If you have ever browsed any of the lawn care forums on the internet you have surely witnessed a rather depressing sight… Business owner after business owner bellyaching about how life is so unfair. They just lost another job to the guy down the street who undercut their prices yet again. Boo hoo.
Well, it’s easy to blame our competitors for another job lost but we would be much better served if we looked at how we can change the situation. Because guess what, those cheapo competitors are never going away. That means we must step up, accept it and deal with it.
I am willing to bet, the number one problem for these bellyachers is not the competitor down the street or the price shopping consumer. It is their marketing that is the problem. It does a lousy job defining exactly why a consumer should pay more to use them in the first place.
Instead they offer ever cheaper prices in an attempt to lure the customer in.
But guess what? Consumers don’t REALLY care about a $10 difference in price. They spend that much at Starbucks every day.
They simply don’t know WHY they should they spend more on lawn care service because we aren’t giving them a reason.
So can we blame them? Would YOU pay more, if all of your choices appeared to be the same?
But that is exactly what is happening every day, one lawn company after the next, all looking the same, all sounding the same, all acting the same and in the consumers mind, appearing to be the same.
The problem is, when you look the same, sound the same and act the same as everyone else, the only remaining difference a consumer can see is your price.
So initially, to the uneducated consumer, Joe Bob down the street just working to get beer money for the weekend doesn’t appear to be any different than the licensed and insured company running 10 crews charging a fair price. They might have a nice logo… but at the end of the day they are just cutting grass. Right?
Fortunately, there is hope.
There is one question we can ask ourselves, that gets to the very core of what marketing is all about… This question should define your company and what you stand for as an organization. The question is…
Why should someone buy from you instead of everyone else in your market?
The better your answer is to this question, the higher prices you can charge and the easier it will be to close sales.
The secret to not competing on price is getting really good at answering this question.
Now the answer to this question, it comes in the form of how you look, what you say and what you do.
That is everything that is visible to a potential customer before they purchase from you. This “marketing message” defines your company and directly affects a consumer’s decision to buy from you instead of the lazy half price guy that only shows up when he isn’t hung over.
That means your website, truck branding, online advertisements, the text on your direct mail pieces, how you sell and even how your crews act on the job in public view define the why.
If the reasons why someone should buy from you aren’t evident in how you look, sound and act – then you must do a better job communicating this in your marketing message or continue to get undercut at every turn.
As business owners we must define exactly why we are the best choice a consumer can make.
If we don’t know why, then our potential customers certainly don’t know either and they will continue to choose the cheaper commodity service provider.
It’s up to us to educate the consumer on how they should make their decision.
It’s up to us to show them how we are different than our competitors.
It’s up to us to show them how they will get more than they pay for when they choose us at a higher price.
Do you show up when you say you will? Do you always answer the phone? Do you proactively monitor their property for trouble spots? Do you guarantee your work? Does your maintenance program include refreshing the mulch for free? Do you call the client when there is a rain delay? Do you have 23 point onsite checklist your crew goes through before they ever leave the property? Does it include closing the gate to make sure the dog doesn’t get out?
Are these things being communicated in your marketing? If not, they should be. Because they are a whole heck of a lot more important to consumers than one ten dollar bill.
Marketing at its core, is really all about highlighting these differences between us and them (our competitors). It’s in these differences that we can really distinguish ourselves as the leader in our markets and charge premium prices with healthy profit margins.
Your marketing message: how you look, what you say and what you do must define these differences.
So, WHY should someone buy from YOU versus anyone else in your market?
The better your answer… the bigger your profits.