If you'd like to enjoy a greater abundance in your landscaping company where you're spending more time with quality customers, generating a profit, doing the work that you love doing, and less time driving around creating estimates for unqualified leads, watch today's episode where I share The Tree Of Good Fortune, the concept behind my upcoming book: The Tree Of Good Fortune: The Landscaper's Guide To Modern Sales And Marketing.
In this episode, you'll not only learn some marketing tactics that you can go and implement right away but you'll also hear real interviews with actual landscapers implementing The Tree Of Good Fortune like Craig who decreased his advertising budget 59% from the previous year while attracting higher qualified leads, like Jeffrey from Alterra Landscape Design in Dallas who was able to cut Gnome Advisor paper lead websites entirely from his marketing plan while systematically getting calls and leads from enormous design build clients, or Jake who is literally cherry picking qualified leads in highly-targeted affluent neighborhoods in Colorado, and then there's Tim who's tired from ... well, here's why he's tired.
“I got to say since the website launch and since the great freeze, we have been harvesting fruit from our tree of good harvest like crazy. With the amount of ass that we're kicking, the only thing we're worried about is our legs getting tired.”
- Tim Wardell | Marketing Coordinator, Shades Of Green Nursery + Landscape
Check out this episode 'til the end so you can see the number one mistake that I see landscapers making in their marketing and how you can fix it so you can generate a ton of quality leads you actually want to spend time with.
My name's Jack Jostes and welcome to The Landscaper's Guide To Modern Sales And Marketing podcast. This show is all about helping you increase your profit, enjoy a better lifestyle, have a more streamlined sales process that attracts what we call your 'hell yes' customers, and I'm excited to share with you today the concepts behind my book, The Tree Of Good Fortune, which is available exclusively at treeofgoodfortune.com. You can't get it in bookstores. You can't buy it on Amazon. You can only get it at treeofgoodfortune.com and I also have an option for the video book and audio book and this whole online course, really, that I've created out of the book. So check that out at treeofgoodfortune.com.
A Metaphor For Landscapers
The Tree of Good Fortune is a metaphor for what you can build for your business. It's like a garden that produces ripe apples, which are the 'hell yes' customers that you want that actually create a profit. They enjoy working with you. You enjoy working with them. You're staffed to handle those and a 'hell yes' customer is not just the project that you take on because your pipeline is low or you kind of know how to do this. They are a hell yes and a key component of attracting these 'hell yes' customers is having a robust digital presence that's beyond just your website.
It's about having a process that differentiates you from your competition and helps your customers learn how to buy from you. It's a process that teaches you how to train your staff so they can sell or at least participate in the sales process so it's not all reliant on you, the business owner. It's about customer service. That's what the rain is is delivering that customer experience that makes people want to tell their neighbors about the incredible experience they had working with you.
A key component of the tree of good fortune is search engine optimization where we grow a limb for each city and a branch for each service. So, as an example, if you sell landscape design in Arlington Heights, Illinois, you build a page for landscape design, Arlington Heights and if you also sell to Buffalo Grove, you build a landscape design Buffalo Grove page. You end up having sometimes dozens or over several years over a hundred pages but this is what allows you to branch out and rank highly on the internet and show up when your customers are searching online in their neighborhoods.
Why You Should Care About Online Reviews
And you can't do it without the sun. Right? The sun is like online reviews. You've got to get customer feedback and online reviews because who isn't looking at that nowadays when they're buying? Even baby boomers are doing it. It's not just a generational thing. People use reviews. They use the internet. It's changed the way we do everything and you've got to have this holistic approach to it in order to harvest the ripe apples.
Now, many landscapers listen to this podcast, come and see my talks, read my books, end up working with me because they're frustrated. Many of them are driving around, wasting a ton of time, creating estimates, bidding on projects that they're never going to close only to find out that they lost on price. Their customer ended up choosing some Chuck-In-A-Truck contractor who simply charges less and many of them have trouble recruiting employees.
Now if this sounds like you, you're not alone. In fact, many people are having these challenges and this isn't just a business problem. This often bleeds into your personal life. It can create a lot of stress. It can cause financial issues. It can eat into dinner time causing late nights where you miss family events that you really want to be at. But it doesn't to be this way.
Why Should Someone Pay More For Your Services?
Often, those issues stem from a few key things. The first one being a lack of branding and differentiation meaning if your customers don't understand why you were different from some other landscaper, why would they pay more to buy from you? I agree with them. If they don't understand why you're different or better, they should hire somebody who charges less. It makes sense. Right? But that becomes an issue as a result of a lack of true branding, not just putting your logo on your shirt and vehicles but really getting clear on your unique selling position. Why are you different and better in your process and the experience of buying from your company and is that clear throughout your marketing?
The other reason that happens is you have too few leads. If you're relying on referrals or you're relying on those lead generation websites, you're not going to have enough lead volume where you can be picky. Right? You've got to generate a lot of leads but qualify them and systematically qualify them without you personally having to talk to them and you can do that automatically through your digital marketing, through videos, through content, on your website.
And one of the other key reasons is a weak sales process where you're not qualifying hard enough on the beginning before you spend the time going out and doing a site evaluation or creating a plan. And I was just talking with a landscaper who said that he just lost a commercial bid where they had spent over 20 hours on it between phone calls, meetings, doing a site visit, using iLawn, creating an estimate, following up only to find out that this customer wasn't even serious about buying or switching vendors ever. They just wanted another opinion but their sales process could have figured that out sooner.
Are You Plagued By The Russian Olive Shrub of Despair? (Metaphorically, That Is)
And that is a key part of the Tree of Good Fortune that many landscapers don't yet have a tree of good fortune. Instead, many of them have what I call the Russian Olive Shrub of Despair. This is a dinky noxious weed of a website. It's out of date. It only has a handful of pages, your home page, about page, services, your blog that hasn't been updated since 2017. And when you have a Russian Olive Shrub of Despair, you have no choice but to wait. I hope I get a referral today or when your pipeline is really low, then you turn to the gnome advisers which look cute at first but these are subterranean evil goblins that sell leads to not only you but also multiple other contractors meanwhile conditioning the client that they should get a bunch of bids and choose on price because hey, you're just a commodity.
Instead, you could attract your own customers who qualify themselves through long form content on your website, video content, strategic content, pricing pages, the process page. All of these key things that go into a robust Tree of Good Fortune and stem from a key concept of having a limb for each city and a branch for each service and then over time, you build out many of these pages. So you rank online and generate customers from all those cities and neighborhoods and what many people don't realize is how specifically you can target those areas.
How Other Landscapers Are Implementing The Tree Of Good Fortune
So let's hear from Jake Harris who went from working over 80 hours a week to cutting 40 hours a week from his work. So he can now coach football and he cut a bunch of his gnome adviser advertising and here's what he had to say about pinpointing specific areas.
“I didn't know that you could pinpoint service areas so well through SEO until I worked with Ramblin Jackson. And cool story is, I think one of the first places that we really wanted to target was the Broadmoor, very highly affluent area here in Colorado Springs. I hadn't really shared with my team exactly what we've been working on as far as building out service pages, that kind of stuff, and one of my designers and an estimator said had come up to me. He was like man, we're getting a ton of leads from Broadmoor right now. I was like good. That's how it shouldn't be. So like I didn't realize that we were able to pinpoint that much.”
-Jake Harris | Owner, Jake’s Designs
And this doesn't just work for design build. In fact, it works really well for full-service landscaping companies that do maintenance services like Green Side Up Landscaping in Richmond, Virginia. They came to me and they were spending a ton of money on Google ad words and they knew that they weren't working well because not many of those leads were converting into projects because Craig is a master at tracking everything in his business. He's a really fascinating guy but he absolutely tracks what was the source of the marketing and what was the result of that lead and here's what he had to say within just six months of planting his tree of good fortune.
“Last year, we had spent over $10,500 on pay-per-click that we haven't been spending this year at all. I mean we had spent roughly between 58% and 59% of our budget from last year on that we're not spending as much on advertising and we're getting more out of it. To me, if you're looking at the numbers, it's a pretty big deal. You know what I mean?”
-Craig Attkisson | Owner, Green Side Up Landscaping
And yes, this works in Texas. Here's what Jeffrey Riddle from Alterra Landscape Design had to say. He lives in Dallas, Texas where he was getting a high quantity of leads. So much that it was a problem. He didn't want more leads. He wanted higher quality leads and by investing in the tree of good fortune process, he was able to pretty much eliminate his reliance on those gnome advisor sites.
“We got lots of good leads from Thumbtack and Hows and some from Google and we really were attracted to building our own website. It's kind of this analogy of the tree of good fortune and I love that analogy. But it sort of makes you independent of Google or Hows or Thumbtack. If you have your own tree and you take care of it and it's yielding fruit and the fruit we want is better leads. We want higher quality leads.”
-Jeffrey Riddle | Owner, Alterra Landscape Design
Well we've created this Tree of Good Fortune metaphor and it's fun and it's the big idea. We get really specific on how to actually do this through a process called the Landscapers Foundation Of Digital Marketing.
This is a process that my team at Ramblin Jackson and I have created over the last 12 years of having worked with over 800 clients around the United States. It all starts with establishing a solid foundation using the foundational four which is your branding and differentiation, your website, your search engine optimization and your online reviews.
How To Plant Your Own Tree Of Good Fortune
From there, you build up into things like strategic content and when you go in this order, you often totally eliminate your reliance on things like social media and online advertising all together. I've written a book about it called The Tree Of Good Fortune: The Landscaper's Guide To Modern Sales And Marketing. Now, this book goes step-by-step how to plant your own tree of good fortune, how to implement the landscaper’s foundation of digital marketing, and it includes real harvest stories, actual stories with real lawn and landscape contractors and garden centers who are implementing this and getting real results.
Now a lot of you enjoy reading and some of you don't. So I have created a video book which is an online course that I've created. So you can go chapter by chapter and watch a performance of the book. It's professionally recorded, professionally edited. It has all kinds of graphics, video content, audio interviews. There's an audio book. There's links. There's graphics. There's all this cool stuff that you can click on and I have it all available for you at treeofgoodfortune.com.
So you can order the book there. All you have to do is pay 10 bucks to cover the cost of shipping and printing the book and there's the option to get the video book. So instead of binge watching Netflix or whatever you're going to do at night, binge watch something that's going to help you enjoy a better lifestyle by growing your business.
My name's Jack Jostes and thanks for checking out today's episode of The Landscaper's Guide To Modern Sales And Marketing. While the Tree of Good Fortune is an evergreen idea, we do share a few seasonal items coming up and if you're listening to this in the fall of 2021, be sure to join me at my upcoming book launch party at the GIE expo on Wednesday, October 20th, where we'll have a bourbon tasting and play the stump game.
We also have our second annual Landscaper's Summit coming up in November, a two-day virtual event focused on sales, marketing, branding, leadership, and more to get you ready for spring. So see the show notes for that. To see those links or visit ramblinjackson.com/events and you can grab my book at treeofgoodfortune.com.
Thanks so much for tuning in. I look forward to talking with you next week.