Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Unless they’re willing to pay a fair price for your services, your enterprise won’t survive, much less grow. Once a customer has progressed from kicking the tires to hiring your landscaping company, a business relationship exists that will require cultivation and long-term care.
Today, given the technology available to businesses large and small, companies generally try to cater to customers on an individual level, making each person feel their individual needs are understood and their patronage appreciated. Keeping your existing customers satisfied is crucial for plenty of financial reasons, of course, but it’s also a key to building and maintaining your company’s reputation.
Still, there’s simply no escaping a hard truth: Achieving real, consistent growth will depend on attracting new customers – more new customers than you can expect to come in based solely on referrals from existing clients.
So how do those prospects find your company? How do they distinguish your landscaping business from those of your numerous competitors?
Know where they are looking
Times have changed. The Yellow Pages are no longer the place to find your company. Now, with the internet at people’s fingertips on smartphones and laptops, your website is more important than ever.
It would be nice, of course, if your site managed to be ranked high in a Google search, but unless your company is huge or has some very savvy search-engine optimization (SEO) in place on its website, making the first page of a Google search may be out of reach. That doesn’t mean your website is any less important.
For one thing, a serious prospect won’t abandon their search for a landscaper after a single page of Google results. Besides, you can try a few other strategies to drive potential customers to your site. For example, having a presence on Houzz.com will put your company in front of people who are searching that popular site for a professional landscaper in their area.
What are prospects looking for?
Any landscaping job can represent a sizable investment, so when a potential customer is checking out your site, they are also checking the boxes on a mental list.
They want to know that you are someone who can be trusted to get the job done. Being licensed and insured is just one way to prove your company is not a fly-by-night concern. For the more demanding of potential clients – who may also be among the most lucrative – provide your license number somewhere on the site so they can check and see that it is still in good standing.
If your previous clients are absolutely in love with the work you’ve done, take advantage of that gratitude and ask them to write a review of the work and your company. Visitors to your site will be able to gauge customer satisfaction from what people say about your services.
Keep an eye on your company’s reviews on sites such as the Better Business Bureau, Facebook and Yelp and try to resolve any of the negative ones, if you can.
One of the most obvious features you should have available for potential clients is photos of your work. People want to know if you can actually do what you say you can do and photos will demonstrate how well your work turns out in the end.
Pictures can also show the scale of work you handle, giving prospects a feel for whether their project is typical or out of the ordinary for your company.
Setting your company apart
If you have an attribute that makes your company stand out, be sure that it is visible on your site. Do you only use organic and sustainable practices? Do you donate a share of your earnings to charity? These little factoids can win over certain customers.
Other information you can include is how the landscaping process works at your company. By outlining how designs are prepared and implemented, as well as who is in charge of keeping things on track, you make your company more approachable to potential customers.
Providing such information on your website, you’ll not only improve the chances of bringing in prospects but you’ll also save both your company and its potential customers a lot of time. If you’ve already answered so many of their questions online, when they do pick up the phone to call, you can get right down to business.
One last observation: It may be foolish to underestimate the importance of the web, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong about the power of word of mouth.
People will ask friends and family for recommendations, and your work for an existing client may sometimes prompt inquiries from a prospect about the company that did it.
Establishing and maintaining good relationships with architects, landscape architects, nurseries and garden centers is a smart way to build business. Becoming active in your chamber of commerce or Associated General Contractors can pay dividends as well.
When it comes to attracting new business, it’s always best to touch every base.