It takes more time, energy, and marketing dollars to find a new customer than to sell more work to an existing customer who is already sold on how great your landscaping, lawn care, or tree care services are. But yet, winning new customers is what seems to get a ton of attention when green industry companies empty their marketing wallet.
While it is true that your business needs to keep aggressively pursuing new customers, it’s just as important to make sure you’re not missing easy cross-selling opportunities with your existing customers.
How many times have you been on a customer’s property only to hear, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you did that kind of work, so I called XYZ company.”? You walk back to your truck, scratching your head and muttering about how you missed an opportunity for an easy cross-selling opportunity, and now there’s a darn competitor in the mix doing work on YOUR customer’s property!
The sad reality is that customers frequently don’t remember all of the types of work you perform, even if you tell them multiple times.
Just because you gave them a brochure on your tree care services when you originally signed them for lawn care, doesn’t mean they have it on their fridge. Just because you gave them an estimate on mulching 3 years ago, doesn’t mean they’ll remember you next spring when they need a price.
How do you teach them about your service capabilities, and how do you make them remember you when it comes time when they are finally interested?
5 Effective Cross-Selling Strategies for Landscapers, Lawn Care Providers & Tree Services
Even if you’re killing it on the Inbound Marketing front, there are still a lot of outbound tactics that are still great to use on your customers for cross-selling services.
What cross-selling strategies actually work for green industry companies? Here’s a few that I’ve actually seen work firsthand as an in-house marketing person at a full-service lawn, tree and landscape company, and by also paying attention to some industry leaders:
1. Including Promotional Materials in Normal Correspondence
You leave bills on doors, send invoices, mail renewal letters, send pre-pay offers, and fire out quarterly newsletters. If done subtly, this is a great opportunity to create awareness for your other services or share current promotions.
Some printing software allows for these promotional messages to be easily inserted right on invoices and statements, or you can hire a local printing company to print a bunch of stuffers for you.
Here’s a few tips on printed materials:
- If you plan to use them multiple years, watch the expiration dates. Sometimes you can make a piece that is easily repeated, or you can just print fresh each year.
- Go full color, go 2-sided, and print a ton of them! It’s not much more to print on both sides, in 4-color process, or shoot off a few more thousand with today’s digital printers.
- Hire a graphic designer. Seriously, pay a little money for a nice piece instead of making it look like you whipped it out of MS Word and on your office copier. If you design the shell, you can swap out details on individual promos for a low price.
- Give pricing if you can. If there’s anyway you can give a price for THEIR property, do it. People often don’t want to call for a price, but if they think it’s affordable, they’ll call you.
- Have an offer worth talking about. Is “10% off” good enough anymore? Maybe mix it up with dollar amounts to entice them, like “$150 off!”, etc.
2. Team Lead Programs
Finding addtional sales could be as easy as just ringing your customer's doorbell after their service is completed. Your salesperson may have only visited the property once or a fraction of the amount of time as your production workers spend there. Customers begin to trust people who get their hands dirty and spend a lot of time on their property. If a technician recommends an additional service, customers are more likely to be receptive because they assume their technician or crew leader isn’t being paid commission (shhh-you don’t have to tell them if they get a bonus).
Is it worth your team’s while to find new business opportunities? Do they ONLY get paid if your sales team follows through and can close the deal? Get them some cold, hard cash when they find legitimate sales opportunities.
Make sure your sales team treats these cross-selling leads like gold! Nothing will take the wind out of a production worker’s sails quicker, than a bonafide opportunity that a salesperson blows off. Why keep looking for leads if that happens?
3. Email Marketing
Of course you don’t want to overdo it, but if you set the expectation right from the beginning of the customer relationship, they will actually enjoy your emails. While you may get away with a couple selfish promotions each year, make sure your email tone is helpful for the customer as much as possible.
Here are some email tips:
- Start sending a monthly or quarterly campaign.
- Create a great subject line so it gets opened.
- Have your email start with a very brief, and FUN paragraph.
- Use bullet points and white space. If it looks long, they won’t read it.
- Make sure there are thumbnail images.
- Give teasers to a full article that you’ve written on the topic with a “Read more….” tag that links to the article. An added bonus is that will get them onto your website where they can read in-depth articles, peruse services and galleries, and more.
Segment your database and personalize your emails. I can’t say enough about how extremely critical this is. There are tools out there that can do this. We love HubSpot’s email and list tools for this.
Imagine sending an email to only your customers that paid good money for tree pruning last year, but don’t have a plant health care program. The email has their first name in it and other specific information magically inserted as if you wrote each email by hand (but you didn’t because your email marketing platform rocks). The email has a catchy subject line, the copy is short and to the point, images are great, and there are noticeable links for them to learn more.
Even if they don’t click they’ll still see your subject line is about plant health care, and see the main headings of your email.
4. Soft-Sell Telemarketing
I’ll admit, there’s not many things that irritate me more than telemarketers. However, if you execute a calling campaign to your customer base in the right manner, it can be a huge source of cross-selling opportunities for your sales team.
Here are some tips on telemarketing:
- Don’t call a customer more than once every 2 months. Figure out a system to make sure this happens correctly or customers will hate you.
- Make 80% of your call just about thanking them about trusting you with their property, and suggest the additional services as an afterthought. A good telemarketer can sound authentic when they do this.
- Offer discounts or incentives that are ONLY for existing customers and let them know that right away.
- Always think of the customer’s benefit when you write your script.
- If they don’t want a consultation or whatever you’re offering, go heavy on the appreciation. The call is all about making them feel valued even if they don’t want to buy more.
- If they don’t like you calling, make sure you have a way to extract them from further calling campaigns of this nature.
5. Proactive Property Visits
One way to show legitimate concern for your customer is to actually go to their property and give them something for free without them even asking. Have your salespeople or production workers go to the property for a complimentary inspection.
Even if your customer doesn’t want your lawn care services, they may appreciate you pointing out to them that they have nutsedge in their lawn. Even if they planned on pruning their landscape themselves, doesn’t mean they’ll be offended just because you pointed out a Red Twig Dogwood that needed some old canes cut out of it.
Just make sure the proactive visits stay original. Don’t do the same routine every year. Make the subject nature different, schedule them for a different season, and change it up. Be sure the point seems more like some helpful tips than a selfish promotion.
Cross-Selling Has Multiple Benefits
Cross-selling strategies like these, when executed properly, will provide multiple times throughout the year that you can give and get valuable feedback with your customers. It will not only lead to more sales revenue, but can generate referral opportunities, save lawns and plants, and show your customers that they still remain important to you, well beyond getting them to sign and to send you regular payments.
What cross-selling strategies have worked for your lawn care, tree care or landscaping company? Feel free to share them with us on social media or email us your pro tips. We may even add them to this article!
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