It's a new year, and is what you want from your business now the same as what you wanted three years ago? Have your skills increased? Have you increased your pricing? Do you have new staff on your team? If you're like me and many small business owners, the answer is probably yes, your business has changed and grown a lot. And I've done this too. Your marketing may be out of date and it could attract the wrong clients, which can decrease your profit. So check out today's episode to see the number one sales and marketing question you must get clear on before spring, so that way you kick off to a really profitable year.
Join Us At Our Upcoming Webinar!
Hey, it's Jack Jostes. And before we dive into today's episode, I want to invite you to join me at a live webinar, How To Say No To Clients Without Being A Jerk on Thursday, January 27th. It's a free virtual webinar. Register online at landscapersguide.com/events because saying yes to everything can cause a lot of chaos in your business. It can cause a lot of waste. It can cause a lot of problems, and it's a key part of today's episode. So anyways, hope to see at that webinar, landscapersguide.com/events.
It's the first week of the new year, and it's absolutely one of my favorite seasons. Right now I'm out on a hike in Colorado. It's 24 degrees, but it's not really that cold unless you are a baby, because really there's no humidity here. But it's one of my favorite times of year, not only for the weather, but also for planning
Who Is Your Hell Yes Customer For 2022?
I love taking a look at what did I do last year that worked, that I'm going to continue. What am I going to cut? And the number one sales and marketing question you need to get clear on before spring is who is your hell yes customer now? This changes over the years. I'm in my 13th year of business and my hell yes customer has changed and evolved as my business has changed and evolved, and my personal life has changed.
So I'm going to share with you some example of real landscapers and how their hell yes customer changed, and then also how you can use QuickBooks or your CRM to get clear on the financial aspect of this, plus the results of what happened when I just did this myself at Ramblin Jackson who my hell yes customer is in 2022.
Cutting An Entire Division To Better Serve Your Hell Yes Customers
Over the years, your hell yes customer will change and it's important that your marketing and sales process keep current with the changes. So an example of this, I have a client who, when we started working together, not even a year ago, he had a multimillion dollar design build firm and he was looking to grow to having half of it as maintenance.
He had some maintenance accounts, so he invested heavily in equipment and started acquiring maintenance customers and realized he didn't like it. His staff didn't like it. They didn't do it well. And what happened was, and partly we knew this from their reviews and their first party feedback, their customers weren't happy with them. So they were starting to tarnish their reputation and he knew it and he knew he didn't want it. It was no longer his hell yes customer.
So he actually closed that division and sold the equipment. It was a big, bold decision, but it was the right thing to do. Then he needed to update his website and update his marketing.
Knowing Where Your Hell Yes Customers Really Are
Another client worked with me starting four or five years ago and he wanted leads in a specific neighborhood. So we built out his tree of good fortune with a limb for each city in a branch for each service in those areas.
Hey, he started getting leads from there and he got so many qualified leads that he realized, "I don't actually need this many leads and I don't want to have to drive to all those areas." So he's out in California where the traffic is just horrendous. So we ended up in both of those cases, in the maintenance division closing or this other client wanting to pair back. We ended up doing a hard prune of their tree and actually removing those pages from their website.
Do Your Photos Represent Your Hell Yes Customer?
Now, another client of mine had the biggest, most badass photos of the biggest projects he'd ever done on his homepage and he was getting all leads for those, but they were too big. He realized over the years of managing these projects that they were unprofitable. They were stressful. He needed to hire subcontractors for all these different things. So again, pairing back, getting the right images on there was the right thing to do.
So your hell yes customer is really about what services do you want to sell in which area, which service area, and for what budget? And again, the most affluent neighborhood might not be the best for you. And the biggest revenue projects might not be the best, right? So it's getting clear on who is a hell yes for you now.
Using Financials And Your CRM To Help Figure Out Your Hell Yes Customer
I want to share with you an exercise that we did that I do every year using QuickBooks. Now, you can do this with QuickBooks or your CRM or whatever financial software you have. Part of figuring out who your hell yes customer is, is looking at your gross profit per customer from the previous year. Doing this exercise with an $18 million landscape company that has tons of different service offerings, clients all over the place.
This was the number one takeaway from a sales workshop that I did according to their CFO. But you don't have to be an $18 million company to do this. All you need to do is take a look at your QuickBooks or your sales CRM. What I like to do, I use QuickBooks online. So I'll do a custom report and I will do sales by customer. And then I'll set it to descending order. That'll put the highest paying clients at the top and the lowest ones at the bottom.
The next thing I do is profit and loss by customer. We do that on a gross profit basis. So what you want to do is take a look at what was the gross profit margin on your customers last year. Maybe some of your highest paying highest revenue clients were not actually that profitable. A few years ago, I did this exercise and realized that my biggest client was actually my biggest expense.
We were literally losing money on the project, and that happens in all industries all the time. And that's why you got to do this every year is take a look at what is your gross profit margin target, and which clients are meeting those and why. And which ones that didn't, what were some of the reasons? That often starts with sales. That often starts with attracting clients that maybe aren't the right fit for you.
So you start taking on projects that are too big or things like that, and you got to do this over time. You've got to experiment, but you've got to analyze, take a look and pick which ones are you really going to focus on and how when your sales process can you scope out those things that maybe weren't as profitable last year. You can do this, not only with QuickBooks, but also with whatever CRM you're using. If you're tracking your time, your expenses, make sure you're tracking it to customers so you can generate these reports.
And bonus tip, if you're not using the territory field in QuickBooks, I use that for tracking marketing. So I have about seven different things that I do for marketing, so I can generate a report of profit and loss, not only by customer, but also how much did I spend in marketing and what kind of leads did I get?
Were they profitable in the end? So I can continue in investing in the marketing that's working and cut what isn't. From a sales and management standpoint, when you have this information... And I recommend doing this exercise with. You probably can't do it with your whole company, but absolutely get your operations manager there. Get your account managers there, your sales people. Get them involved so you're all aligned around attracting those hell yes customers.
Are Your Clients Personality Fits For Your Company?
In addition to the financial part of your hell yes customer, grade your clients on a qualitative standpoint. Are there some clients that just drive you and your staff crazy? Hey, we're all in the business of serving people and I love people and we're here to serve. And there are going to be certain types of clients that maybe they're outside of your wheelhouse and that's why they're stressing your staff out. Or maybe there's certain personality types.
There's going to be certain things that are not just part of dealing with people, but they're an actual detractor to your company. They could be really stressing out your people and causing them to quit. Whatever it is, grade them and figure out who are the customers that meet the financial requirements? They buy the services you really enjoy selling.
They're in the service area you want, and you really enjoy working with them, and your clients and your employees do too, because that's going to create a lot of momentum for you. For referrals, for word of mouth, for lifetime value, for retaining those clients and upselling them over time.
Who is Ramblin Jackson's 2022 Hell Yes Customer?
I want to share with you that I met with my operations manager, my executive assistant and our senior landscape marketing strategist and we analyzed what we did in 2021.
We realized that our hell yes customer in 2022, they're full service landscape companies that do maintenance and construction and hardscaping. And many of them do snow. They do snow and ice management and commercial work too. They're typically between two and $6 million in revenue. And the owners of these companies absolutely love leading people. They see themselves as a leader. They enjoy investing in their people. They enjoy reading books. They come to our mastermind. They get it and they're always continuously improving, and they're not stuck in how they did things in the '90s and refusing to adapt.
They're investing in technology and it's fun. We have fun working with them. We make them a lot of money and it's mutually beneficial. So that's who our hell yes customer is. And we have a lot of still great customers who maybe they're not quite $2 million yet, but they want to be someday. Or maybe they don't offer all of those full services at this time, but they're planning to in the future.
You'll Still Attract More Than Just Your Hell Yes Customer (including some pretty great customers)
So I talk about this in my book, The Tree of Good Fortune. Picking a hell yes customer and focusing your marketing on it doesn't mean that you're not going to attract other people who are a little bit outside of it or that you're not going to get referrals, or you're always going to be able to pick and choose when you have an abundance of leads coming in which projects are the right fit. And you'll be less inclined to just take on a project to meet payroll because you don't have enough quality leads coming in.
Okay. So you've met with your sales and operations people, your financial people, your bookkeeper, CFO. You've looked at your QuickBooks or your sales CRM. You've gotten really clear on what services you want sell this year. What neighborhoods you want to sell. Your hell yes customer is clear. Now, it's time to make sure your marketing and sales are aligned with that.
Align Your Marketing To Your Hell Yes Customer
So first right off the bat, send your hell yes customer a gift, right? Let them know how much you appreciate working with them. Call them, thank them and just let them know that you appreciate them and do your best to retain them. That's my number one tip for you. But you've also got to update the marketing you're doing to get new clients. Make sure that your website, the photos on your website, the pages on your website.
Are you using the right keywords in your search engine optimization that your hell yes customers are Googling? Do you have case studies? Do you have proof? Do you have social proof in the form of testimonials, maybe review videos, online reviews on your website and Google listing? Look at all the things that your hell yes customer would look at and make sure that they know that you are different. Is your process branded? Do you guide them through clear steps to buy from you that are aligned with your operations?
My book, The Tree of Good Fortune is full of marketing ideas on how to sell to, how to market to, and also how to recruit people to help you manage the work. So check that out. A key thing here though, you can do all this marketing stuff, you can meet with your leadership team. It's all wonderful. But if the people answering your phone, if the people going and meeting with clients, if your account managers and salespeople, if you the owner are not leading them in how to say no to the clients who are not a fit for your company, it's all a moot point. You're going to waste a lot of time, money, and energy.
Marketing to the wrong fits, selling to them, going and meeting with them, having a lousy close rate, burning out your staff, doing projects that aren't a good fit. But it could all stop, if you get really good at saying no politely to the leads that aren't really a fit for you. So you can say hell yes to the ones that are.
In my upcoming webinar, how to say no to clients without being a jerk, I'm going to share with you how to do that. I'm going to share with you actual scripts that you can use on the phone and how to train your office staff to do this. How to automate a lot of this so that way when people come to you, they're already really qualified and you're going to have to say no way less often.
And when you do get into a sales conversation, how to say no early when you know that it's a no, so that way you don't spend all the time creating a proposal and signing on for a project that isn't going to work. So join me at that event at landscapersguide.com/events.
My name is Jack Jostes and thanks so much for checking out today's episode of the Landscaper's Guide to Modern Sales and Marketing Podcast. This show comes out every week. My goal is to serve the green industry with helpful sales marketing and business content, and I look forward to talking with you next week.
I want to tell you the truth. I'm hiking and I'm going to eat chicken wings for breakfast, leftover chicken wings because that's what I want to do. That's a hell yes to me is to enjoy a good life, go hiking, make content, lead a great team, and eat chicken wings whenever possible.