It’s most likely your high-end residential clientele that is going to agree to fungicide treatments because they are more likely to have the disposable income to afford them. But Sam Morgan, co-owner of Weed Man Lawn Care of Lake Norman, N.C., says that they never assume anything when it comes to their customer base.
The information on fungicide treatment options goes out to all customers, and the company has a strategic plan that they adhere to when upselling these treatments.
“We make it clear to the customer that if they want their lawn to look better throughout the summer months, then they have to be proactive – or at least reactive – with disease and insect control,” Morgan says.
“Some will be willing to spend the money, some will have the money but don’t care enough to spend it, and some flat out can’t afford it. But we give everyone the opportunity to make that decision.”
Morgan says that due to the possibility of “sticker shock,” the numbers game has to be played carefully.
The initial literature sent to the customer about the fungicide treatments available intentionally does not list a price. It piques the customers’ interest without scaring them away right off the bat. “Even wealthy people can be scared off,” says Morgan.
The initial literature is sent to customers in the early spring. Then, about 30 days from the time fungicide treatments should begin, Morgan follows up with some direct mail that does include pricing. “At this point, you can’t be afraid to sticker shock the customer or beat around the bush,” Morgan says.
“They’ve had some time to think about the value of these treatments and now you have to give them the price. You just have to put it out there because you never really know just who might be interested. A lot of times customers will surprise you.”
Craft a pitch in 1-2-3….
Upselling fungicide treatments aren’t always easy as it tends to be an expensive undertaking for the customer. But Sam Morgan co-owner of Weed Man Lawn Care in Lake Norman, N.C., says there are three key points to drive home with customers. Making these part of your sales pitch will increase your odds of success.
1. Protect your investment. Make sure customers know that by utilizing fungicide treatments they’re not just preventing fungus growth, but they’re actually protecting their lawn. “It prevents turf loss which protects that money you’ve invested and also saves you money on having to re-seed in the fall,” Morgan tells customers.
2. Promote good health. Along with point number one, Morgan hones in on the fact that fungicide treatments promote a healthy lawn. “And a healthy lawn will help with weed suppression, too,” adds Morgan. “A thicker turf is one of the best defenses against weeds.”
3. All about aesthetics. Once Morgan starts talking about weed suppression, he can bring in the final point that completes his sales pitch – fungicide treatments are going to ensure your lawn looks its very best. If you’ve treated other lawns in the neighborhood, this point might be easy to make. “Sometimes all it takes is a customer seeing their neighbor’s lush green lawn to drive this point home,” Morgan says.
Finally, Morgan follows up with an email and a phone call. When technicians are on site at the property they also leave specific notes about any fungus activity they see so that the telephone pitch can be directly customized to each and every lawn. Morgan says that this combination of communication via direct mail, email, and direct calling has been most effective for the company.
“I wouldn’t say any one method is better than another as customers all like to be contacted in different ways,” he says. “We secure clients all three ways and I think the combination of doing all three is important.”
And for those customers that don’t choose to be what Morgan calls “proactive in preventing problems,” there’s always the chance that they’ll be reactive.
“They may not choose to initially do the fungicide treatments but once they see how green their neighbor’s lawn is in July – and theirs doesn’t look so hot – they may want to be reactive and fix the problem,” he says. “That’s another time for a pitch.”
The author is a frequent contributor to Lawn & Landscape.
Find out what researchers across the country are expecting LCOs to encounter this season. Visit www.lawnandlandscape.com and search “fungicides.”
In Lake Norman, North Carolina, where Sam Morgan co-owns a Weed Man Lawn Care franchise, the most common fungi are dollar spot and brown patch. Here’s a little more about those, and the other fungi that may be encountered in the field.
Dollar spot: These straw-colored, silver dollar-sized spots show up on the grass typically throughout summer and into early fall.
Brown patch: Common in warm humid weather and characterized by thinned patches of brown grass, typically first occurring in a circular shape.
Red thread: Most prevalent when the weather is damp or humid, it’s characterized by its reddish appearance.
Powdery mildew: Damp weather, excess moisture and shady areas can allow this white or gray mold to thrive on grass blades.
Summer patch (aka frog eye): Areas with high humidity or that are drought-ridden may experience lighter green discoloration of their grass.