Marketing & Sales Insight for the Lawn & Landscape Industry

The Right and Wrong Way to Diversify Your Landscaping Services

Chris Heiler

In my last article, "Squashing the Full Service Myth", I called bull shit on this idea that your customers want a one-stop shop for all their outdoor needs.

I can summarize it like this:

If "full service" is your company's calling card then you are undifferentiated to the point you are easily replaceable by any competitor claiming the same.

"Full service" is not a strategy, my friends. I think of it more as a "happy accident" you've either intentionally or unintentionally grown into.

While offering every service under the sun may seem like an ideal way to grow top line revenue (spoiler: it's not), this approach to diversification will undoubtedly limit your profit potential.

Read More

A Candid Look at the Risks Associated with Creating Another Brand for Your Green Industry Company

Chris Heiler

Have you considered spinning off one of your service offerings or divisions into a separate company and brand?

This is not an uncommon strategy in the lawn and landscape industry. We've worked with numerous companies who have attempted this.

Here are a couple off the top of my head:

Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape -->

-> Kingstowne Pest Defense

-> Kingstowne Home Services

Neave Group Outdoor Solutions -->

-> Neave Pools

-> Neave Decor

-> Neave Masonry

-> and others

This is exactly what Archie and the Greenbelt team are scheming about in our Green Ways comic.

Greenbelt Outdoor Services -->

-> Greenbelt Pools

-> Greenbelt Lawn Care

-> Greenbelt Tree Care

In the branding world this strategy is referred to as "brand extension".

Let me be clear: I'm not endorsing this strategy. I'm simply calling it out for what it is and offering an honest assessment of the opportunities and risks in this article.

Read More

3 Ingredients for a Perfect Lawn Care or Landscaping Photography Shoot

Chad Diller

Just as photography has the potential for a positive reaction, it also carries the tremendous capacity to leave a very bad taste in your mouth. As our friends at Greenbelt Outdoor Services in this week’s Green Ways comic are realizing, what they expected is not what they got. It’s like when a cook substitutes, miscalculates or completely omits an ingredient. Yuck!

The old saying of, “A picture’s worth a thousand words”, definitely holds true. If you’ve been following our content for some time, you’ve heard us advocating for the value of professional photography for marketing landscaping, lawn care, and tree services.

But your picture’s “thousand words” are going to come across as  bitter, dry, flat chocolate cake if you leave out the necessary ingredients or don’t execute them in a specific manner.

Read More

Positioning and the Fear of Missing Out

Chris Heiler

Positioning is an exercise in exclusion.1

And this can be scary.

I find most of you understand the reasoning behind a thoughtful positioning strategy for your business; you even recognize and admire other companies who have sound positioning of their own.

Yet, you rationalize away a more narrow positioning for your own company.

You won’t commit.

Until recently I’ve believed it to be a fear of commitment that separates Just Another Landscaper from the well-positioned companies.

Digging deeper, I now believe it is really a fear of missing out (FOMO).

I don’t want to box myself in,” a client shared with me recently.

Translation: Limiting who he chooses to work with and what he offers will thus limit his ability to grow his business.

This is a myth.

Read More

A 5-Point Checklist for More Effectively Qualifying Prospects (BANT+P)

Chris Heiler

This comic makes me cringe. Being a landscape designer in the past, I know Ted’s pain well; as I’m sure you do.

You and your sales people shouldn’t have to waste so much time pursuing bad fit prospects or those who ultimately won’t do business with you.

I know this is a huge frustration for many of you. But it doesn’t have to be.

To avoid this you will need to implement a framework your entire team can use to effectively qualify new leads that come in the door.

With formal guidelines in place you can then train staff and hold them accountable to your qualifying standards.

If qualifying is left solely to the discretion of your sales people you’ll end up with handfuls of bad fit clients and frustrated team members.

I’ve seen first hand how this plays out. On one extreme you may have a rainmaker – usually the owner of the company – who will chase anything and everything. The other extreme is where the Design Diva resides, who is only interested in the unique projects that appeal to him/her and his/her overblown ego.

Qualify prospects using the BANT(+P) framework

Read More

How to Bundle Your Landscape Design Services (Including Real Examples)

Chris Heiler

In the previous article I discussed common ways landscaping companies and professional landscape designers charge for landscape design:

  • Freebie, foot-in-the-door offer
  • Small lump-sum fee (ex- $500)
  • Cost-based pricing (time x hourly rate)

Then I proposed the creative way I would price landscape design services if I still had my design firm today:

Price each client and project uniquely by offering three options and prices to choose from.

Read More

How to Charge for Landscape Design to Win More Business and Make More Money

Chris Heiler

If you missed the previous article about whether or not to charge landscape consultation fees, I recommend you go back and read it.

Here’s a response to that article from a subscriber:

"What a great article on consultation fees! We’ve been using this strategy for two years. Not only does it do everything you stated in the article, charging a fee has opened up hundreds of hours per year of new time to work on my company as opposed to meeting with potential clients that have absolutely no intention of buying our services. Our close ratio went from 40% to 80% almost instantly when we implemented this strategy." ~ Carson Browning, ITM Landscapes

I love getting feedback like this from readers. Keep your comments coming.

Now, let’s talk about charging a fee for your landscape design expertise.

Read More

Why and How to Address Cost of Services on Your Website

Chad Diller

If I gave you three guesses of what activity occupies the most time on my 13-year-old son’s smartphone, I’d be willing to bet that you wouldn’t be able to even nail it with three tries. It’s not games nor social media. It’s researching prices on Amazon, Craigslist, and Google.

Even if we drive to a physical store, my boy knows what the item costs elsewhere and where he could even get an upgraded version of it for a smarter purchase. In fact, it’s probable that we won’t even leave the store with the said item in-hand, and it will be ordered online before we even walk out the door. It happens all of the time.

He’s the personification of the modern, educated consumer. Guess what...he’s going to be your customer in the years to come.

Read More