Did you ever go shopping for a used truck … only to drive away in a new, fully-loaded, SUV? Congratulations. You’ve just been upsold. At U.S. Lawns, we support and encourage upselling—but not this kind. In fact, when we say “upselling,” we’re talking about a different approach that’s not only customer friendly, it’s a key touch point in your customer connection.
What’s the difference? Simple. Sales-based upselling aims to make a profit by convincing customers to buy more. We practice relationship-based upselling, which aims to responsively meet customer needs. As Vice President Mike Fitzpatrick points out, clients expect relationship-based upselling from a good vendor.
“Customers expect us to make recommendations that improve the appearance of their properties,” he says. “Suggestions need to be reasonably priced, fit in with the type of location, and be discussed with the customer prior to submitting the price.”
RFA Brian Steers says local franchises don’t do this enough. In fact, he’s working on a tool to help owners and their teams identify upsell opportunities on the job.
“Clients want to see you’re making suggestions, even if they don’t take them,” Steers says. “These could be select services, enhancements, or anything horticultural in nature. The key is just listening to client needs and proposing something that actually helps.”
For example, Steers suggests telling a client if a tree is going to die six months down the road, or if a shrub is blocking their signage. Any property manager will thank you for taking time to care, and that builds customer retention.
“Upselling is also a touch point because it forces you to interact with your customer,” Steers explains. He advises owners to stop by and walk their clients’ properties, or just say hello. In the process, you’ll probably hear something that could spark a landscaping suggestion. Mike Fitzpatrick agrees, suggesting quarterly QCs inspections as a great opportunity “for you or a sophisticated crew leader” to touch base. But don’t show up with a proposal in-hand every time, says Steers. “This is definitely about building relationships.”
However, there’s no denying that owners who upsell make more profits—and those who don’t are leaving money on the table.
“Enhancements are more profitable,” says Steers. “You can’t get too busy with maintenance that you lose these opportunities.”
It’s an important part of business we all need to pay more attention to. Your customers will thank you—and so will your balance sheets. Win, win.