In the landscaping industry, contractors will come across a multitude of customer requests. Since landscaping needs span a variety of different requirements from homeowners, from lawn maintenance to designing an outdoor living space, the same sales technique may not apply to every situation. Every homeowner is different, and every landscape contracting business is different, which is why there is no “one size fits all” sales formula that will work for every customer. The strategies that work for a middle-income family’s front walkway job may not apply for a high-income family’s backyard poolscape. As a result, understanding your ideal customer is essential to meeting their needs and securing their business.
Why Do I Need to Understand the Customer?
The Ideal Customer
The more landscape contractors perfect their ability to understand the many kinds of potential customers, the easier it will be to refine sales techniques and tailor their pitches to fit the needs of different homeowners. Over time, customer-types can be generalized, making the identification of customer needs simpler and more accurate. Identifying the groups of homeowners that yield the highest success for your business will also help you target your ideal customer. With the perfect customer in mind, you can focus your energy and marketing efforts on targeting that ideal homeowner-type to bring in the highest ROI.
The Negative Customer
When landscape contractors first enter the industry, it may make financial sense to say yes to every job that comes along (that can be feasibly managed), small or large. It is easy for contractors to continue this approach even after they have become an established business. Understanding your ideal customer also helps identify the “negative” customers – the ones that are simply not worth the expense. Developing and understanding each type of landscape customer will help contractors identify early on whether a customer and their specific needs will be worth the time and expenses.
Honing Sales Techniques
As today’s homeowners are more sophisticated about their needs, it becomes more important for the landscape contractor to anticipate and provide solutions for those needs. Identifying a general customer type – or persona – makes this process much easier. Conceptualizing homeowner groups helps develop a language about customer-types that can be shared amongst a landscape team. This language can be used to build a formula that will simplify and improve sales success. For example, if one landscape contractor’s most successful jobs come from customers who:
- Are high-income earners
- Are age 55+
- Are retired
- Have no children living at home
- Have a home value of $500,000 or more
Then, the landscape contractor can begin to tailor their sales techniques to appeal to this type of homeowner. In general, this customer-type may have more expensive ideas with traditional designs in mind. If this is the case, the landscape contractor can be less hesitant about showcasing higher value hardscape feature add-ons, like waterfalls and outdoor fireplaces. However, in this age bracket, these homeowners may also want their backyard to cater to grandchildren. So the contractor may want to introduce family-friendly elements to the design, like a pool with a slide, or safety features, like a screen in front of an open fire.
If the ideal homeowner has a different general profile, however, then the above techniques might not apply. For example, if the customers are:
- Middle-income earners
- Age 30-40
- Working professionals
- Living in a home with no children
- Owners of a home valued between $200,000-$400,000
The landscape contractor may want to alter the sales pitch to include elements that better suit this type of homeowner. For example, these homeowners have no children to cater to, and may be open to designs that are more experimental. As working professionals, they might be looking to create space to relax after work with friends. So the landscape contractor may introduce features like sitting walls or a grill island. A pool may be too expensive for these folks to consider, but a small water feature may be the perfect element to stimulate outdoor relaxation. By understanding the potential needs of the homeowner, landscape contractors can make the customer feel valued and listened to, improving overall sales techniques and success.