As rampant inflation storms the world, every small business, and human for that matter, is feeling it. But as someone once told me, despite a recession, the grass will grow and the snow will blow. People will still buy lawn and landscape, snow services, and landscaping. But when it comes to landscaping, they may buy smaller projects. They may choose to do things in phases over a longer period of time than they would've before. And even during a recession, you'll still need to qualify budgets with prospective customers. And I have a prediction that businesses who don't share pricing information online will become extinct. In today's episode, I'll share how to brand your sales process so you get the budget each and every time in a way that saves your customer and you a ton of time. And also, I'll share with you an interview with one of my clients; actually, it's the employee of one of my clients because it got the owner out of the sales process entirely.
Hey, everyone, Jack Jostes here, and welcome to the Landscaper's Guide. This show is all about helping you grow your lawn and landscape company, with inspiring ideas about sales, marketing, and leadership. Today, I'm going to share with you a clip from my presentation of the Tree of Good Fortune at the 2022 iLandscape Conference in Illinois. And I wanted to let you know that if you like what you hear in this episode, I invite you to reach out to me and my team to have a simple 15-minute marketing brainstorm phone call. Go to landscapersguide.com/brainstorm and schedule a time. We look forward to talking to you then. And now, we're going to see a clip about how you can brand your sales process. And I'm going to show you some client examples too.
How You Can Brand Your Sales Process
So this one, I have a client, they're a $6 million company. They do commercial. They do residential.
They have a plant nursery. They have a staff that, yeah, if you need three trees planted, they actually have time and materials, hourly people who can come and do the little projects. So for them, getting their budget minimums was like, well, we can do a $500 project and be profitable because we have four different crews. So figuring out their sales process, though, was a nightmare. It was literally calling in, whoever answered the phone had a notepad, a sticky note, and was like, "Oh, you need this? Let me hand this sticky note to our sales manager." And then the sales manager needs to figure that out. So now, they schedule a phone consultation and it directs you to the right department. So if you check the box for commercial, you'll see the calendar for the commercial salesperson, and so on.
So it's a scheduled phone call, and that's where they weed out a ton of tire kickers. They qualify budget, which they send to people before that phone call. Then, they go and do the site visit. What we're getting done on step one from the office, most people are finding out way down here. Budget. Now, are you going to nail the budget on the first call? No. Are you going to at least get a range with people? Yes. Yes. Getting a realistic range, eliminating all that time. So branding your process, and then you know what this does for your customers? They're like, "Cool. I'm on your website. Yeah, I'm looking forward to scheduling my phone call." And now I'm here. And then they feel really confident the whole time that they know where they're at.
Perks Of Branding Your Sales Process
"Oh, we're going to have a landscape agreement. Got it. What's included in that?" On the website, at design phase, we're going to charge X to Y dollars based on your project. So there are no surprises. Now, the customer feels like they know what's up, because what's happening with everyone else? They have the Russian olive shrub of despair. They have none of this. They come to you, they're like, "Boom, I want to buy from you." So does your process systematically qualify budget with each and every process, or does it just kind of happen willy-nilly, depends on who's doing the sale? If you make it part of the process, you'll get better results. By branding your sales process, you create repeatability. For your customer, you help them understand what to expect, and that makes them feel good, because a lot of contractors, landscapers, or really any home service businesses, don't communicate a process and they don't follow one and they don't get back to people on time.
And that creates fear and anxiety. And when people are more sensitive about budget, they get spooked. But by branding your process, you're also able to scale it and teach it to other members of your team, like Casey Hendrix. Casey Hendrix is from Tex-scapes Nursery and Landscape. And I helped him a few years ago with their branding and differentiation. We helped redesign their new website, generate leads through local SEO, expand their online reviews. And they were getting so much business that they had too many leads.
So we started doing online scheduling, which led to appointments for their project manager. But what happened was, even though they were scheduling the appointments, they didn't perceive Nate, the project manager, to be an authority. They wanted to talk to the owner, Casey, who they'd met at the nursery and who they know. So we let money solve the problem. We started charging for the appointments and magic happened. People started valuing the time with Nate. And here's what Nate has to say about what their sales process was like before they did online scheduling and charging for the appointment, and what it's like now.
Branding And Differentiation With Tex-Scapes
I'm Nate Dixon, Tex-scapes Nursery and Landscape here in Ennis, Texas. I'm a project manager for the company here. I am in sales. Now, over time, all the clutter has eliminated. You take it amongst yourself to go sign up. Once you are signed up online, your meeting is booked and we do move forward with that. Yeah, Mondays used to be dreadful around here, honestly. We would come in, myself and Casey. It would be nothing to have 15 or 20 sticky notes on our desk for all different kinds of projects or ideas or people from here, there and everywhere, just because they were expecting us to do something for free. So it was really frustrating having to call all those people back on Monday, and then Tuesday they not answer the phone. They don't want to do anything anymore. The whole process has saved... I don't really think I could even put it into a narrow time.
Days, it saved honestly days, because like I said, Mondays, you come in with 20 notes. Well, now I have 20 emails and they already have their place on the calendar. So I don't have to worry about calling them back, setting them up an appointment and all this. It's already done. I answer questions that they have in specific. Then we meet and go over each one of their projects. Our planning project consultation does come with a $79 charge.
However, it has been received within the community very well. We do not go out and look at $1,000 jobs anymore. And the customer understands that when they're paying for it. Most of the time, they mean business. The quality of customer, the business, the work, is all dramatically increased, in my eyes, from the charging of the consultation fee. If you're currently coming in on Monday mornings with 50 sticky notes on your desk, you should definitely call Ramblin Jackson and Jack Jostes and start charging for consultations. Trust me, it'll save you a lot of heartache and headache.
Be Transparent With Pricing
Now, it could be easy to stop talking about budget with people early in the sales process. Maybe your pipeline isn't as robust as it was in 2020 or 2021 when people had a bunch of funny money to spend on whatever they wanted. People are experiencing inflation, stimuluses have ended, and they're becoming more cautious with their money. But think about it. If people are more price-sensitive now, would it make sense to just blow them up later in the sale with something they definitely can't afford? Or would it be better to just be upfront and honest with them and talk directly about budget with them earlier in the process? I recommend that you talk about it earlier in the process and have helpful information on your website about price brackets, about phases. Let them know what kind of phases you can do. If you offer financing, make that really clear.
And brand your process, so you let people know that you're going to talk about budget at certain steps, or you're going to charge a design fee or a consultation fee, or whatever it is that makes sense. The sooner people hear about it and the more they understand how it works, the more they'll trust you and be likely to buy from you instead of the scared contractor who doesn't tell them things and then sends them some huge estimate that the customer can't afford. And then they're embarrassed. A lot of times, if people don't get back to you, it could be that they're embarrassed that they can't afford what you offered them. Whereas if you're more direct with them along the way, you'll both get to the truth sooner. Brand your sales process. Be transparent on your website with pricing guides, price brackets, and send that information to people via email before you meet with them.
Nurture them along and help them understand how to buy from you, how much things cost, and your payment terms. And when they're ready to buy, they will. If you'd like to talk to me and my team about how you can brand your sales process, we'd be happy to have a 15-minute marketing brainstorm call with you. We work with the green industry and can share with you what's working for our other clients, many of whom might be in your region or in other parts of the country. And by sharing that knowledge, we're all able to grow and help each other.
On this call, we'll help you get clear on the challenges that you're facing in your sales and marketing and give you some ideas on how to overcome them. Helping landscapers not only generate qualified leads, but also design a selling system that makes it easier for your customers to enjoy buying from you, while granting you, the business owner, and your sales staff some freedom is what we do best. We'd love to have a conversation with you, so go ahead and schedule one al landscapersguide.com/brainstorm. Thank you so much for listening to the Landscaper's Guide. My name's Jack Jostes and I look forward to talking with you next week.