Stop selling the wrong clients. Are you a hundred percent certain, you know what you want for your business? And more importantly, do your employees. In this episode, we're going to share the number one mistake that we see a lot of landscaping companies making this season, that's causing a world of chaos and how to fix it.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by your landscaping business right now, you're not alone. We've been talking with dozens of landscaping companies lately. Some of our clients, some people just in the industry and a lot of people are really feeling the pressure of the spring, the summertime, and especially this year because of the backlog, the, the huge demand created from people traveling less during COVID last year, and then also the shortage of, of materials, labor issues, all kinds of things. And it's, it's hard. It's a hard time right now, but there's a key difference between the people that we're talking with who know that there's light at the end of the tunnel, the ones who see a vision for where they're heading and they're profiting now, and they're intentionally building their business and the ones who are in a total just utter state of chaos almost to the point where they're ready to give up and quit.
Determining Your Business Bullseye
Right now, I'm at the archery range, siting in my bow for the first time this year. And even if you're not into archery or hunting, you'll learn something from this video. So when you're siting in a bow, you you've got to just take some shots. You've got to, you've got to stand about 10 yards away. I use duct tape, I put two strips down. And that way I can see how far off are my sights to the left, into the right. And I take some shots that make some little adjustments and I get it to be close enough. Then I do the same thing going up and down. And I take a step back to 20 yards and I, and I take some more shots and I get my groupings to an acceptable level.
The same thing is needed in business. You need to just start selling and you need to start working with clients and generating revenue. But at a certain point, you got to take a step back and look at what am I actually doing? What is my actual target right now? A lot of the businesses that I've been talking with lately, who are in a total state of chaos, haven't really gone to that next phase of clarifying. Like, what do you actually want? Who is what we call your hell yes, customer. And I think in business, you have to go through a phase of, of serving and selling and, and figuring it out. But if you never get really clear what your target is and what you want, it's going to be really hard to grow your business. I've seen some clients with a huge service area. They have a ton of windshield time. You can create a huge state of chaos, not only for yourself, but once you start hiring more and more people that chaos can compound and, and really just take over earlier this year, I had a conversation with Dave Fairburn about how he grew from a guy with a truck to now running a $9 million commercial landscaping company. And prior to running his company, he didn't have a ton of green industry experience. Here's a little clip of that conversation where Dave shares about how he went from a total state of chaos, doing everything for everyone, being a total generalist to specializing, picking a hell yes customer and what kind of impact that had on his orbit.
Narrowing In On Your Hell Yes Customer Can Be A Challenge
So our long-term original clients and the people who I still to this day, remember their name, address the services we did, right? And at some point having to tell that person, Hey, you gave me a chance when I was a kid, you, you allow me to make mistakes. You allow me to learn, and now I'm moving on from you. That was like heart wrenching. Business-wise. We felt that the commercial market in our area offered more of a sustainable approach for long-term business. And if we're focused on that margin, those are the things that you kind of look at and say, should I pay a three guy crew to sit at a condo for a nine hour cut or an eight hour cut, or have them do a route of 20 lawns and the expenses associated with doing that and what the market's going to bear to sell that service for. And we just never felt like it was worth the margin.
Now that you have your sights on a hell yes, customer, it's time to say no to projects and clients who aren't a fit for you. Now, this sounds way easier on paper than it really is. And I've been there myself. You start getting freaked out. You have anxiety about money and fear. And what about payroll next month? It's totally normal as a business owner to, to want to serve clients and make sales and make revenue. Why would you turn away money? But you've got to in order to really get out of the chaos and to create a profit. Now, I recently had a conversation with Jeffrey Riddle who owns a design build firm down in Dallas, Texas called Altera landscape design. And here's what he had to say about how he handles that fear and anxiety and manages to power through and say no to bad fit projects.
We're trying to just make sure there's a fit. And if we have to be prepared to say right before you even go to these meetings and you have these conversations and then wait for the right fit, you know, it's sometimes hard to wait if you need the work. You know, you're looking at your revenue, you're looking at what you should have sold this month or last month. And sometimes it takes courage, but I, I get, I get fearful and I've been doing it a long time. I still have those moments where, you know, I am, I've gone. We have got to get, you know, another project or two sold. And I am very tempted to let down the sort of the standards, if you will, and widen the gate. And you know, and, and when I do, I'm usually sorry that
How To STACK Your Customers
The third and final tip is to stack your customers. STACK as an acronym for stars, advancers, cruisers, and killers. Now you might be in the thick of it. It might be the middle of the season, and you've already sold a bunch of projects that you're realizing are a bad fit. Or you may be still figuring out what, what is my hell yes customer? And this exercise will help you get really clear on which kinds of clients you should be focusing on and which ones you should be cutting. So your stars are your top clients. They pay on time. They pay, well, you enjoy doing the work. They're thrilled with you. They refer the right types of people to you. Advancers could, could become a star someday. They could hire you for your, you know, your maintenance plan. They could, they might have a second property.
You were, you know, you could upsell them or something like that. And cruisers, Hey, nothing against cruisers. You're just cruising. You're serving them. They're paying you. But it's a, you know, it's not bad. It's not great. It's bread and butter. Now the K is for killers. These are profit killers. And these are the people that you need to be focusing on getting rid of. So this summer, this spring, this season, you might be too late to exit out of an annual contract that you have or whatever, but start a list, maybe print out a list of your customers or use your CRM. However you want to do this, take out a piece of paper and start categorizing your customers with star advancer cruiser and killer. Now we have a whole different episode on how to exactly do this. So, check that out in the show notes, to see more about stack, oh, there's a snake.
I think it's a bull snake. Crikey. All right. Well, that was fun. For those of you who are listening, we just saw a gorgeous bull snake and I'm out in the grass here in Colorado. I just sensed something and I, and I heard it and sure enough, it was that gorgeous snake. You know, figuring out your hell yes, customer. It's a lot of work. It's hard. And I've created a worksheet for you. A video that'll help you get through this. So I swear, picking your hell yes, customer and really dialing in your marketing, focused on that and dialing in your sales process and everything around that can, can frankly be life-changing for the clients that I've worked with who've, who've gone through this. They have incredible results.
So this worksheet and video will help you do it. So check out our show notes for a link to that, or go to landscapersguide.com/hellyes. All right, everyone. Thanks so much for checking out. Today's episode of the landscapers guide to modern sales and marketing podcast. My name's Jack Jostes, and it's been a pleasure talking with you today. Go ahead and get started. Check out that worksheet at landscapersguide.com/hellyes. We also have that linked up in the show notes on whatever podcast program you're listening to this on. And anyways, look forward to talking to you next week.