What is the best way to identify my exact target market and build relationships with them?
I am in my 9th year of owning my company. I am struggling to find the customers who want a company to do everything lawn maintenance related for them. I have found that people are willing to pay a bit more for someone they know and trust. But how do we build relationships with those people?
The problem(s) you describe is the same as is the case for any business in a Service Industry. You want and need to be "perceived" as the professional, the expert at the services you provide.
The problem and the need for a solution is not overly emotional, but it comes to mind with a relatively high level of frequency. Your prospects and clients need you to do the work, and do it right the first time. They expect you to have information about their problem and the options for solutions that they don't have. They need you to do what they don't want to do, know how to do...things they don't have to do because they can pay you to do it for them.
Most of your prospects are feeling confused about who is any good at what you do. The information they get is confusing and difficult to decipher concerning the solution.
There is a fear of paying and still getting awful service, they are skeptical, and have
more than likely had a negative experience with a service provider in the past.
The most important factor to the prospect is results and education. Fix it right, fix it the first time and don’t fix what doesn’t need to be fixed. Plus the prospect wants to be educated about the service and what options are available. Honest is important as well.
The typical experience is negative for the service industry as a whole.
NOW what do you do to meet these needs? How do you insure that you meet them every time? What systems, checks, reports do you use "internally" to get it right every time? THEN How do you tell the prospects and clients what you do?
The process is longer than these few questions, but you should begin to understand what you need to do. Your marketing strategy should follow this as should your advertising and sales process.
The prospects need to see the options and be educated on the service.
The prospect expects results, the ultimate solution. Unfold the options.
It seems your operators have not been ideal relation builders.. Relation building needs time and you have lost time. How to build relationships?
1. Be polite and on your best behavior.
2. Be truthful /honest.. Tell him that you want to build a professional relationship with him.
3 I'm afraid that the customer is always right works here too. As you have been in the business for 9 years, you will be knowing to gauge a person's personality from a single visit. Keep things recorded like visited, customer's personality etc in your computer.
4. You have to leave your ego at home. If you expect to be treated as a business owner, you are wrong. You will be treated as a service provider.
5. Ask yr customers for references.
6. Try to get all info on a customer even if something seems irrelevant.
7. Do something new and different from the competition. Like send the usual letter and visit him the same day. What to do will depend upon you.
8. Show your customhouse the courtesy that they want ( whether they deserve it or not is a different question).
9. Find all details about your competitors,
10. Finally, try to keep that in mind that a relationship can be broken in an hour but it takes months to build relationships.
I'm sure you have an idea of the road I'm driving on. You'll know best about your target customers. And try to follow the 80-20 rule.. There are many skeptics but it works.
I am sure folks have mentioned all of what I will say but you are part of a community. You have to interact with people in all different ways. You need to be on Community boards posting recommendations from your current customers. If you are targeting certain areas, you need to be interacting with them in all forms: Social Media, Public Relations, and being part of Events - hope this makes som sense. In your business it think personal references are likely the best. You may also want to offer current customers a discount if they refer new customers to you.
You are asking & answering your self , yes people are willing to pay a bit more for someone they know & trust - I think you need to deliver your services to them with focusing on your relation with them let them know you well by chating & asking a bout them , while delivering your services let them knoe that you care a bout your work like finishing work on time , deliver more services than others of the same type of services ,advice them , let them feel your your best work & services ,they will give back in return & tell others about you . I have done it widely .
You need to do an attitude segmentation study to sort people out by their attitude toward what you do. Demographics have nothing to do with identifying your target market. They only serve to help describe those whose attitudes fit your business. Along with demographics and geographic location the research also helps you understand the best ways to communicate with the key segment. You need to talk to a qualified marketing research professional who understands this whole process.
Just one advice. Turn your gardeners or landscaper workers into partial salesmen. Give them some extra time to go around and find customers on a 1 to 1 basis (friends, people they know, neighbors, relatives), you have to change the dimensional perception of your company from a "company" to an "aggregation of individuals" whom they know and trust. Good Luck, Paolo
The easiest way is to use your best customers for whom you are providing a total lawn care service to give you testimonials as to their satisfaction with your service, and to ask them for referrals to others that they know who they feel would be interested your total lawn care service.
Depending on what area of the country you are in, and weather conditions and climate, you should become THE resource for all things lawn maintenance. Don't be afraid to tell customers what they should be doing year round to maintain lawn and landscape, and also let them know you can take care of those things for them if they prefer. Also you can add seasonal planting times for other landscape to the yearly calendar you send them. People are so busy, that if you take that off their plate, they will probably let you handle in most cases.
Offer a coupon for savings, scratch cards, savings for repeat customers, ask them to leave reviews on your blog - to many to mention here.
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Thank you Scott
Dear Morgan, yor answer lies in your question. You already know why people take on a similar service such as your - "know" & "trust". Well, you'd better if you made your business more 'visible' to people. May be give a free service in a specific area. If they like it, they will call you back. Or, you could have reps running up to people's door and giving them a free analysis/advice on how they could keep their lawns better maintained. This will create visibility and help build trust as well. Think of innovative ways to spend some time with your potential customers. Once they do that, they will " know" you, and that should help solve your problem.