Know your ideal client to boost your bottom line

June 9, 2023 -  By
(Photo: maxkabakov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

(Photo: maxkabakov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

With peak selling season upon us, it’s important to understand your ideal customer. There’s a saying in sales: “Marketing to everyone means marketing to no one.”

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the spring rush — handling the phone and estimate requests, training new technicians and ensuring you have product for spring rounds. Then a curveball; Your equipment breaks down; you lose a key employee or the weather doesn’t cooperate. It’s easy to get distracted and sell as much as we can, but do you know who your ideal customer is?

Building a plan

Building my first lawn care company started with one man, one truck and some part-time help in the office for sales and customer service calls. Before sending out my first batch of marketing brochures, I developed a plan.

We targeted properties within 15 miles based on route density and a lawn size that would keep our product cost manageable and ensure our routes were efficient. As we filled the first truck, we followed a similar process for the second, targeting manageable property sizes, about 6,000 square feet on average. It seemed like we already marketed to every house in the area.

While we kept a database of the leads and continued to follow up year after year, eventually, we had to find other properties. To keep our routes tight, we naturally marketed to the next town over. However, the property sizes jumped to 18,000 square feet on average.

While we charged more, it also took longer to service these stops and they required significantly more product. After getting through our early rounds, blowing through plenty of fertilizer and control products, we analyzed the numbers. We had higher top-line revenue, but our product cost percentages were up. This meant less margin for the business.

With the smaller properties, we had less top-line growth; however, our margins were higher. We could service nearly four 4,000-square-foot properties with the same bag of fertilizer that could cover one 15,000-square-foot yard. Our service price on four 4,000-square-foot properties was much higher than one 15,000-square-foot yard. Also, think of the additional opportunities to sell tick and mosquito services, grub control, aeration, along with tree and shrub care.

Understanding demographics

Understanding the basic demographics of our prospects provided additional ways to reach potential customers and establish ourselves with our current customers.

For example, we researched specifics on customers in several towns with ideal lot sizes that provided the most profit. We began to notice trends: First-time homeowners with young families and senior citizens preferred a professional to handle lawn care.

As a result, we focused on additional ways to reach these types of people in the community. We understood where they worked and played. Sponsoring the youth baseball team, participating in local parades and volunteering at our church were additional ways we’d interact with our ideal customers.

We targeted these same demographics to help systematically grow our business. Growing families are busy. Selling the benefit of having more time with the family without the hassle of maintaining the lawn spoke volumes. Our older clientele preferred doing other activities rather than caring for their lawn. With the peace of mind that our program was top-notch, we guaranteed the work with a 48-hour service call policy. It allowed us to build high retention numbers and accelerate our growth.

Look for trends

Before your next selling campaign, look at your most profitable customers. What trends do you notice? What do their properties look like? Where do they live, work and play? Where do you have the fewest callbacks and the highest retention rate?

Odds are, you’ll see a trend. That’s your ideal customer. Next step, as part of your marketing strategy, locate similar property developments to where your ideal customers live.

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