You probably already know that it’s easier to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a brand-new one.
It’s less expensive too. Studies on acquisition and retention have shown it is 5 to 25x more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to retain one.
Retaining customers doesn’t help you grow. It helps you stay put, right? How do you grow your landscaping business if you’re so focused on your existing customers?
The answer? Upsell them.
Selling additional services to your current customers is a cost-effective (and efficient!) way to grow your business.
1. Be Vocal.
Landscape companies assume that their existing clients are aware of all the services they offer. But that’s almost never the case. One Ohio-based design/build landscape company told us that his business had become so well-known for hardscaping work in their area that clients had no idea they also offered maintenance. In fact, customers had even gone as far as hiring other landscape maintenance companies to service their properties.
Recognizing the need to be more vocal, this company has changed their narrative. Now, when they install a hardscape, they’re always sure to say, “we can maintain your lawn for you, too.” It’s become part of their ongoing dialogue with customers. They never part with a customer before sharing with them all of the different services they can offer going forward.
The fact is, you can’t assume that your customers are perusing your website to see what other services you offer. If you’ve built up a reputation for being good at a particular service—as this Ohio-based company had—then your customers may have no clue that you offer additional services.
Make it part of your ongoing customer conversations, list services on door hangers, or list them on signs. Don’t leave it up to the customer to find out on their own what you have to offer. Find ways to share this information.
2. Offer Discounts.
Discounts are a great way to entice customers to commit to additional services. This is a win-win scenario for both you and the customer. For instance, if you’re a lawn care company and you’re already on site (and have already invested the drive time to get to the property), it makes sense to try and get multiple services out of one visit.
So, you might tell your customers that it would only be “X dollars more” to add on a mosquito control service while you’re already at their home.
But it doesn’t just work for lawn care. If you’ve installed a patio for a customer, you might offer them a “friends and family” discount to sign up for ongoing maintenance work from you. You’ve already established a relationship, which makes them more likely to say yes.
Discounting a future service keeps your existing customers happy, which is good for two key reasons. It may lead to them purchasing other services from you down the road such as enhancement work or additional hardscaping. And, it makes them more likely to recommend your services to others. A discount on your services at the front-end could very well lead to more work on the back-end.
3. Seek Out Upsell Opportunities
When landscape business owners wait for the client to come to them with needs, they’re letting opportunities slip by. Upselling is all about being proactive. Train your crews to constantly be looking for those opportunities to offer additional services.
For instance, if a crew is on the property for their regular mowing work and they notice a tree that could really use some pruning, make sure they know to speak up. They should tell the crew leader or even someone back at the office about this upsell opportunity.
Your crews are on your properties on a regular basis and have the best chance of finding those upsell opportunities. Encourage them to do so. If you want them to be invested in seeking them out, you might even consider incentivizing them for finding work. If they suggest an upsell and it pans out, reward them in some way. That will encourage them to continue to look for them.
And don’t think that you’re doing the customer a disservice by finding a lot of needs on their property. The opposite is true. Most customers will see value in the fact that you’re keeping an active eye on their property and pointing out problems that can be fixed. They’ll appreciate the effort and care you’re putting into their home. That builds greater value into your services.
Of course, you’ll quickly get the sense of whether a customer is one who appreciates upsells or not. If you feel that you are over-selling, and it’s hurting your relationship with the customer, then you’ll also need to know when to back off.
Position Your Business as the “Expert”
Now that you have some good strategies in place to upsell your clients on additional services, you need to get them to agree to those services.
It’s not enough to just say “we offer this service.” You also need to show why you’re the expert in that service—and why they should hire you. This will definitely be easier with an existing client than it would be with a brand-new one. After all, they already know you and have established a relationship. They have come to trust you.
But they still want to know that you are an expert in this additional service that you’re selling.
So, show them.
You’re not just suggesting the upsell but you’re positioning yourself as the expert who should be doing it. The last thing that you want is to suggest a service the customer may not have known they needed—but then watch them hire someone else to do it.
Grow Your Business – From Within
By putting these strategies into play, you should be able to successfully grow your business with your existing customers. Organic growth is ideal because it’s cost-effective and easy.
But you still have to put forth the effort.
Stay in touch with your customers. Treat them right. Those go a long way toward building a lasting relationship. When an upsell opportunity presents itself, you want to solidify the chance that they’ll say “Yes!”
Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.