Business Smarts: Route Density Practices to Avoid - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Business Smarts: Route Density Practices to Avoid

Route density is a key to becoming more profitable as a lawn care company, but there are some practices that might not be worth the effort.

Below are some methods that other companies have opted not to use when it comes to increasing their route density for their business.

Door-to-Door Sales

Often thought of something from the bygone era of salesmen pitching everything from vacuum cleaners to encyclopedia collections, door-to-door pitching is an option to build density in neighborhoods you already serve.

The problem is that to even make three sales going door-to-door, you’d need to pitch 20 homeowners at a 15 percent conversion rate.

Adam Jackson, owner of Nature’s Turf, based in Fayetteville, Georgia, says they don’t do door-to-door because he’s not going to ask his employees to do something he wouldn’t want to do himself.

“I’ve never actually met someone who’s bought something from someone going door- to-door,” Jackson says. “I hear of these companies like ‘Oh this XYZ they got 2,500 customers from a door-knocking campaign with college kids, but I don’t actually know anyone that’s ever bought anything besides Girl Scout cookies door-to-door.”
Jackson says while their company not using the door-to-door strategy, he has seen a resurgence of door-to-door pitches in lawn care and pest control. He argues that door-to-door sales all come down to price and they don’t want to be the lowest cost option.

Rich Green Lawns LLC, based in Jackson, New Jersey, doesn’t use the door-to-door sales model either.

“When serving properties, we make it a point to have verbal communication with anyone that is home,” says Eric Lehmann, business operations manager for Rich Green Lawns. “It is important for our professionals in the field to build a relationship with the clients they are servicing. By building trust with the client, they are elevating the respect they receive. When our clients are happy with their technicians, we find this to be the best way to acquiring their neighbors as clients.”

Bob Grover, LIC, president of Pacific Landscape Management in Portland, Oregon, says he does have interns visit properties on their prospecting list to capture information such as who is the decision maker, but they’re often looking to see if they’re not happy with their current vendor.

Offering Discounts

Lehmann says they typically don’t offer any special discounts to customers. They do offer a referral credit to their existing clients and new customer discounts.

“We pride ourselves on not being a sales pitch but rather a resource,” Lehmann says. “We advise/educate the prospect from experience and the latest data and tools available. The results will speak for themselves, that is why they are calling us.”

He points out that the main reason a homeowner turns down a sales pitch is because they are shopping around for the best price and not necessarily the best quality service.

Grover says rather than saying ‘I can save you a lot of money,’ they try to find out if a potential customer isn’t satisfied currently and if they can do something better and promotes their services.

Making Cold Calls

Similar to going door-to-door, cold calls follow the same principle of contacting someone who is not ready to buy and trying to pressure them into a sale.

“We find the cold call strategy to be antiquated in today’s ultra-competitive market.,” Lehmann says. “We put ourselves in our prospect’s shoes. The last thing I want, as a homeowner, is a sales call about something I did not inquire about.”

When it comes to building density effectively it’s all about being known for your quality work and having top-of-mind awareness when a person is ready to find a new lawn care or landscape maintenance provider.

 “The least effective approach to building route density is a copy and paste approach,” Lehmann says. “Every neighborhood is different and what resonates with one crowd does not always work with another. Between mailers, social media, advertisements, there are a lot of different tools available. There are many different factors we need to think about when marketing a neighborhood. You will know when the right on sticks!”

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.