If you run a landscaping company, have you ever lost on price to customers that you wish would have bought from you, but they didn't understand the value that you were offering? Or are you relying too heavily on word of mouth to generate leads for your company? Or spending money on advertising that isn't working and you're not sure what to do? If so, you're not alone.
In fact, those are only three of the 10 common problems with most landscaping marketing. And in today's episode, I'm going to share with you a chapter of my new book, The Tree of Good Fortune, which we've recorded as a video book. It's available as an audiobook. And we have this exclusive content, and here is Chapter 1: 10 Common Problems With Most Landscaping Marketing. I hope you enjoy.
Hey, everyone. Jack Jostes here. Welcome to the Landscapers Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing Podcast.
Now, this show's all about helping you increase your lifestyle, get better customers attracted to your company through marketing. And I'm excited. Right now, I'm recording the video and audiobook for The Tree of Good Fortune: The Landscaper's Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing. It's my new book available exclusively at treeofgoodfortune.com. And here is a sneak peek of Chapter 1.
Chapter 1: 10 Common Problems With Most Landscaping Marketing
"Work Hard and Smart"
- Mike Rowe
Over the last decade-plus, I have personally completed more than 350 digital marketing audits for small business clients, most of whom are green industry businesses. And I've talked with around a thousand small business owners. Typically, people come to me with problems they're facing, and I dig in and find out what's contributing to them. In this chapter, I'll outline several problems I've seen, and in the subsequent chapters share how to solve them.
Problem #1 - Relying too heavily on word of mouth
A lot of the green industry is relying entirely on word of mouth. Now word of mouth is great, right? Hey, if you're doing a good job, you're going to get word of mouth referrals. If you're not getting word of mouth, you're really doing something wrong. If you're doing a landscape installation at somebody's house and their neighbors aren't like, "Hey cool, who did that?" Then you're probably really doing something wrong.
Problem #2 - Doing quality work is not a marketing strategy
Let's squash the idea that doing quality work and doing marketing are mutually exclusive. I often hear small businesses boast that I don't need to do any marketing because our quality speaks for itself, only to reveal the truth later that they have cash flow problems, problems hiring enough staff and trouble generating a sufficient number of their, hell yes customers, that they then stress out on their staff.
The fact is, doing a good job is not a marketing strategy. Doing a good job is baseline. If you do such a good job, it'd be a shame on you not to do marketing, to help more people, including potential employees, find out about your company.
Problem #3 - Word of mouth is not scalable or predictable
While word of mouth is spectacular and will likely still be a top driver of your sales, even if you implement what you learn in this book, the problem is you never really know when you're going to get it. Word of mouth is not scalable or predictable. We can't necessarily put more money into word of mouth. We can't necessarily pull a lever and get more of it. I suppose you could argue that you could ask for referrals and introductions, but in my opinion, true referral campaigns are not the same as word of mouth.
Word of mouth is passive. Referrals are actively requested.
Problem #4 - Crappy customers refer crappy customers
The biggest problem with relying entirely on word of mouth is that crappy customers live next to crappy customers. They hang out with crappy customers and guess what, they're going to refer more crappy customers. If word of mouth is your only source of new business and you really don't like your current customer base and you want to grow your business to the next level with higher quality clients who are going to pay a higher rate, what needs to change? Many landscapers already know they can't just sit around and wait for word of mouth. So they invest in advertising of some kind, which makes sense, but brings us to our next problem.
Problem #5 - Paying for advertising with no measurable results
Another problem I see with most landscape marketing is paying for advertising with no measurable results to show for it.
Is it working? What if your account manager sends you some fluffy buffy report? I had a client, Clay, who ended up hiring me because I simply read the report, his current advertising company, some spin off of whatever bankrupt version of the phone book company had become, sent him. I said, "Hey Clay, this is from last year." And he's like, "Oh, yeah." This report is a year old. So they were literally sending him a year old report and he didn't know, he wasn't really paying attention. The sad thing is, I see this sort of thing, blatant, dishonest, shenanigans all the time. I've even had landscapers come to me whose website is being held hostage by some other company who snuck into their contract, that they own the website. It makes me sick. And it also makes me understand why some small business owners are initially very skeptical of people like me in the digital marketing industry, but just like the landscaping industry, there is a low barrier to entry in starting your business.
Anyone with a laptop and Wi-Fi can start doing digital marketing, anyone with a shovel and a go-cart can start selling landscaping. Through reading this book, you'll know how to evaluate a potential digital marketing vendor or employee, to know if you're actually hiring a professional who knows what they're doing or not.
Problem #6 - Business owner stuck doing the sales and more
The real problem that a lack of an effective sales and marketing system causes is that the business owner can get stuck doing all of the sales. Sure, you're always going to need to do some of the selling and maybe you want to, but then you're probably also doing project management and running the business. And that gets pretty stressful at certain times of the year, especially when you can't hire anyone.
Problem #7 - When marketing attracts low quality, unqualified leads
To make matters worse for a small business owner who is already stretched thin, is that poor marketing attracts low quality, unqualified leads. A low quality unqualified lead is somebody who doesn't really understand why you're different from anyone else.
They don't know how much it should cost. They don't know how long it's going to take. So now you're going to teach them all of that, either on the phone or in person. That could take several hours depending on the customer.
Problem #8 - Attracting customers who don't understand why you're different, leads to losing on price
When you pay for a lead generation website or any kind of marketing that generates a high volume of leads from people who haven't read much about you, it increases your chance of losing on price and being perceived as a commodity. When you get a lead from a lead generation website, in which the customer is just contacting multiple contractors for quotes, it likely means the customer didn't take the time to read about you, to understand why you are different. Which means that they will be more inclined to choose a contractor based solely on price.
And frankly, I can't blame them. If they don't understand why you're different from another landscaper, why should they pay more for whatever you're offering them, they should pay less. The perception of value is everything. And in the branding and differentiation chapter of this book, I'll show you how to differentiate yourself from the competition, so you can finally charge what you're worth.
Problem #9 - Doing marketing in the wrong order
Many of the problems in this chapter are created or exacerbated by doing marketing in the wrong order. And then the next chapter, I'll share with you how you can finally attract qualified leads, save time in your sales process and get your marketing done in the right order, so you enjoy lasting results quickly that continue to grow over time.
Problem #10 - Selling and marketing like you did 10 years ago
I have many clients who have been in business for over 30 years. The challenge is, they still sell like they did in the 90's. Here's what's different now that people have the internet. People want to see pricing info before they call you. They are going to research you and your competitors online, on the internet before they call you. And people want to read online reviews to feel good about choosing your company. Here are the key takeaways from the problem with most landscaping marketing. Doing quality work is not a marketing strategy, it's the baseline. Doing marketing and doing quality work are not mutually exclusive. Relying on word of mouth as your primary source of new business can cause not only sales and marketing problems, but also operational and financial problems. Poor marketing will cause you to be viewed as a commodity and contribute to losing on price. If you're making one or more of these 10 mistakes, you're not alone.
And if you're curious about how to become an active marketer of your business to avoid these nine problems, keep reading the next chapter.
Alright everyone, thank you for listening to this first chapter of my new book The Tree of Good Fortune: The Landscapers Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing. If you're experiencing any of those 10 problems, remember you're not alone. And that's why I wrote this book. It's full of actionable steps that will help you figure out what to do first with your marketing. What to cut -- a lot of times it's a matter of stopping doing things that are not working, how to modify your sales process so you're systematically attracting and closing the right customers, time and time again, and I'd love to send you free copy of the print book. All you have to do is pay for the shipping and you can get access to the Videobook and Audiobook at treeofgoodfortune.com.