Hot tub of opportunity

Hot tub of opportunity

Columns - Industry Voices

Look around your customers' properties for more work.

April 28, 2013
Marty Grunder

Marty Grunder

Years ago, a client of mine in Virginia that I was coaching was called out to a house to give a customer a price on lawn mowing. I had talked to him about the Next 4 strategy – the next four jobs you can do for the client in addition to the job they asked you to quote. He tried it for the first time on this prospect.

While there, he saw a hot tub sitting on the ground in the back yard. He gave them a price on the lawn mowing as well as a price to install a patio and backyard retreat for the hot tub to sit in. More than $100,000 later, he was glad he had practiced the “Next 4.”

The point: instead of focusing on the latest and greatest marketing idea, why not focus first to make sure all your current clients and past clients have been contacted to see what, if anything, you can do for them? What would happen if, on every call, you showed the prospect or client everything that was possible that you could help them with? In that light, here are two easy sales tips.

Go through all your past client records and make a list of all the people who have done business with you in the past, but did not do anything with you in 2012.

Then take that list and start making some calls. The calls should go something like this: “Hello, Mr. Caruso, this is Marty Grunder from Grunder Landscaping; do you have 60 seconds? Great. Say, we’ve done business in the past and I feel like that went well and I am going to be in your neighborhood in the next 10 days. I was wondering if I could stop and walk your property with you and see how everything is looking.”

And then you just sit back, be quiet and let Mr. Caruso talk.

More times than not, they will say one of two things. They will either say “You can stop by,” which is what we want. Or they will say, “We’re OK right now.” Either way, you have made an impression that is just as good as any promotional item you may mail to a client. When my clients that own landscaping companies try this, they improve their sales instantly. So, what are you waiting for?

In my 29 years of selling, I have sold millions of dollars of landscaping to clients that didn’t ask for what I pitched.

But because I took some initiative and showed them what was possible, I was rewarded. We actually use this tactic as part of the selling process I teach other landscapers. Today at Grunder Landscaping Co., we use automated forms on our iPads that sync up with our server and help my team never forget to make note of what’s possible. In fact, right before I sat down to write this column, I had a meeting with a prospect to sell them a spring cleanup and mulching. While I was there, I noticed the next four things that I saw that were needed.

I saw their gutters were clogged, so I quoted that (we have a preferred subcontractor that does this work for us), I saw a dead tree in the front yard, I saw a hedge that could be replaced and I saw some drainage issues.

When I return in two days with all my quotes, I will show them not only a quote for the spring cleanup for $3,500, but I will also show them quotes for another $8,000 in things that could be done as well as a full-blown maintenance program.

Yes, they only asked for a spring cleanup quote, but I’m going to show them everything we could do. I don’t always show prospects everything that is possible.

It depends on how budget conscious they are, their attitude and the like. You have to learn how to read people.

Much of success in sales is a “feeling” type of thing. By doing this, you can and will increase your average sales.

Before you say that you can’t do this, I think you have to do this if you are a professional. When you go to the doctor for anything, what do they do? They check your vitals and see if everything is OK, just in case. If something is amiss, they tell you.

That’s their obligation as a professional.

True landscape professionals are always looking for things they can improve. And, I know only professionals read Lawn & Landscape magazine!


Marty Grunder is a speaker, consultant and author; he owns Grunder Landscaping Co. See; mail