Mike Kirk actually has customers calling to spend more money with him at the end of their contracts.
The veteran U.S. Lawns owner, based in New Albany, Miss., has perfected the art of the upsell. He’s known in Oxford and Tupelo for landscape enhancements, in addition to maintenance. His team routinely contracts for additional services, not just basics. And it all happens without a single sales pitch.
“It starts with every maintenance customer, no matter how small,” Mike explains. “We develop a strong relationship, and then suggest a long-range plan we think would benefit them. It’s all about listening to their needs, and then showing how we can fulfill them.”
Getting “close to the customer,” as Mike is quick to note, is simply part of the job at U.S. Lawns. His approach is based on the key principles of customer satisfaction and radical personalization. And the results have been highly profitable.
Next to referrals, upselling is the easiest way to grow your business. It’s fast, low on additional overhead, and when done correctly, helps establish your reputation as a premier local business. As Mike and his team have proven, it doesn’t even require marketing. But, it does require sincerity and honest attention to a client's needs.
“You have to really know your customer,” Mike says. “If you present a plan for additional work, it has to be work they actually want. Otherwise, it's not good service, it's just aggressive sales.”
Mike suggests building a “remedial” plan for every customer, and presenting it toward the end of a contract (late summer/early fall, for those on a calendar year). Walk the property with your client, and include pictures in the proposal. At the end of the conversation, if you’ve truly addressed your client’s needs, talk will probably turn to budget.
“If the cash isn’t there, no problem,” Mike says. “We ask our clients if we can help them develop a budget to purchase the services next year.”
This is a huge incentive, because it shows you’re willing to radically personalize your services to work with your client’s financial situation.
And adding enhancement work to your portfolio can benefit your financials, too. In addition to generating new business, it improves your cash flow, by offsetting all the work done during the growing season. The U.S. Lawns Home Office projects that a healthy ratio of maintenance to enhancement work is around 70% maintenance, 30% enhancement.
If you’d like to grow your business, take a look at our select services and enhancements, and then start thinking about your clients’ needs. Are any of them looking for more than you currently provide? As Mike Kirk reminds us, stay “close to the customer” at all times. You never know what opportunities you’ll find.
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