also be in your clean up bag. Smoking on the way to an appointment should also be avoided. You may not realize it, but you may offend a client with the smell.
Have your cleanest, most presentable vehicle to bring to a sales call. Other people in the area will see it as well. Make note of the street you are on, and if there are other people in the area that may need landscaping. (These are going to be prospective clients for you as well.)
Tip: This is also a great selling feature for your sales presentation. Your potential customer may know others in the area needing work done. Offering them a discount on their property if they give you referral work is fair and good business practice. You can justify this many ways. After all, it may save you money on floating equipment and moving leftover materials.
Another Quick Recap.
Take pride in your appearance and your vehicle. Be clean, organized, punctual, prepared, and professional at all times. You represent the company and are a direct reflection of the way they do business.
Oh, one more note. Before you head into a sales presentation, remember that you should do most of the listening not talking. Taking notes and being sincere will show you are truly interested in them and their needs.
This is what makes people buy from “You” personally. Now, let's take a look at steps in the sales process and your presentation. A good sales presentation is the prep work for closing the deal.
Table of Contents: Sales Tips
E. Follow Up