One of the questions my team at Marty Grunder! gets asked the most is, “What is your best way to market your landscaping company?” The answer is really easy. The best way to market your landscaping company is to do great, high-quality work. Yep, it’s that simple. Trouble is, many of us don’t understand that.
Quality is the magical differentiator in all businesses. It’s even better than service. Don’t believe me? Okay, let me ask you this question: What pizza do you buy to have delivered to your house for dinner? The one that tastes like flaming hot cardboard that is delivered in 19 minutes? Or the one that you salivate over when you are hungry and think of them because it’s so delicious, even though it takes 45 minutes to an hour to be delivered? If you say the 19-minute one, I think you have a problem! Your customers will do more business with you if you offer quality. Now the trick is to offer top-quality, awesome service and a fair price. I said fair, not cheap.
If your quality isn’t great, then you need to make it great. It’s a maturation process for us landscapers. The work Grunder Landscaping did in 1984 was not very good. We pruned boxwoods in a way that makes me cringe now when I see work like that. We did paver patios that drained back towards the patio door and had horrible cuts that only a 3-year-old could do worse. Fast forward 30 years, and I’ll put the quality of the work we do up against any contractor in the country.
1. We want to get better.
Drive is what differentiates winners from losers in all businesses. You have to want to get better. Matt Esch is a client of mine based in the thumb of Michigan. His firm, Esch Landscaping, does awesome work. I have learned a lot from him just by looking at his jobsites and the photos of his work at EschLandscaping.com. Matt is very driven. He attends seminars; he visits with other companies; he is passionate about improving. A 15-minute conversation with him shows you he wants to get better. Do you want to get better? If you can honestly answer “no” to that question, you need to take a trip and visit another successful landscaper in another area of the country and see what’s possible for your business. Matt wakes up every day trying to get better. He stays motivated by being networked with other landscapers that are more successful than he is. He has a target he is chasing and this works.
2. We have a dialog with our clients.
If you don’t have a dialog with your clients, you are missing a great opportunity to get better. I feel that the most successful landscaping companies are market-focused. What this means is that what the market wants is what shapes their decisions. They know what their clients want and need and make decisions based on that. Frank Mariani and his team at Mariani Landscape in Chicago listen to their customers better than any landscaping company I have ever encountered. I could go on for days talking about the things they do to listen to their clients. Let me boil it down to something Frank told a group of my clients that I had in to tour his operation. He said, “We ask our clients when interviewing them about their backyard projects: ‘What would make you pull that door handle and go out in your backyard for four hours?’” I absolutely love that question. I have shared it with my sales team at GLC and we are going to get some great insight from that and make a lot of money from that question as well.
3. Work at quality 24/7.
Having the drive to get better and talking to your clients are the first two steps; the last step is to spend time on your quality. You can be motivated to get better; you can talk to your clients; however, if you don’t get your whole team to take action on quality, then you’re never going to realize your utmost potential.
Talking about it and learning and listening is great, but execution is the way to find permanent improvement. I have a friend who is constantly trying to find new and better ways to run his business. He goes to seminars and he reads more books than anyone I know. He writes wonderful columns on business success and is perceived as a “go-to” person in his industry. Trouble is, he really doesn’t make much money and quite frankly doesn’t have a company that is going to succeed beyond him as he doesn’t have anyone else on his team, and this is because he never executes.
He never gets the work done. At a certain point, we have to take action; that’s when true learning takes place. You can’t go through life as a business owner in the ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim mentality. It has to be ready, aim, fire. Take action. Do the work. You don’t get better at golf by just reading about it and watching it. You get better at golf by playing it.
Quality is the great differentiator. Use the three steps above to initiate your quest to get better. Oh, and read Lawn & Landscape magazine cover to cover. Seriously, this publication is full of ideas that will help you improve your quality.
Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See www.martygrunder.com; mail