The contractors doing the best job in water management today are contractors who successfully explain why customers should save water instead of spending time telling customers how to save water. If a customer or prospect does not understand the importance of saving water, they simply will not care about how you save. Make sure you have the following marketing tools in your toolbox and you are well on your way to explaining the why, not the how.
The Leave Behind
A leave-behind piece is printed material that can be left with a customer or prospect. It should answer the question: Why save water? Saving water saves money and improves the health and appearance of your landscape.
Your leave behind should be consistent with your brand. Remember this is a representation of your work. It should present an image your customer or prospect can trust.
Include a photo of your best work. Landscaping is a visual business. We have the opportunity to present work in pictures. Your work should be your best advertisement and you can easily show this with photos.
Always include your contact information, your website, email, phone and/or fax number, and Facebook page. Your leave-behind pieces should make it easier for clients to know what your company can do for them.
When presenting water management concepts to our customers, remember they are asking one question: So what? Keep this in mind and you will never find yourself straying into the world of distribution uniformity, WUCOLS or crop coefficients when trying to make a sale. That “so what” will lead to questions like, Why should I save water? How much money will I save? Will I have a better-looking landscape? Once these questions are answered satisfactorily the next question will be: Can you prove it?
The committees, decision makers and HOA boards we present to typically hear similar promises from all companies. “We do the best work, we care about our work more, we will do a great job for you, and here is our price … is it low enough?”
Promises are made to decision makers who have been lied to before. We don’t provide them with the proof they need to select a higher price and we get mad when they go with the lowest price. Often it is our fault for not providing enough proof for them to select a higher price.
Water management case studies are the proof you and your customers need. Every water management job you start should begin with a case study in mind. Water management provides objective measurement, allowing you to document the results of the changes you made to an irrigation system. Take pictures of the property before you start your work. You should have water use information from your water analysis so you can compare water use to previous years.
Keep your case study simple. I prefer a three-part case study. Part one states the challenges the customer is having. For example: White Horse HOA is a 20-year-old association with steep slopes surrounding homes and many of the slopes were planted with turf.
Part two provides the information for the solution. For example: We removed 60 percent of the turf and replaced it with a more water-wise landscape including drip irrigation. For the remaining turf areas we installed smart controllers that adjust water schedules daily based on actual water requirements.
Part three provides the results: The first year we cut water use by more than 50 percent for a total of $63,000 annually in water cost. This project paid for itself in the first eight months.
A simple challenge-solution-result formula provides the answer to the prove-it question your customer is asking. It provides a solution to their specific problem in an easy-to-understand manner. It provides the justification the customer needs to say yes to a higher price.
If you don’t have a job with water management history, you can create a case study when you start a job. The formula is very similar, but instead of results you include expected results.
For example: Based on our water use analysis, White Horse HOA will save 50 percent on water the first year, which equals $63,000 in annual water costs savings. Then supply a reference name and number for the prospect to call to see how the savings are progressing at another job. It is not as effective as actual results, but much more effective than just a blanket promise to save water. You need a case study for all the customer segments you work with. Don’t forget to share these case studies on your website and social media.
These two marketing tools will make a big difference in the revenue you generate in the next few months. Have these ready for client meetings and you will increase the number of sales you make as well as the total value of the sale. If you need help putting these together or would like additional examples please feel free to contact me.