As we all know, our prospects and clients have a lot of landscaping companies to choose from—some 505,643 to be exact, according to the most recent IBISWorld Report on the state of our industry in the US. So how do you distinguish yourself from so many competitors? How do you stand out in a sea of sameness?
In my experience and those of the companies I coach, it’s easier than you think. You have to deliver quality work, of course, but there are many simple acts you can take to further separate yourself from other companies in your market. Or, as the legendary businessman Warren Buffet, says, “It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.”
Ensure your trucks are clean and your crews drive safely. I cannot tell you how many local landscaping company trucks I see on the road that are poorly maintained, or have papers strewn across their dashboards, or are driven by distracted workers talking on their cell phones and oblivious to the car they just cut off. Your trucks can be some of your most effective marketing; think about the image you want them and your drivers to convey and then make sure your whole team upholds it.
Train your teams in how to present themselves on job sites. Many of us get so caught up in teaching our crews the hard skills of how to install and maintain landscapes that we overlook the soft skills of interacting with the customer. But both are crucial if you want to stand out. Train your crews to park in the street, where they are not blocking anyone’s driveway, and to place cones around your trucks for safety. Train them to ring the doorbell or alert the property manager when they arrive at a job site and let the client know what they will be working on. Train them to leave a note with the client before they leave detailing what they did, any issues that arose, and next steps. And train them to be polite and professional in everything they do. Clients may not always be able to distinguish good landscaping practices from bad, but they will all know and remember how you made them feel.
Send handwritten thank-you notes to those who choose your company and the ones who got away. E-mails and texts are quick and form letters are efficient, but nothing stands out like a handwritten note in a mailbox. People are far more likely to open the envelope and to remember you made the extra effort to write and send a note. And if a good prospect chooses to go with another company, thank them for their consideration anyway. A no today can be a yes tomorrow, if you leave the door open.
You don’t have to go to extraordinary measures to stand out—deliver quality work, be professional and thoughtful, and do a little bit more than the other guy or gal, and I guarantee you will.
Have a great week!