Differentiate yourself quickly from your competition and train your staff to qualify prospective customers on the first phone call using these proven tactics that we shared at the landscapers guide to an optimized sales process workshop. My name's Jack Jostes and welcome to the Landscaper's Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing podcast. This show is all about helping lawn and landscape contractors increase your profit and enjoy a better lifestyle. Today, we share some footage from a recent live workshop I did with landscapers from around the country who got together with me and my team to work on their sales process. Many of them shared that what they learned could have a quarter million dollar impact on their business. So check out today's video to see some of the highlights from that. And if you don't want to miss out on future events, checkout ramblinjackson.com/events to learn more about our upcoming workshops.
A common issue I see with landscaping companies, especially multi-million dollar landscape companies that have a variety of different people answering the phone, is that they don't necessarily do the same thing on every call; meaning that on that first phone call, there's really no quality control. There's no process that the people answering the phone are guiding the customer through, which means that, "hell no," customers, the people that you don't want, the people who are not a fit for your company can sneak through your pipeline and eat up a ton of time and profit. This could easily be avoided by following a simple outline that I've created in a first phone call script. Don't worry. You don't need to memorize everything. It's more so an outline of questions that you need to ask to find out quickly if it's a no, so you can help people find a different vendor. And if it's a yes, advance them to the next step in your sales process.
Train Employees With A First Call Script
I do have a bonus script. So this script is really, it's an outline of how to do that first phone call and it walks through what Robert talks about earlier with the verbal agreement. So the verbal agreement could sound something like this, "Hey, thanks for calling Aspen Tree Service. Hey, before we get started, I wanted to see if you would have about 10 minutes for this call with me. Would that be okay? Great. And I'd like to ask you a few questions to help me make sure it makes sense for us to move forward in scheduling an on-site evaluation for your tree care. Is that okay? Great. And what was your name?" And you write it down. I really wrote this in a fill in the blank. You go through, you get their phone number and you can share something like, "We work in a limited service area in the community, and it includes Telluride. We work in Ridgeway. We work in the Roaring Fork Valley. We also have an office, a new office in Steamboat Springs. Which zip code are you located in?"
And when you get that, if you haven't listed it, you can end the sales call early because if there aren't a market that you don't serve, there's really no point in continuing the call past that point. So this can help you get to a no sooner. This is where then you can share some pains with people. "Hey, a lot of times people call because they have fallen trees on their property, or their trees aren't looking very good, or sometimes they're looking for help with holiday lighting. What are you calling for today?" "Oh yeah, I'm calling because my trees aren't looking good." "Oh, tell me more. What have you tried to do to fix it?" And you're getting some emotion from them. You're getting some pain, and that can help you lead into then the three reasons to buy. "Well, at Aspen Tree Service, there are three key reasons people work with us."
Great. So you've now shared that and you can help people figure out a price range once you learn a little bit more about their needs. "Okay. Well, yeah, Chris, we're really looking... We have two oak trees that I think we need to have removed because they're rotting and one of them is hanging over my house. The other one, it's just not looking good." So it may be helpful, "Hey, typically when we're doing tree removal, it can range from X to Y." That might at least help weed out. Some people who are just looking for Chainsaw Charlie to come and cut up a tree real quick for $50 bucks kind of thing. Right? I don't know how often you get people who are looking for a deal kind of thing, but talking about budget a little bit there can really help, and working with them to understand the price bracket that you're in.
So if you're selling landscape design and you're Steve from Turf Tech, helping people understand that typically when people are getting a patio and some softscape, they're going to be in that $25000 to $35000 range and getting a reaction on that. "Okay. Yeah, I think that sounds about right," or, "Whoa, we would never spend $25 to $35," and then you can kind of go... So you're not necessarily like quoting people at this phase of the game, but you are helping them get into a bracket of pricing. So that way, before you schedule this meeting with them, they are aware of that.
Then you outline the next steps. So for Chris, the next step would be... And Chris, I would encourage you to brand this step of the process. I don't remember if you already did that, but you could brand it as the Aspen Tree Care experience. You know what I mean? You're going and meeting with people and what if you gave it a title? For us, we have our marketing strategy meeting, and it's truly a strategy meeting where we help people with their strategy. It's not any old meeting. It's a marketing strategy meeting. We've created it and refined it over about 11 years. So we've branded it. So you could brand it and then you ask them, "What do you want to do next?"
Do You Stand Out Against Your Competitors?
Another common pitfall I see is that landscapers fail to differentiate themselves from their competition to both potential customers and to potential employees.
We're a family owned business. We do quality work. We've been in business for 20 years and it's like, "Oh, cool. Wait, which website did I read that on? Oh, everyone in town." Right? So that's not unique.
What do you do differently that your competitors don't do? Do you return phone calls the same day? Do you have a clean site guarantee? Are your employees uniformed? A lot of times, landscapers are doing things really well, but they don't tell anyone about it. A lot of people don't know why they're different or why they should call you instead of somebody else. So let's watch this clip from our Landscape Marketing Strategist, Robert, about creating your unique selling proposition and clearly communicating it in your marketing.
What Is A Unique Selling Proposition?
A unique selling proposition is something that differentiates you from your competition. It's something that you can kind of brag about. So how do we create these? They seem kind of... We hear 25 years of experience. We do quality work. These are the things we see everywhere. So it needs to be more unique as in the word. So what makes a good, unique selling proposition? It's something that is measurable, something obtainable. It's something that talks about the customer, not about yourself. So I have 25 years of experience. That's talking about yourself. What about over the last 25 years of experience, we've built a proven process to make building your backyard easy, efficient, and simple for you. Now, it's about the customer. So we want to be able to talk about that. It's also built in helping a customer avoid a pain, something that they've disliked in the past.
So what I'd like you to do is on page 11, there's some examples of things that people really dislike about the landscaping industry. We're looking... And I'd like you to kind of write these down. So a big one is communication. There's nothing worse than no one calling you back. I had a plumbing issue. I filled out a bunch of online forms. I left a lot of voicemails. No one called me back. It was two days and still, I no plumber. And that's the most frustrating thing. So if you can do something to differentiate yourself, you're already light years ahead of your competition. So some of the things; miss deadlines, uncleanly job sites, lack of professionalism, having to manage multiple people, not having an account manager if you're in commercial landscaping, or having a different person on the property every week, a lack of knowledge, lack of certifications.
So these are all things that people really dislike about the landscaping industry. So we need to think about how we can build unique selling propositions to overcome these pains before they even meet with us. So an awesome thing, Jack mentioned that Marcus Sheridan... We're having a Marcus Sheridan interview released this Friday is 70% of people make their buying decision before they even meet with you. So if I don't know what makes you great from your website or from what I see online, the chances of me moving on are quite high. You're like, "Oh, well, we talk about that in person." Well, you might not get the chance to talk about it in person because most people are making that decision already.
Do You Have A Quarter Million Sales and Marketing Problem?
What would happen if you fixed the sales process issues you identified? Would you spend more time with your family? What would happen to your employees? How would they be impacted? What about your customers?
What do you think would change if you did have a process that everyone followed?
A lot would change because then we wouldn't be so focused on... Earlier, you talked about the answer, "Well, it depends." I hear that a lot. "Well, it depends. It depends. It depends." And it would no longer depend. We define who our customer is and that's who we go after. We don't waste the time with people that aren't our customers.
Thanks so much for checking out today's episode of the Landscaper's Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing podcast. My name is Jack Jostes, and I look forward to talking with you next week.