Are you afraid you won’t be able to scale quick enough when you implement an online marketing strategy?
I have a recurring concern that keeps coming up when I speak to lawn care business owners that contact my company and ask us to handle their marketing. One of their concerns is they want to do online marketing. They know they need to be doing online marketing, but they might still be small. They might still be doing less than 250k and they’re afraid that they are going to get more work than they can handle. They’re afraid they’re going to get too many leads, too many new clients and they’re not going to be able to fulfill them at the same level of service that they take care of all their other customers. That is an awesome problem to have. Having more work than you can handle is the best place to be. There’s no such thing as too much demand.
This is a very real concern for a lot of companies and it’s usually because it’s very difficult for lawn care and landscaping companies to find and keep employees. I talk to so many a year and this is a recurring theme. It’s very difficult to find new staff. It’s very difficult scale quickly because it’s hard to find those workers. This is one of those roadblocks that business owners in our industry run into all the time so I completely understand. Having too much demand, having your phone ring off the hook, that’s what we want.
Let me give you a real world example. We had a client. He’s been with us now for about two years. The first season that he was with us he quite a bit smaller than he is now. We let loose a full blown online marketing campaign. He was all behind it. Come peak season he was getting so many calls that he called us one day out of the blue and said, “Hey man, can you guys turn off the … can you stop what you’re doing for this particular service because I’m getting too much demand that I can’t fulfill all the requests for the service? Will you stop doing SEO for it? Will you stop doing paper clip for it? Will you stop marketing my services because I can’t fulfill all the request for work?” I said, “What? Are you crazy? We’re not going to do that. This is exactly what you want. This is exactly where you want to be, having so much demand that you can’t handle the work. This is awesome. This is perfect.” He said, “But I can’t take anymore customers. I can’t handle the work. I don’t know what to do. I can’t find guys to do the work.” I actually kind of scolded him. Andrew, I know you’re watching this video. I’m sorry, but it’s because I want you to be uber successful. I want you to be super successful at what you do. Demand should never be a problem.
What do you do if you can’t quickly scale and you have more work than you can handle but you don’t want to lower your service standards, which you shouldn’t because that’s your reputation at stake? What do you do? You rubberize your pricing. Rubberizing. What does that mean? That means your pricing should be flexible. It should expand and contract with the demand in your market especially at times when you can’t service everybody who wants to use you. Like I said, that’s a great problem. If you have high demand and you can’t service everybody at the same quality standards as your existing customer base, raise your prices and if they really want you, they’ll pay. There’s a couple of benefits of this. You’re going to eliminate a lot of the price shoppers. You’re going to eliminate the people who are usually a lot of hassle and not very profitable. Raising your prices is automatically going to filter those people out right away. It’s also going to limit the amount of new work that you take on, but if you’re taking it on at a higher price, at a higher profit margin, it becomes more effective and since you may have more profits, you’ll be able to add more staff and be able to afford more staff because you’re making more in profits and doing less work. You’re taking on less customers but they’re more profitable customers because you’ve raised you’re prices. Okay? Think about that. If you’re too busy, don’t sacrifice quality by trying to take everybody one when you’re fully booked. Raise your prices and take on the people who still want to use you.
Here’s what not to do. Do not ignore your phone. I’ve seen companies do this so I feel like I have to say something because if one person did it, obviously somebody else is going to do it. Don’t do that. Answer your phone. Ignoring your phone or letting all your calls go to voicemail because you’re too busy is stupid, dumb. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. I said it three times. You can’t do it. What happened when this particular company that I’m talking about when they did this very same thing? They let all their calls go to voicemail. They just stopped answering their phone. They were too busy. They were overwhelmed. You know what happened? They got negative reviews. They got negative reviews from leads, people who were calling them to give them their money but they weren’t answering their phone so these leads left negative reviews on their review sites, on Google Plus, saying just that exactly. “I called you guys twice. I left two voicemails. I was looking for help with my lawn, but I never even got a call back. Don’t hire these guys.” That’s not a shocker.
Two, what if your clients are trying to reach you? They’re calling you and they keep getting you’re voicemail. A lot of clients, they’re not going to leave you a freaking voicemail. They’re not going to have patience for that. They want a response. They want you to be on top of it. You’re going to start getting clients who are going to get pissed off because their calls to you who they’re doing business with aren’t getting answered. You’re going to make your clients unhappy and that can also generate negative reviews but more importantly that can also cause you to lose clients because they’re trying to reach out to you. Don’t not answer your phone. Don’t do it. Answer your phone always.
I know what you’re thinking. One of your concerns might be that they’ll never call you again because you’re going to get a reputation for being too expensive. Okay? What’s worse? Having a reputation as being the expensive service provider, the premium service provider in your market or the guy who took on another client that he couldn’t handle and delivered poor service to? Okay? By raising your prices, you let the decision fall on your potential client. It’s up to them whether or not they hire you at that higher price. You’re leaving the choice on them.
Let me remind you if you are taking on new clients at this new temporary higher price, you better damn well be giving them good service. Keep that in mind. You also need to do something else that’s very critical. You need, and you should already be doing this, you need to be collecting the lead information of everybody that calls you. If they’re wanting to sign up for service and they’re not going to sign up because of your price point because you’re temporarily too expensive, you need to be collecting their name, address, phone number, email, as much information as you can get so you can market to them in the future when your prices go back down or next season, something. Put them in your sales pipeline. Collect their information. You want to market to those people again. They’ve expressed desire. That’s a very key point as well.
To recap. High demand is not a problem. That’s fantastic. You want it. That’s what we strive for. Raise your prices temporarily especially when you can’t handle more work, but don’t turn away jobs. Let that be up to the prospect. Let them choose you at a higher price point, at a premium point, at a more profitable price point if they decide to. Make sure that you deliver high quality service at that new price point, but leave the decision up to them. Don’t just stop taking work. Raise your prices temporarily. Who knows? You might decide that this is the price point that you want to stay at. You don’t know. That’s going to be up to you and your market.