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How to get 100 new clients in 90 days

How to Get Your Next 100 Landscaping Clients in 90 Days

Who this article is for:

Entrepreneurs that want to rapidly grow their landscaping business (newby friendly).

What you’ll learn:

  1. How to get your next 100 landscaping clients in 90 days
  2. How to build a system to grow your businesses
  3. How to charge more than your competitors

Entrepreneurs that want to rapidly grow their landscaping business (newby friendly).

Introduction

In this article, I’m going to show you exactly how to get your first/next 100 clients AND charge more than your competition.

At the end of this, you’ll create a system that you can repeat and build upon to grow your business beyond getting your next 100 clients.

There are four stages in the system. Each stage has multiple steps and each stage builds a foundation for the next.

Stage 1: The Winning Mindset (your true competitive advantage)

Stage 2: Research (the most important step that your competitors skip)

Stage 3: Sales Pitch (win customers with the right message)

Stage 4: Prospect and Sell

You’ll need two things to be successful in this system:

  1. Invest your time
  2. Invest some money (we’ll try to keep this as low as possible)

So let’s start building a system to grow your business.

Stage 1: The Winning Mindset

You’re probably thinking “what does mindset has to do with getting your first/next 100 clients?”

The short answer: everything!

Let me explain…

Your competition may have more money, more experience, more clients, more employees, and better equipment. What’s the one thing they cannot have more than you no matter how hard they tried? Time. More precisely, 24 hours a day. Why’s this important?

Time is the greatest equalizer. You have just as much time in a day as anyone else. No more. No less. How you spend that time is going to determine how successful you are.

There are four core areas in this system where you’ll invest your time with focus and discipline:

  1. Marketing
  2. Sales & Prospecting
  3. Performing Services
  4. Learning

With the right mindset, you’ll have time to do all of these things well. Without the right mindset, you’ll find yourself making excuses about not having time to do what needs to be done.

The truth is that your mind is your biggest enemy because it’s filled with fear, doubt, anxiety.

Fear, doubt, and anxiety are amplified when your self-image (how you see yourself) is poor. To complicate things more, your social-image (how others see you) influences your decisions which holds you back from taking risks, putting yourself out there, and discovering what is truly possible.

With poor self-image and high sensitivity to social-image, your mind is in a constant state of chaos. You dream of doing great things and having an uber-successful landscaping business but your mind is in the way of making that dream a reality.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even world-class athletes let their mind get in the way of their success. That’s why they hire sports psychologists to help them develop a winning mindset.

You don’t have to hire psychologists to have a successful business. What you do need is to understand the state of your self-image and the influence your social-image has on your decision-making process.

Step 1: Understand Your Present State of Mind

Time to Complete: 8 days

Time Investment: ~60 hours

Money Investment: ~$60

The first step is figuring out the state of your mindset today – a deep look into how you see yourself. The process can be painful. You’re looking under all the shields your mind has erected to protect yourself from negative feelings and emotions that come from analyzing the choices you’ve made to date.

Your instinct is going to be to avoid going through this step because you’re scrutinizing how you see yourself, your thought process, and uncover your fears.

Fortunately, there’s has been a lot of research in understanding your mind with extraordinary resources to guide you along the way.

Day 1-3:

Read or listen to Psycho-Cybernetics

Kindle version: $13.99

Audiobook: $22.05 or 1 credit

Paperback: $13.99

Prices updated: 04/08/2019

Cybernetics (loosely translated from the Greek): “a helmsman who steers his ship to port.” Psycho-Cybernetics is a term coined by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, which means, “steering your mind to a productive, useful goal so you can reach the greatest port in the world, peace of mind.”

Since its first publication in 1960, Maltz’s landmark bestseller has inspired and enhanced the lives of more than 30 million readers. In this updated edition, with a new introduction and editorial commentary by Matt Furey, president of the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, the original text has been annotated and amplified to make Maltz’s message even more relevant for the contemporary reader.

“Before the mind can work efficiently, we must develop our perception of the outcomes we expect to reach. Maxwell Maltz calls this Psycho-Cybernetics; when the mind has a defined target it can focus and direct and refocus and redirect until it reaches its intended goal.” —Tony Robbins (from Unlimited Power)

Maltz was the first researcher and author to explain how the self-image (a term he popularized) has complete control over an individual’s ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) any goal. And he developed techniques for improving and managing self-image—visualization, mental rehearsal, relaxation—which have informed and inspired countless motivational gurus, sports psychologists, and self-help practitioners for more than fifty years.

The teachings of Psycho-Cybernetics are timeless because they are based on solid science and provide a prescription for thinking and acting that lead to quantifiable results.

Day 4 - 5

Read or listen to The Biology of Belief

Kindle version: $9.99

Audiobook: $14.95 or 1 credit

Paperback: $14.42

Prices updated: 04/08/2019

The Biology of Belief is a groundbreaking work in the field of new biology. Former medical school professor and research scientist Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., presents his experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, which examine in great detail the mechanisms by which cells receive and process information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life, showing that genes and DNA do not control our biology; instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. This profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics has been hailed as a major breakthrough, showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.

Day 6-8

Read or listen to 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Kindle version: $13.99

Audiobook: $15.57 or 1 credit

Paperback: $14.94

Prices updated: 04/08/2019

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.

Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life. 12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith and human nature, while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its readers.

Step 2: Set Your Goals

Time to Complete: 5 days

Time Investment: ~20 hours

Money Investment: ~$30

Day 9

Know Your Why

When the why is strong, the how is easy

Why are you in the landscaping business?

The most common and obvious answer is making money. Even if it’s just about making money, let’s dig deeper. There are 7 stages of money: 

Stage 1: Dependence – Your lifestyle depends on others for support.

Stage 2: Solvency – You can meet your financial obligations without any help

Stage 3: Stability – You no longer have consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans)

Stage 4: Agency – You have the financial freedom to live and work as you choose.

Stage 5: Security – Your investment income covers your basic needs.

Stage 6: Independence – Your investment income supports your current standard of living.

Stage 7: Abundance – You have enough and then some.

What financial stage are you at today?

What stage do you want to get to?

Before you answer the last question, you’ll want to take some time thinking about and visualizing what abundance looks like for you. It has to be meaningful and realistic because otherwise, you won’t have the burning desire to go for it.

The secret is to aim high – ideally, stage 7. What freedoms will you enjoy once you’re there?  

Also, think about the wrong reasons to make money. These will generally bring misery and despair:

  1. To work yourself into illness just for the sake of having a lot of money but not doing anything meaningful to help yourself or others.
  2. To impress other people.
  3. To have power or the illusion of power.
  4. To buy more stuff.

The freedoms and options abundance brings can be good, bad or usually a mixture of the two. Here are some questions to ask yourself to think through what success looks like for you:

  1. Will you be surrounded by the right people who don’t take advantage of your success at your expense?
  2. Will you have the mental capacity to handle abundance without giving into dangerous vices?
  3. What kind of person will you be if had abundance?

I’ve given you a lot to think about here. This is an important step. Take your time to think about why you really want to build an empire.

Once you know your ‘why’, the next natural step is to figure out how you’re going to get there? This is where you’re going to set your goals.

Day 10 - 12

Complete The Self Authoring Exercise

Dr. Jordan Peterson explains what the Self Authoring Program is, who it’s for and what to expect.

Cost: $29.90

Become more productive, persistent and engaged in life by understanding where you came from, who you are and where you are going.

Day 13

Set Your Goals

Now that you know where you’re going with your ‘why’ – it’s time to lay out the steps about how to get there. Your energy after this step will be focused and you’ll do things with a sense of purpose.

Your motivation will go up and down and some days you’ll feel like quitting because of things like self-doubt, negativity from the people around you, or maybe you’ve just hit a wall where things are moving slow. Whatever the case, you’ve got a push through it and these four things will help you do just that.

1: Know Your Hell

2: Know Your Heaven

3: Make it a Game

4: Track and Share with Others

Dr. Jordan Peterson, a Clinical Psychologist and a Professor at the University of Toronto, shows exactly how to set your goals. His approach is simple, well researched and effective.

Step 3: Write Down Your Goals

A study by American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) on accountability found that you have a 65% likelihood of accomplishing a goal if you commit to someone. That number shoots up to 95% if you schedule regular appointments with the person holding you accountable to review your successes and failures.

Share your goals with people in your life. Maybe it’s your family or friends. If that’s not an option, find local meetup groups and make new friends. You can also search for groups on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Slack to connect with people who are on a similar journey.

Watch this excellent video to learn about how easy success and failure truly is:

Mindset: Part 2

In the previous step, you set goals. You know where you stand today and where you’re going to go. To help you get there faster, I’m going to talk about four things you’ll want to incorporate into your mindset:

  1. Random vs Process
  2. Set High Standards
  3. Commitment to Learning
  4. Scaling

Random vs Process

Random is when you do things without a plan or process. The upside to random is that every day is an adventure. The downside is that your growth is painfully slow.

Random, in my opinion, is the number one reason why most entrepreneurs and businesses fail. Their time is wasted on things that seem important in the moment but in reality, they didn’t accomplish much.

A process, on the other hand, is systematic, deliberate, and measurable. You can think of a process as a step-by-step road-map to accomplish a goal. Another way to think about a process is to think about an engine with all the different parts performing their function. Each key part of the engine is performing the same task over and again with precision to make the engine work. You can measure the performance of each part and replace it or upgrade as needed.

The goal with a process is to break things down into small steps that get done the same way every time. This allows you to delegate and measure success for each step in the process.

Because you can measure results, you eliminate guesswork. You know exactly what’s working and what’s not – giving you the ability to prioritize where you need to focus your energy.

With a process, you can delegate things that have a low return on the time you invest so that you can focus on things that have a high return on investment of your time.

For example, administrative tasks such as billing and data entry need to be done but not by you. Instead, your time is better spent on sales, marketing, forming strategic alliances, and learning.

I’ll cover the random vs process in more detail in another article. For now, understand that a process is to be doing things with a plan and purpose – not guesswork.

Set High Standards

Taking pride in your work shows in the results you deliver. If you see landscaping as just a job and don’t absolutely love what you do – quit now. Seriously. Find something else that you love and take pride in.

Taking pride in your work means setting high standards for your work. These standards apply to you and those that work for you. If you allow yourself or others to get away with mediocre work – you’re in the wrong business. Your customers are going to be pissed and you know where that road leads.

Holding others accountable is hard. You don’t want to hurt their feelings or fear they might leave. The truth is that you’re actually hurting the other person by not being truthful. They won’t see their blind spots and continue to be mediocre which will hurt them in the long run because they’ll never grow.

The main takeaway here is to deliver spectacular results for your clients. You’ll be able to charge a premium for quality work – which we’ll cover later in this article.

Bonus: Watch Kitchen Nightmares, a show by Chef Gordon Ramsey where he turns around failing restaurants. Pay special attention to the before and after mindsets and standards of the owners, chefs, and staff.

Commitment to Learning

Learning new skills and gaining more knowledge about lawn care, lawn maintenance, and landscaping will help you be in the top tier of landscaping professionals. Being in the top 5% means that your services will always be in demand. You can charge more and take on bigger projects because you know your stuff.

Being in the top 1% will help you achieve your financial goals. You can offer clients results that your competitors don’t have the skill or knowledge to deliver. You can speak with confidence about every aspect of landscaping and you’ll be seen as an authority figure in the landscaping world.

To get there, you’ll have to make a commitment to learning week in and week out. There are a number of ways you can learn:

  • Read books
  • Take courses
  • Attend seminars

Recommended book: The Lifetime Learner’s Guide to Reading and Learning by Gary Hoover

An easy way to make a commitment to learning is by setting aside one day out of the week where you make time to learn. For some, that may just be an hour every Friday. For the ambitious soul, it may be 10 hours or more every week.

A good place to start is understanding every aspect of lawn care and lawn maintenance. After that you know the fundamentals, learn about fixing irrigation problems, designing hardscapes and landscapes.

Apply what you learn by teaching your customers and give them ideas about how to elevate their yards. You’ll be surprised by how responsive people are and how much they’re willing to pay to help you execute your ideas because they don’t have the time, desire or skill to do it themselves.

Scaling

To get to stage seven in the seven stages of money, you have to scale. This is no easy feat. You’ll need to overcome time constraints, resource constraints (people, money, equipment), and find innovative ways to deliver products and services without sacrificing quality.

Scaling is a dense topic that we’ll cover more in a future article. The main takeaway here is that you train your mind to think about ways you can deliver your products and services to thousands or tens of thousands of people and beyond.

Mindset Resources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V52RLZFGHUM – Jordan Peterson – Responsibility and Meaning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qy2vist-XQ — Time Management: Getting the Most Out of Every Minute

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO6lvhUFLJY — From Failing Student to Rocket Scientist – The Motivational Video that Will Change Your Life

Stage 2: Research

There are 3 types of market research you want to do:

  1. Customer Research
  2. Competitor Research
  3. Market Research

Customer Research

What do your customers really want?

How much are they willing to pay it?

These are two fundamental questions you want to answer and you have two options to get the answers:

  1. Assume you know what customers want like most of your competitors.
  2. Ask potential customers and figure out what they really want.

The problem with the first option is that your assumptions are likely wrong. What’s worse is that when you choose the first option, you’re going to be set in your ways.

It’s easy to go into a state of denial where you think your assumptions and way of doing things is correct even though you don’t have the revenue and customer growth to back it up. If you watched any of the Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you’ll know that snapping out of denial takes a miracle or Gordon Ramsey verbally smacking you upside the head.

But, you’re not going to go the assumption route. Instead, you’re going to ask potential customers what they want.

Step 1: Collect Feedback from Prospective Customers

You want to ask these five questions to about 20 prospects (these cannot be your existing customers):

  1. What’s your biggest challenge with your yard?
  2. What methods have you tried to overcome this challenge?
  3. What’s your #1 frustration with these methods?
  4. What’s your biggest goal with your yard?
  5. What’s your biggest fear with your yard?

You want to talk to about 20 people to see patterns. There are a number of ways to talk to your prospects.

  1. Connect with people in your area on social media and ask them these questions in exchange for a small incentive for their time. A $5 gift card will be fine.
  2. Call. Yes, call. Pick up the phone and call prospects and ask them.
  3. Visit prospects in neighborhoods you already have customers and ask them to answer these questions in exchange for a $5 gift card.

Pro tip: record the conversation (with the prospect’s permission) if you talk to people in person or over the phone.

Step 2: Analyze The Results

It’s time to analyze the results. Break this step up into two sessions. Review half of the results and look for patterns. Read between the lines and think about what people are really saying. Take some time off and come back to review the other half.

It’s important to break this up into two sessions so that you have a clear and focused mind to not let any assumptions cloud your judgement.

Step 3: Create Pricing Plans to Test

Now you want to answer the second question: how much are customers willing to pay?

So how do you go about finding out how much customers are willing to pay for your services?

Test. Yep. You’re going to test different pricing points.

In the previous steps, you learned what your customers want. Take that information and create three plans.

The first plan is going to offer your core services (e.g. mowing, clean up, etc.). It’s going to be the least expensive of the three but not by much compared to the second one.

The second plan is the one that delivers the results that your prospects want. This is the plan you want people to choose. It goes beyond your core services and delivers a promise like a  green lush lawn. How you package your services to accomplish this is up to you.

The third plan is the one that offers all of the bells and whistles. You’re going to go above and beyond to offer an experience and services where the customer doesn’t have to think about anything but to write a big check every month. Naturally, this is going to be your highest priced plan.

How you price your plans is up to you. You’re focusing on delivering results so price accordingly and test if the market is willing to pay a premium. Ideally, you want your first two plans to be in the same ballpark (e.g. $150 and $175) while your premium plan is much higher (e.g. $300).

Step 4: Test Pricing

The best way to test your pricing and plans is to see how many people will buy from you. Go and try to sell your plans to at least 50 prospects. You want to do this quick and cheap. This calls for a low-tech solution:

  1. Create a simple flyer (you’re just testing a concept so don’t go overboard with design)
  2. Go door to door and hand deliver each flyer. Try to talk to prospects to see if they’ll buy.
  3. Repeat until you talk to at least 50 prospects.

You cannot get better validation than people buying from you. If they don’t, you’ll still learn a lot. Was it your pricing? Was it something else? Take the time to analyze feedback.

If you get three or more customers after talking to 50 people – you’re on the right track.

If you don’t get at least two customers, incorporate what you learned from talking to 50 people and create a new pricing plan. Repeat the same process about pitching your services to another 50 people.

Step 5: Talk to Existing Customers

So far you have talked to at least 70 people, the 50 you tried to sell to and the 20 you interviewed in step one. In this step, talk to your existing customers to gain further insights.

Existing customers can tell you a lot about why they chose you and not your competitors. Get someone to interview 5 – 10 customers that hired you in the last six months. You cannot do the interview yourself because your customers won’t tell you the whole truth.

Offer a small incentive to ask the following questions:

  1. What can you tell us about yourself?
    1. Look for common traits.
  2. What are you using landscaping services for?
    1. Find out what their goal is for getting landscaping services.
  3. How has your life improved or changed since getting landscaping services?
  4. How did you find your landscaper?
    1. Look for common trends.
  5. Did you consider other alternatives?
    1. Learn about their decision-making process.
  6. What doubts and hesitations did you have prior to hiring your landscaper?
    1. Identify the main sources of pain/friction.
  7. What is the one thing that nearly stopped you from hiring your landscaper?
  8. What questions did you have but was unable to find when looking for a landscaper?
  9. What was your biggest challenge, frustration, or problem in finding the right landscaper?
  10. What are some of the services that you wish your landscaper offered?
  11. Is there anything else you can tell us?

Now that you’ve talked to both prospects and existing customers, it’s time to focus on your competitors.

Competitor Research

You want to answer the following questions with competitor research:

  1. What services do they offer?
  2. What are their strengths?
  3. What are their weaknesses?
  4. How much do they charge?
  5. What kinds of customers do they serve?
  6. What are their customers saying about them?
  7. Why did their customers choose them?

Step 1:

Create a simple spreadsheet with a column for each question.

Company

Services

Strengths

Weaknesses

Pricing

Clientele

Customer Rating

Why

Do a Google search for landscapers in the areas you serve. Write the name of each company in the spreadsheet in the company column. Not all landscapers will be listed so check local classified websites like Craigslist.

Step 2:

Call each company pretending to be an interested prospect. Ask about their services, pricing, service areas, references, availability, and why they think they’re better than the competition. Record your findings in the spreadsheet.

Step 3:

Do a Google search for each company and read their customer reviews on every website they are listed on (e.g. Google Local Business, Facebook, Angieslist). Record the positive as strengths and the negative as weaknesses. Also record the overall rating. Look for reasons why customers chose each company.

Step 4:

Pay a friend to get in-person quotes from your top competitors. Have your friend observe their appearance, attitude, vehicle, and equipment. Also, have your friend ask each landscaper how they will make your friend’s lawn lush and green.

Step 5:

Finally, find some customers that your top competitors serve and interview them using the same questions you used for your customers. Remember to offer a small incentive for their time like a $5 gift card.

Step 6:

Once you have all of the data in the spreadsheet, look for the following:

  1. Market gaps – demands that customers have but not met by your competitors.
  2. Strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and also your own.
  3. Ways you can capitalize on the weaknesses of your competitors.

Market Research

The last piece of the research puzzle is market research. Here are the main questions you want to answer:

  1. How big is your market?
  2. Who are the main influencers that don’t directly compete against you?
  3. What are the opportunities and threats?
  4. What are the trends? (past and future)

Step 1:

How many total potential customers are there in your service area?

To answer this question, head on over to the USPS Every Door Direct Mail website and use the Route Mapping tool: https://eddm.usps.com/eddm/customer/routeSearch.action

The Route Mapping tool shows you how many homes and businesses are located in a zip code. It also shows you demographic data such as age and income.

You’ll want to use a spreadsheet to record the data for each zip code you serve. You may need to hover your mouse over all of the areas in the zip code that may not be selected by default.

Once you go through all of the zip codes, tally the number of residential and business customers to see the number of potential customers in your area.

The goal here to get an idea of how big your local market is and how much of it is dominated by competitors.

Step 2:

Make a list of all of the people that can refer you business but don’t directly compete against you.

You want to actively network with people who have influence over your ideal customers.

Look for people and companies that provide services to the same customers you want to serve like:

  • Property management companies
  • Realtors
  • Tax preparation companies
  • Home inspectors
  • Pest control companies
  • Insurance agents
  • Loan officers
  • Handymen
  • Contractors & construction companies

Step 3:

Identify barriers and threats

Make a list of the roadblocks that prevent you from doing business or expanding like:

  • Local laws and regulations
  • State and Federal laws and regulations
  • HOA restrictions

The main culprits are going to be things like watering restrictions, licensing, permits, special education, etc.

Once you’ve identified the roadblocks, make a list of steps you need to complete to overcome each challenge.

Stage 3: Craft Your Sales Pitch

Your sales pitch is going to be the messaging you use to describe what you do to your potential customers.

Most of your competitors will talk about the services they provide (e.g. mowing, edging, pruning, etc.). You want to differentiate yourself by delivering the results that people really want.

Your hard work from stage one and stage two will pay dividends here. You know what people want. You have an idea about what they’re willing to pay. You know who your competitors are. You know their strengths and weaknesses. You know your own strengths and weaknesses. You know what you want. Now you’re going to go out and get it.

Crafting your pitch is about implanting an idea in your prospects head about what you can do for them. The words you use have to be simple and precise. The value you provide must be clear and so must what separates you from your competitors.

Your messaging is going to evolve over time – especially if you continually do research to get to the heart of what people want. Trends, styles, and wants will change and so must your messaging.

Here’s a process you can use to create, test and refine your messaging:

Step 1:

Make a list of the results your customers want. You may serve different types of customers so make a list for each. For example, residential customers may want a lush green lawn.

Step 2:

Make a list of why your customers want the results they want. Think about factors like pride, status, and convenience.

Step 3:

Make a list of all of the things that differentiates you from your competitors.

Categories to consider:

  • Quality
  • Service
  • Convenience (scheduling, billing, payment options, etc)
  • Equipment
  • Service area
  • Specialized service (something you provide that others don’t)
  • Expertise (knowledge, skill level, training/education)
  • Recognition (awards, customer testimonials, case studies)

Step 4:

Make a list of things that you can help people avoid by hiring you.

Categories to consider:

  • Loss (time, money, status)

Frustration (competitors doing mediocre half-assed work)

Step 5:

Make a list of things that people don’t know but should know about maintaining a yard.

Categories to consider:

  • Watering and irrigation systems
  • Types of grass, plants, weeds, vegetation
  • Impact of insects and pests
  • Impact of fertilizers and chemicals
  • Techniques to promote healthy lawn

Step 6:

Now it’s time to put it altogether in simple words. There are a number of ways to craft your pitch and you may have multiple versions depending on the medium (i.e. flyer, website) you use to communicate your message.

Start by answering the following questions from the lists you completed in the previous five steps:

  1. What does the customer get by hiring you?
  2. What does the customer avoid by hiring you?
  3. How are you different from the competition?
  4. How will you deliver the results?
  5. How will the customer feel by hiring you?

These questions are going to be the foundation of your pitch.

For your pitch to resonate with your prospects, remember this golden rule:

Make your customer the hero – not you.

As tempted as you may be to talk about your services – don’t.

Without getting too sciency – just know that the brain is extremely self-centered. If you talk about yourself – your customers will tune you out. But if you talk about them first, you’ll have a shot at getting your message through to them.

So always talk about what your customer gets out of working with you first.

Example pitch (residential):

Get a lush, green and healthy lawn without harmful chemicals.

When you want an immaculate yard that you can be proud of year round, we provide a full range of landscaping services to look after your lawn with attention and care.

Rest assured your yard is well cared for using the best equipment and timely service that includes:

    • Weekly maintenance (mowing, hedging, trimming)
    • Quarterly soil testing to provide the nutrients that your lawn needs
    • Proper watering (includes fixing and replacing sprinklers and driplines)
    • Seasonal organic fertilizer and aeration
    • Weed and pest control

You’ll get a yard that your family enjoys and is the envy of your neighborhood.  

The example pitch focuses on results, quality, and how it’ll make a person feel. It doesn’t talk about having the lowest prices. That’s because competing solely on prices in a race to the bottom.

You cannot provide the highest quality of service and charge the lowest prices. People will demand too much of you and not pay what you’re worth if you go that route. You’ll quickly get burnt out and lose passion for what you do.

If you focus on quality, you can charge more and provide better service. There’s a market for people who appreciate quality and will pay a premium. Those are the customers that make your effort and your work rewarding. Go after those customers.

Stage 4: Prospect & Sell

All the work you’ve done up to this point has been leading up to this: Go Sell.

So let’s get right to it.

You’re going to sell to two different types of people:

  1. Influencers (people that can refer you customers)
  2. Direct customers (i.e. residential customers, business customers)

We’re going to keep things simple and focus on getting you 100 new clients in 90 days. That’s why we’re going to take a direct approach to letting your prospects know that you exist. That means we will not delve much into your online presence (i.e. website, social media) because that’s for the long game – a dense topic we’ll cover in future articles.

Step 1:

Create a flyer for the influencers with the following information:

  1. Show how they benefit for referring you (e.g. referral incentive)
  2. Show how their customer benefits (use your pitch from stage 3 here tailored for a flyer)
  3. Show proof of your claims (e.g. customer testimonials, before and after pictures of your work)
  4. Your Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) (use 3-5 relevant USPs you created in stage 2)
  5. Your contact information

You want to hand deliver the flyer to each influencer so that you can meet them in person. Go visit their office and let them know that you’re there to introduce yourself.

Here are some tips to make a good first impression:

  1. Do some homework about the person you’re going to meet.
    1. Visit their website
    2. Drive by their office
    3. Visit their social media pages (e.g. Facebook)
  2. Present a professional image.
    1. Dress well – not in a suit but at least nice jeans and a dress shirt (tucked in).
    2. Be well groomed
    3. Smile and look confident – apply what you learned in 12 Rules for Life in stage 1
  3. Take candy and a candy holder that you can leave in their reception area.
    1. Replenish the candy every week – it also gives you an excuse to drop in and say hello to build that friendship.
  4. Mail a handwritten thank-you note after you meet them thanking them for taking their time to meet you.
  5. Connect with them on social media.
    1. Leave meaningful comments on their social media posts that add to the conversation (no spam or self promotion, ever.)
    2. Leave meaningful comments on their blog articles that add to the conversation (no spam or self promotion, ever.)

Step 2:

Create a flyer for your prospective customers. Ideally, you want to create a separate flyer for each type of customer (i.e. residential, business, etc).

Here’s what to include in the flyer:

  1. Clearly state what you do
  2. What the customer gets
  3. Why you’re different than the competition
  4. Why people should trust you
  5. Risk free or low risk offer to try your services

You have everything you need to answer the first three questions from your pitch.

You can answer why people should trust you in a few different ways:

  1. Customer testimonials
  2. Case studies (e.g. before and after pictures)
  3. Awards/recognition for your work
  4. Online customer ratings (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.)
  5. Endorsement from a famous client or person in your community that people love

The marketing lingo for showing why people should trust you is called ‘social proof’. The secret to using social proof is that it has to be specific, relevant and concise. No one is going to read a long boring testimonial. Similarly, no one is going to trust a vague or irrelevant testimonial that talks about something other than the service you’re offering.

Think of testimonials as third party validation for a specific claim you make. For example, if you say that you’ll create a lush green lawn – get a testimonial that says you did exactly that.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have any social proof, use a friend or relative as a guinea pig to create your first case study. Offer to make their yard look awesome for free or very little cost in exchange for a testimonial and before/after pictures to showcase your work.

For the risk free or low risk offer, take away the risk for a customer to try your service. Here are some ways to reduce/remove risk:

  1. Offer first mowing service for free
  2. Offer a ‘x’ days money back guarantee (e.g. 30 day 100% satisfaction guarantee)

Don’t worry about offering a free trial thinking people will abuse it. The truth is that a very few will. Consider it the cost of doing business. You’ll find most of your customers will return the favor of a free trial by hiring you.

If you need help with design, try freelance websites like Upwork.com or Fiverr.com. For best results, write clear step-by-step instructions about what you want. Try to provide your own high quality pictures instead of using stock images.

If you subscribe to our list, we’ll send you pre-made templates that you can modify to save you time and money.

Step 3:

Print 500 flyers for your prospective customers. Go door to door to hand deliver these and keep an eye out on all of the lawns. Think about different ways you can improve their condition.

Wait three days to see what type of response you get. Repeat steps two and three until you reach 100 clients. It’s okay to go back to the same neighborhoods after a few weeks. Good messaging and persistence pays.

Bonus Tips:

  1. Create a Google My Business profile. Ask your customers to leave a review. This will help you get found when people search for a landscaper in your area.
  2. Take pictures of the ‘before’ state when you sign on a new client. Take new pictures every two weeks or every month to showcase the impact of your work. Post these on your Google My Business page. If you have social media accounts like Facebook, post the pictures there as well.
  3. A website with the right messaging, offer, and social proof will help your business in the long run. A website that isn’t relevant and doesn’t resonate with your target audience can hurt your business as well. Don’t rush to getting a website and waste your time or money on a cheap or templated website. We’ll cover this topic in detail in a future article.
  4. Make yourself visible in the community by going to events like those hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. The secret is not to promote yourself but to make friends by taking a genuine interest in their work. This is a long play so it’ll require patience to see results.
  5. Ask your most loyal clients if you can place a small yard sign to promote your business.

Conclusion

Your success begins with your mindset, specifically your self-perception (how you see yourself) and social perception (how you think others see you). Your past experiences and your current environment have a big impact on your future success.

Sort out your mind to understand where you are today, what shapes your perception, why you think the way you do, and where you want to go. The steps laid out in stage 1 show you exactly how to develop a winning mindset to overcome doubts and fears to plan your future success.

In stage 2, you do extensive research to understand what your customers really want – not what you think they want. You also test what customers are willing to pay for what they really want. You delve deep into understanding your competitors and your local market to figure out where the opportunities are to grow your business.

In stage 3, you create your pitch – your messaging to explain what you do and why you’re better than your competition.

Finally, you bring everything together to sell your services and create partnerships with people that can refer you business.

The beauty of the four stages is that everything you do is process based. You can test and adjust your progress along the way by repeating the process. There is no guesswork involved about how to get your next 100 customers.

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