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.
Call 918 345 0915 if you want to talk
I help business's with marketing and advertising ideas.
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.
People do business with people they know, like and trust. If you can get your current clients to refer you to their friends, that's another step in the trust column. Consider referral programs where you give some of your loyal clients a discount in order to display a small sign "Landscaping by Morgan" with your business card or flyer. Consider joining a referral group like BNI to network with the real-estate power core team of businesses. That power core team often have the same target market as you - and can easily refer their clients to you.
If you want to discuss this further, please give me a call.
Identify where you're making the most profit with the least amount of resources along with who is currently buying these services from you. Linkedin them and build your presence. Build your preferred demographic and target market new matching accounts.
At every house you serve find out if they are delighted with your service, then you have two follow ups for the "yes." One is to ask them if they are concerned about...whatever, and create your up-sell since you already have the relationship. 2nd, ask them if a neighbor asked them who did their lawn would they be comfortable referring you. (leave a card for them to give and have a reward ready like a free service or a $25 gift card thank you).
When you are at a house you regularly service pick a neighbor and knock on the door and have an effective sales intro and an incentive offer ready. If you knocked on one door every time you do a job you will build up who you know and then managing the relationship is understanding what is excellent customer service.
Morgan- Great question, I wish more organization leaders asked it, often.
In his best selling book 'Good To Great' Author/Business Productivity Expert Jim Collins talks about this using a great word-picture. Allow me to share (remind you). He speaks of the HEDGE-HOG. This hogs one goal in life is to be in the wild and ruddy, looking for food to eat, all day, every day. That's it.
You are asking the question Collins directs us to- "What's our hedge-hog concept"? What is it that we were born to do, can do it all day long, and reap benefits from this,(financially and otherwise)?
I'm going to presume you love dirt, the earth, the smells, feels, bugs and everything about landscaping. Most likely you are very good at this too, and people tell you how over-joyed your work brings them. Most likely you too have found there are certain services you knock yourself out trying to provide and get no feedback from your clients as well. That can be very deflating.
If so, there is a decision to make. You can either continue providing those fabulous services (the ones you knock yourself out providing and never hear from your clients upon completion, in a good or 'bad' way). OR, you can go about providing those services you provide, people comment in very positive ways to you, but you feel you've only done less than a complete job for them. THEN there is this solution- Take more time up front to meet with the client to discuss their needs, vision, and financial abilities. Sharing what makes your day, what makes you personally feel 'complete'. That you fully understand clients don't always have that vision, and that's alright by you, giving them a couple ways to work with you! There is power in sharing your passionate vision. You are probably the only professional landscaper in your city that will do this.
What will begin to happen is you will clearly see, upfront, who wants you, your passion and professional expertise (the total package) working for them. And slowly but surely your business / organization will begin to re-define your HEDGE-HOG concept (culture). MAKE SURE to have each client complete a very brief (on-line preferred, found on your web-site) client satisfaction report card too. What they say next is crucial to your growth with "A" list client development and referrals.
I have found thru personal experience in developing businesses I've grown, as well as business leader-clients I coach, that clients and customers love hearing how our passion and vision play into their wants and needs. There is something very symbiotic that develops between us and the client / customer which doesn't disappear quickly.
Be prepare for this 'Greatest Growth'. Also note that there remain those prospective customers who will give you a blank stare after you've shared your passion and vision and say something like, "Yeah, that's good, but all I need is the lawn cut and shrubs trimmed once-in-awhile."
certified life coach | development | speaker
Great question Morgan! I hear this a lot from my clients. There are 3.5 main principles to remember.
1) Ask yourself, "Who has the means, need and access for my product or service?" Brainstorm 10-20 groups of people or individuals. Do not try to make the list perfect yet, just get down the first people and groups that come to mind. Be as specific as you can, the riches are in the niches.
2) Review your list and choose the top 3-5 groups or people that you would like to work with most. It could be the people who you have the most in common with, have knowledge about, share associations with, etc.
3) Brainstorm 10-20 places where they are. Be specific. For example, don't just stop at "online." Where online? What social media? Trade websites? Groups? And don't stop at "networking events." Which events? Which associations? Which groups? Keep going down the line. And then finally…
3.5) Take action! Go to their place of business or group meetings live in person, make direct phone calls, follow-up with emails and connect to them on social media. Do them in this order and you will build relationships and grow your business. Remember: Relationships take time so give yourself space to nurture the relationship and let it flourish.
For more information on finding your ideal client, contact me. David at David Brownlee dot com or call me at eight five eight, three six seven, zero two eight nine.
I hope this helps!
To your success,
Coach David Brownlee
Author - Coach - Speaker
CEO, The Brownlee Group
You might want to examine how passionate you are about this type of work. Are you doing it just for the money to pay for your accounts or does it correspond to something deeper in you? The answer to this question will determine how you attract your ideal customers willingly paying you the price you ask! Should you need assistance, please email me. To your success!
there are some good suggestions from previous comments, and I'd like to add a few here.
You may have to go back to the drawing board to figure out where you're getting it wrong, because that number of years is enough to build a good and stable client base.
With that said, every industry has it own setbacks, and I'm not a lawn maintenance expert, so there may be certain factors that can hinder your progress (you know that better than I do).
So, here are a few suggestions:
1. Start with your existing customers. What has your relationship with them been like? Get them to leave you reviews and testimonials. Reconnect with them and build progressive rapport.
2. For a new client base, find out who your ideal customers is; don't try to go for everyone (just like Syed suggested, you will have to do a lot of research on this one)
3. Find out what you can offer them for free (something that will solve an immediate problem, e.g. a free lawn maintenance guide)
4. Make it value packed and easy to access (preferably as a downloadable one page pdf from your website)
5. Collect data (i.e. email addresses, names, phone numbers, etc). Start building a list of people really interested in what you are doing
6. Setup a marketing sequence and communicate effectively with the people within your database. Keep adding value to them (use this medium to build that trust and likability)
7. Offer your core services to them and give the kind of service that will make them look away from every other provider within your city (it's possible)
The key thing here is to be more innovative in your approach, and that means you have to be different from everyone else. Yes, you may have to study what others are doing, but reverse engineer the process.
Offer something that no one else is offering and over deliver on the promise. I reckon it's a competitive space, and it's either people are mowing their lawns themselves or they are going for someone they already know (just like you mentioned).
A few other things you may want to consider...After a quick scan for your business online, I can't seem to find a solid online presence. Your positioning online will also boost your bottom line on the long run.
Get a website, update your social media channels with the right content and set up a budget for marketing.
George Matyjewicz PhD's 2nd paragraph suggestion might be worth considering.
All the best.
Let your existing clients leave a comment on your website. Go to community centers and neighborhood get together's and get to know your customers a little bit more.
Get to know them so they will know you! Take advantage of communities by giving them a free lawn fertilizer sample or flower seeds during get together with your business card attached. If these people have kids, give a free workshop how to make something with their parents with grass during earth day(grass puppet). Do not think to complicated just be creative en open yourself up so more opportunities will come your way!
There are many ideas; you could get creative and offer a free week of maintenance. Sometimes you have to give a little to get. Also, ask for referrals from your best customers. Give them something extra or cut them a break on their fees if they refer a new customer. Just going back to your own statement about people buying from folks they trust--trust only comes if you DO SOMETHING to build it.
First off, I do not see a website for your firm. I do see a Facebook page, but it doesn't say anything to engage a prospect. I also see listing in yellowpages, Angieslist and BBB. 90% of people use the Internet to research and get information to make a buying decision.
I see nothing that says why someone should pick you over your competition in the area. Also see noting that actually lists your services.
To identify your target market determine who you want to serve - homeowners, business, office complexes, developers, etc. Then determine how many are in a 5 mile radius and a 10 mile radius of where you live or your office.
Some questions to ask:
Are there enough people/business in my targeted area that fit my criteria?
Will my target really benefit from my product/service? Will they see a need for it?
Do I understand what drives my target to make decisions?
Can they afford my product/service?
Can I reach them with my message? Are they easily accessible?
Who are your competitors in this area?
What differentiate me from them?
Another option woul dbe to find a business and marketing coach to help you. If you have been in business for 9 years, that might be the best option.
Hope this helps.