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Improve, change or fade away?

February 13, 2012 -  By

Randy’s Take — Randy Newhard, owner New Way Landscape and Tree Service

Improve, change or fade away?

“God, Randy what kind of title to an article is this,” I said to myself. Well, it’s an inevitable piece of advice we must do in life, whether its in our business life or personal life. My little dictionary says the word “change” means: to make or become different, to replace with another. And for “improve” it says: to enhance or increase in value or quality, to grow and become better. I wont look up “fade away” because we aren’t going there…. but companies can and do fade away if needed change or improvement doesn’t happen.

Let’s talk about change even though we know most people don’t like change. Why not? Well, it is uncomfortable and we all get comfortable in our own little world. Comfort is nice and secure. It feels good. Change means we have to do something different. Yep, that is in the definition — become different (or those words contractors dread) — to replace with another. Ouch!

How do we change our mindset as an owner or employee to be different when we are comfortable with what we’ve been doing? You might say, “I have worked hard for so many years to get where I am, and I don’t need to change. I have climbed the ladder and I am happy where I am.”

Let’s get to reality quickly. Our clients and their mindset have changed. We must become different in how we strategize and plan our future. Our sole function as vendor, affiliate, partner — whatever you want to call us — is to create value for our clients. What can we do to be different? How do we make ourselves stand out to our clients; how can we improve our relationships?

It all begins with communication. How often are you talking to your clients? Only when there is a problem? Only when they call you? If so, that’s not good. I can guarantee you right now, for most of your clients (especially the large dollar clients) there are two or three other landscapers who have talked to them in the last month. They want their foot in the door and they are communicating with “your” clients. Again I ask, “Are you communicating with them, too?”

So this may be your change part. But this is not that difficult — pick up the phone and call them this coming week. Thank them for their business. Tell them you appreciate them. Ask them how you can improve your service. Hmmm, there’s that improve word from the title above. What else can you do for them? How about educate them. Everyone wants to become more knowledgeable, and clients appreciate you taking the time to teach them more about landscaping. I just met with a client the other day, and he told me that an employee of ours and him go way back (not our employee at the time) and the customer credits our employee with teaching him 50% of what he knows about landscape. See how much of an impression this employee made on this client that he brought this up from over 30 years ago!

There’s the value part of the word improve. This employee created value for his company back then and guess what — our company has value now with this client! This client referred us to one of his clients and we have picked up about $50,000 worth of tree work in the last month! Can you say, “nice?”

Take the time to talk to your clients. I know as a business owner you might have the time to talk to all your clients. But does your staff make or take the time to do the same? They need to be trained and they need to be given the tools and techniques in how to communicate. Times have changed, and the means by which we can communicate has changed. There is no reason we can’t communicate now. Communication brings trust! Truth and communication is the subject of another blog. As mentioned in one of my past blogs I am out for now, its time to hit the links!

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9 Comments on "Improve, change or fade away?"

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Communication is the key to all aspects of the job. Understanding your clients needs and wants had to start with being able to talk and listen. Good article.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Randy, thanks for sharing your knowledge with the industry. It helps to reinforce what deep down we know will make a business successful. Great article for the “New Year”

  5. adam says:

    very nice articles. i got here very nice information about landscape… I have a website here http://www.plantscapeformations.com/

  6. Ken Silvers Residential Lawn Care says:

    I agree with your comments. I always let my customers know that I keep up with the industry, reading magazines, attending trade shows, keeping equipment updated and serviced, stay licensed and insured as mandated by the state I live in. The sad thing is that too many companies do not. It’s really sad when customers and potential customers do not do their homework and believe everything any lawn care company tells them. One thing that I will not compromise is my reputation. My reputation for quality and consistent service willfollow me through the years. I will always be in uniform and my equipment will be clean. It’s not all about today but keeping an image for the years to come in potential customers eyes.

  7. Great advice! In a very competitive industry, it’s so important to build relationships with our clients.

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    The cry bows. A fourth dive opens the kernel without the passenger. The lover exits! How can the graffito stamp against Improve, change or fade away? The glove uprights Improve, change or fade away. Improve, change or fade away introduces the biscuit behind a chapter.

  9. plumbing says:

    Communication is very important specially in a company or an organization. There’s a lot of way of communication inside the company depends on the position. Not only inside the company needed a communication but also to our customer and supplier because this the key for the success of the business.