10 ways to grow your landscape company during challenging times Email
Written by Kim Naughtin, AEC Consultant Group   
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 05:00 AM

Business growthUnprecedented. That word has been used more times than anyone can count as a way to explain what we are going through.

Unprecedented. Unparalleled. Unmatched. Whichever word you use, we have never experienced such challenges to our health, our society, and our businesses in my lifetime. The world is on lockdown. People are scared. Business owners are concerned. We know we will get through this; history tells us that. It’s the question of “When will this be over?” or “What will it look like on the other side?” that’s impacting many businesses today.

Even though the state of Colorado has deemed the landscape industry as essential, business owners are still concerned. Landscape customers may not have money available for home improvement projects, or they may be worried about the health and safety of their family with contractors at their homes. These issues and more will have a drastic effect on the green industry in what is typically their busiest time of year. 

marketing to do listThe following principles can help you through the uncertainty of the coming months and can even help your business grow during these challenging times.

  1. Keep working. Many landscape businesses are worried, but worrying doesn’t pay the bills. Being proactive does. Landscape companies that choose to keep working through the challenges will be better prepared for success on the other side.
  2. Be visible to your audience. Now more than ever, you need to let your customers know that you are open for business. Consistent use of social media and email marketing, along with refreshing the content on your website, will let people know you are here, you are open, and that you are ready to help.
  3. Focus on leadership. To weather this storm, your team needs a leader. Stay up to date with current industry regulations and abide by all essential business requirements. Communicating your COVID-19 work strategies will help your clients feel comfortable continuing their projects during these trying times.
  4. Call all “no” and “not right now” clients. Reach out to all potential customers who told you “no” or “not right now.” Begin the conversation by seeing if you can be of assistance. You may find out that they never built or finished their project. They may also be experiencing issues with work completed by another company.  You can solve these problems and may even win a new customer.
  5. Use video to introduce your value and services. It can be challenging to communicate your value and services to new customers without a face to face conversation. Create a short video that highlights your services and your importance – why new prospects should choose you. Videos can be emailed, posted on your website, and shared to your social media accounts.
  6. Add a pre-qualification sales call to your sales process. Gone are the days of receiving an inquiry from your website and going to a potential client’s home to learn about their project. Having a conversation on the phone to discuss the project size, location, scope, and budget will help you understand if this is a good lead for your business. Creating a specific pre-qualification process can save you and your team time, energy, and effort.
  7. Strengthen relationships. People like to know they have support, especially during challenging times. Connect with clients, subcontractors, product suppliers, and simply have a conversation. Be a friend, see how they are doing, and ask if they need anything. In these times of social distancing, a simple phone call can mean a lot.
  8. Consider free design services. I know this sounds crazy, but design fees can be a hurdle. It can stop potential clients from working with you. You may find yourself in a position where you need more projects to keep your crews busy. Eliminating this obstacle may be a solution to get a couple more projects on the schedule.
  9. Reach out to past clients. Past clients are your best clients. Now is a great time to connect with past clients. Again, start this conversation by asking if you can be of service. Maybe you only built a portion of their design vision, or there has been a change in the family dynamic – new baby, new home, kids have grown up, or retirement. You never know what sort of project may be on their mind.
  10. Create a formal referral program. If you do not have a formal referral program for clients and with other contractors, now would be a great time to create one. Having a leave-behind with your referral program makes it very easy for clients to pass on your information to their friends and family members. Create a plan that is unique and enticing – too good to pass up.

Now is not the time to do what you have always done, expecting the same results. “The old way” will not serve you or your business in these uncertain times. Now is the time for innovation and fresh thinking that will propel your business forward. There’s no need to reinvent your business – Just do better. Push harder. Work smarter.

Unfortunately, no one has the answer to when we will return to a resemblance of normal. It’s sad, but in times like this, we will see a thinning of the herd. Poor leadership and bad business practices will most likely result in fewer landscape companies. However, those who confront these challenging times head-on and look for opportunities to grow their business will survive and prosper.

Kim Naughtin brings over 20 years of combined experience in the landscape and marketing industries as the owner of the AEC Consultant Group. Kim provides consulting services and education to industry professionals on the importance of marketing and outreach to attract clients, win projects, and boost profits. Contact her at (303) 817-8331 or email [email protected]


Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Making the case for legislative advocacy
IRS announces tax credits for businesses affected by COVID-19
Renewal & Remembrance, Days on the Hill canceled for 2020
Four Colorado-based landscape companies make the Top 100