How to upsell? Market well

October 22, 2014 -  By

It amazes me when fellow business owners get upset when one of their customers uses another company to perform a service they also offer.

For example, earlier this year the owner of a landscape firm expressed frustration to me when a lawn maintenance client hired a competitor to install a walkway. He also offers this service.

A few months ago I was guilty of the same thing. I had my house painted by a local painting company. I struggled to find a firm that was reliable and competitive. After weeks of collecting quotes, I selected someone I thought would do a quality job on time. About a week later I got a phone call from the handyman I use for most small projects and repairs around my house. He sounded a little annoyed, but he remained calm as he asked why I didn’t offer him the opportunity to quote the painting project. I was honest with him and told him I had no idea his company performed large exterior painting projects. Additionally, while he was at my home doing other repairs he never mentioned to me that he had concerns about the paint peeling off my home’s exterior.

In other words, he wasn’t proactive in providing me with a quote or asking if his company could have the opportunity to paint my house.

I’ve made this mistake many times with my own lawn care firm. I’ve seen my clients hire a competing company to treat trees or perform flea and tick spraying. But I was never frustrated with my client; I was frustrated with myself for not communicating with them enough to explain we offer these services.

Don’t assume

Over the years, I’ve owned and managed the sales for service companies, and I’ve stressed and reinforced to my sales team that the world doesn’t revolve around us. It’s our responsibility to market and educate our customers about our services and how they may meet their needs.
As business owners we often make the mistake of assuming our customers know all our services.

Selling supplemental services to your customer base is not only profitable, but it also creates more loyalty from clients who will continue to do business with you year after year.

At Noon Turf Care, we study the results of our marketing and sales campaigns each year. More than 30 percent of our annual revenue growth comes from add-ons sold to existing customers.

We all know how much easier it is to provide more services to an existing customer who trusts you than it is to get a new customer. So how do you sell extra services to your customer base? Start by making sure the supplemental services you sell are adding value and filling a need. You do this with education and reinforcement.

For example, if your lawn or landscape company has a client who only buys regular lawn maintenance and you also prune trees, let them know. Explain the benefits of regular tree and shrub pruning (for both aesthetics and health), and let them know that your company offers this solution. You can do this in person, over the phone or even by email. Your add-on services will sell themselves as long as you educate clients by diagnosing a problem and anticipating a need.

The other method to selling supplemental services is to always be marketing to customers by staying in front of them. It starts right at the point of sale with a new customer. Let them know the other services you provide when they first contract with you. If they don’t buy the extra service right away, at least you planted the seed.

As you onboard a new customer it’s also important to market to them consistently and make them aware of the other services you offer. Schedule these follow-up campaigns when your company typically performs the services. Some ideas are having the sales/production teams leave education tips on leaflets when they’re on-site, send postcards in the mail, do dedicated email campaigns or include up-sell services in a regular newsletter.

It’s our job as professionals to make sure the customer is aware of our services. That way when their property needs something, they buy from us and not our competitors.

 

Christopher Noon is CEO of Noon Turf Care in Marlborough, Mass., and owner of Green Light Consulting Services. Reach him at cnoon@greenlcs.com.

About the Author:

Chris Noon is CEO of Noon Turf Care in Marlborough, Mass., and owner of Green Light Consulting Services.

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