Networking is a critical component of building and maintaining a successful lawn care business — maybe as important as the quality of the services you provide. Your company may be the best around, but it won’t last long if no one knows who you are or what you do. These ideas will boost your networking game whether you’re just starting out or an established pro.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
- If you’re a new venture, it’s much easier to convince residential customers to take a chance on you than to approach bigger commercial clients. Talk to the residents of your neighborhood, and explore the area where your business will be located to meet people. If your company’s been around a while and you’re looking to expand, just walking around and knocking on doors in a new neighborhood is a great way to introduce yourself. In either case, take along some attention-getting postcards and door hangers to distribute. (We know this old-fashioned tactic looks very different under pandemic conditions. It’s not hard to stay masked and appropriately distanced, but it’s hard to predict how prospects may react. It’s completely understandable if anyone decides to save the personal approach for a more appropriate moment.)
- If you haven’t already, join the local Chamber of Commerce and other business and professional organizations in your area, and participate in their programs and events.
- Establish a social media presence. Sometimes called “the new networking,” these apps can potentially reach far more people than you ever could in person.
- LinkedIn is where commercial clients and the companies that court them get together. Facebook and Twitter are better bets for building a residential clientele. Facebook offers inexpensive advertising and a lot of bang for your buck. Angie’s List is free to join and another great source of low-cost, far-reaching advertising. Local listings on Google and Bing are free. The next step, as soon as you can afford it, is a professionally designed website.
- Research shows that people respond most frequently to social media posts by businesses when they perceive the content as personal. In other words, focus on two groups: First, your employees, with photos, short personal profiles, and recognition of educational and professional accomplishments. Second, satisfied customers, featuring their testimonials alongside before-and-after pictures of their lawns.
- To encourage ongoing engagement with your accounts, regularly post content that customers will find useful and interesting. You can offer tips on lawn care beyond your company’s services, helping homeowners with recurring tasks they perform themselves without eroding your business.
- These are opportunities to network in a different sense, picking up tips from peers, scouting new products from vendors, and attending continuing education sessions. Unfortunately, they are among the many public gatherings that would be dangerous under current circumstances.
- Many of this year’s events have been cancelled. Others, like the Deep South Turf Expo, have curtailed their schedules and rethought their offerings. Taking advantage of the fact that it’s easy to socially distance in large outdoor spaces, the Expo’s organizers have creatively integrated their trade show into their golf tournament, with vendors’ booth widely distributed around the course. Stop by and get an inside look at the Maverick. We’ll see you there!