Turf Magazine - August, 2014

DEPARTMENTS

Contractors' Corner: Act Now to Finish Strong

By Rick Cuddihe

This year is more than half over and by now you should have a pretty good idea of how successful your company will be at year's end. Even so, there's still time to positively affect your results. Now - before the fall crunch erupts - is a great time to look for ways to finish strong.

Have you noticed that during the last few minutes of a basketball game, the game becomes more intense and the team that performs best in the closing minutes usually wins? It's amazing how many baseball games are won in the bottom of the ninth inning. Those examples should tell us something.

Here are a few ways to increase sales and boost revenues in the closing months of this season. In theory, there's only two ways to increase revenue: do more business with existing customers and get more customers.

Start by scrutinizing your client list to see whether you are performing all the landscape services that each of your clients need. Property managers tell me that they are using two or more service providers. It is not uncommon. This is particularly true if they are tasked with managing larger or multiple properties.

Be the better alternative

Perhaps you are doing the mowing for a property and the property manager seems to be satisfied with their current snow or tree care service providers. Do you know if they are really satisfied? It's human nature for a property manager to continue with what works - that is until they are presented with a better alternative.

You can become that better alternative on the property. Evaluate what additional services you could offer that client and, also, other nearby prospects since you're already in that service area. Let clients (and prospects) know that by bundling services with your company they'll be getting the best deal.

Check out other properties in the region that could use a little TLC because the current service provider is not (in your estimation anyway) getting the job done right. If you are confident you can do a better job, initiate a conversation with these property managers or owners.

Keep it positive

Start by opening the relationship with positive comments and by presenting them with referrals. Don't criticize the current service provider's work. Making value statements and presenting the positive appearance benefits should get their attention. Once you've got their attention, you are on your way to getting their business, especially if you can show them how your services can help them accomplish their primary goals.

Take a look at how your people, vehicles and company brand looks to your clients and perspective clients. You can't afford to miss any opportunities to make a great impression. Neat appearance, efficient work processes and a can-do attitude will create a positive advantage for your company.

Beyond that, stress the proactive nature of your company's services. Then make sure you are delivering it. When employees notice something on the property that needs attention, be sure they know how to best address and resolve it.

Schedule meetings now

Meet with your larger clients this month and engage them in a conversation that reveals what they like and what they would like to see improved regarding the services you are providing them. Ask the same questions of prospective clients about their current service providers. Again, be very careful of making negative comments about competitors' work.

Instead, emphasize the many benefits that your company offers, especially if you can bundle several services, and explain how that will help them reach their goals.

Start now so that you can finish the calendar year and head into the holidays with a big smile on your face.

Rick Cuddihe is president of Lafayette Consulting Co., and works with companies to improve their operations. Rick is a PLANET Trailblazer and Business Advisor. Comment on this article or reach Rick at rick@lafayetteconsulting.com