It’s finally here. The day you decide you’re going to start your own lawn care business.
You’ve given it a lot of thought. You feel strongly about the outdoors and everything that goes into maintaining it. You’ve talked over this idea with friends and family a number of times, and, whether they support your decision or not, for better or worse, you’re ready to take the plunge and give it your all.
You already have a plan in mind. The first few customers you intend to reach out to will be the ones you’ve known for a while, say, your neighbors and friends. Doing that will help you overcome the trust paradox—it’s much easier to get people to trust you with their lawns if you’ve known them a while.
How do you go beyond that, though? How to get your first 100 lawn care customers? Read on to find out.
Your family and friends serve as your launchpad
You’ve already provided services for your close friends and family, but that’s not where it ends. In the modern world, your potential customers will rely on word of mouth and referrals more than ads, flyers, mail, or other channels businesses try to reach them through.
How to get that 5-star review and rating?
It all goes back to their overall experience with you, starting from the first interaction to the actual ground work. While your friends and family would probably be generous with their reviews about you, a killer customer experience is what will ensure great reviews keep pouring in as you expand to servicing prospects who haven’t heard of you before.
How do you give a killer customer experience, though? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Scroll further down for more details.
Make door-to-door actually work
Heard enough about going door-to-door to make sales? But do you know what to say, how to present yourself and make the homeowner care? That’s what we’re here to fix.
In a world of virtual meetings, people value pleasant face-to-face conversations even more, so you have a chance to make door-to-door actually work. Here’s how:
- Don’t start with your sales pitch. Consider the salespeople that come knocking at your place. Do you stop and listen to what they have to say, or does it put you off when you learn they’re selling? We imagine it’s the latter. Put yourself in the homeowner’s shoes and now you know how one naturally responds to a door salesperson.
- Dress the part. Dressing well doesn’t mean the homeowner will close the deal with you, but not dressing well will ensure that the homeowner won’t close with you.
- Offer them something of value—for free. “Hey Dan, we were just in the neighborhood, and we have a gift for you . It’s a special day for us as we just launched our lawn care business…”. Starting on this note will eliminate that salesperson vibe that the homeowner might otherwise get from you.
- Closing the conversation. “We’ll be in the neighborhood if you think we can be of service to you. You can call us up, these are our details. Have a great day!”. Sometimes the conversation on actual lawn care may start here , or it may not , and that’s fine. You might get a call from them in the future. The important part is to not insist on closing the sale then and there.
For more pointers , here’s a helpful video from the guys over at Lawn Care Millionaire. We found their video extremely down-to-earth and packed with actionable advice.
Start building your social media profile
By now, you’ve started getting some customers, and you’ve done a decent number of jobs. What you probably missed, with all this new work, is setting up an online presence for your business. It’s time to create a business page on Facebook and Google. These two are non-negotiable if you want more reach .
Facebook: We’ll assume you know what Facebook is. But for a business page, this will answer all your questions – Facebook for Business. And here’s an extremely recent and helpful YouTube video on how you can get started with your page.
Google: A free Business Profile on Google helps make a business visible when it matters the most: the moment when customers are searching for a business or product and services like yours on Google Search and Maps.
Here’s a short article on how you can set up your Business Profile on Google. The best part is that you’ll be up and running in the next 15-30 minutes.
Now let’s build on how to convert a potential prospect as soon as they land on your page. With an online shop, you can add a link on your profile that will lead your prospect to an “instant checkout” flow. Here’s how it works:
- A prospect clicks a link on Facebook/Instagram/a website and is taken to your online shop.
- They enter their property address, and the software directly retrieves their lawn and bed measurements.
- Your services are priced based on your catalog and the prospect’s property measurements. The prospect chooses the services they require and accepts the quote.
- They pay online and book your services to fit in with their schedule.
Being able to provide instant, accurate quotes for property measurements gives you an edge over the ones who take days to get back with results. This perfectly bookends the “killer customer experience” we mentioned.
Direct mail is still one of the cheapest ways to reach your potential customers
Do you consider direct mail to be outdated? Before discarding this l as an option altogether, it’s imperative to know the buying journey for consumers has changed drastically over the last decade. Now, a buyer’s journey to the final purchase is a result of a lot of customer engagement.
On many occasions, a direct mail is the first touchpoint between you and a potential buyer. Hence its relevance . Albeit low response rates, it is essential to get the word out about your business. In a few cases, it leads to new customers.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when using this tactic:
- Include an offer. Consumers are always on the lookout for eye-catching offers and savings when looking at direct mail.
- Standout content. The content of your mailer should be easy on the eyes and succinct . Broadly, it should have:
- A header that conveys a clear benefit for the homeowner.
- Illustrations that allow the homeowner to easily understand your service.
- A range of offers across multiple services, with discounts mentioned in $ terms as they are easier to understand than percentages.
- The quality of your list. Targeting affluent neighborhoods with higher disposable incomes will generally increase the likelihood of getting a callback.
- Frequency. You need to engage your audience with the right frequency of mailers. Too much and you’ll trigger a spam response. Too little and you won’t be their first choice. Six to eight times a year falls in the comfortable range.
- Call to action. A clear next step for the homeowner. Either “Call now” or “Visit us at…”. You can also include an expiration date for the offer to hint some urgency.
Turn your customers into an extension of your business
Your customers will always be your best marketers. As pointed out above, word of mouth and referrals are some of the strongest marketing strategies any business can use. Here’s how you can increase its use:
It all comes down to customer experience. This fact remains true across industries and across time. Customers only recommend you to others if you can provide a great memorable experience. As mentioned before, a good first interaction is a step in the right direction.
An online shop is a great way to stand out from your competition. While your competitors will be scrambling to prepare quotes and get back in days, you will enable your prospects to book and pay for services instantly. You can convert customers without a sales team now, further reducing your costs as you expand your business.
Start a referral program. Referral programs have become commonplace. You incentivize your customers for referrals , and return the favor with a reward. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when launching a referral program:
- What is the benefit for your customers? Referral programs run by other companies show that these programs work best when there’s benefit involved for both the referrer and the referee. That makes the referrer feel good about spreading the word while also benefiting their peers.
- How easy is it to refer? Every step your customer needs to take in making a referral is a chance for them to drop off and not make the referral at all. Put yourself in their shoes, experience the referral process, identify steps you can cut out, and make the process as simple as possible.
Social proof is one of the strongest weapons in your arsenal. Your existing customers can do more than just provide referrals, and this additional help comes in the form of social proof. You’ve seen other businesses put out those testimonials and ensure they get online reviews—this establishes trust in the minds of prospects who have never interacted with you before.
- To get this social proof, strike up a conversation with your customers. Talk about their experience with you , what could have been better, and genuinely listen to them. This develops a sense of comfort for them. Now you can ask for a review!
- You can ask them for reviews a few days after finishing the job. It’s also important to make it easy for customers to give you instant feedback. Write a sincere email asking them about their experience, where you can include a link to fill out a Google review or send them a feedback survey to prompt a response.
Once you have great reviews coming in, make sure you ask for their permission before using them. Once done, ensure you share the review everywhere—your Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, flyers, direct mail, and any other channel you may have set up.
And there you go! You’ve figured out how to get your first 100 lawn care customers, but what’s next?
A natural next step is to ensure the customers you’ve serviced come back to you in the future. If you’ve provided them with the aforementioned customer experience , you’re good to go!
Customer retention is even more important than acquiring new customers. After all, what’s the use of getting new customers if they never interact with you again.
Well, that’s enough for today. We could go on and on about growing and scaling your lawn care business, but that’s a story for another time.
Onwards and upwards!