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Author Topic: Monday question for September 27, 2010  (Read 4362 times)
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barb helfman
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2010, 02:34:07 PM »

WOW!  Bill for install AND 2 months of Maintenance/lease?  If it were me, I'd have apoplexy.  This is the worst of times.  Yes, I said it outloud.  The worst of times and unless you let the client know in advance that this is what will happen you run a grave risk of alienating them forever.  Walk softly and carry a large plant on this one.

If it were me, I would do both the install and the 1 month maintenance for FREE and then bill for the next months service.  Everyone gets sooo hung up on the one time charges!  I've said a million times.  Folks, the GOLD is in the recurring.  Not the one time.  Screw the installation.  How much can it be for 10 plants?  100 bucks?  Would I pay someone 100 bucks for a monthly gig?  Youbetcha.  All day long and twice on Sunday.
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natalie_fid
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2010, 02:38:13 PM »

True. and I suppose it really wouldn't matter anyway...especially if they decide to upgrade containers...and you can sell a bloom rotation down the pike as well... and holiday.... and flowers....  Grin Grin Grin Grin


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smallscaper
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2010, 02:56:04 PM »

I don't recall what Brad Miller's take on the first month and install charges was, but I'd bet he would say "no charge" at this point.  FREE is FREE, after all, no?  The subsequent recurring income is the Holy Grail of interiorscaping and five years later, that $100.00 or whatever it is will seem like a distant memory...

Clem
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natalie_fid
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2010, 02:59:59 PM »

agreed
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barb helfman
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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2010, 04:21:11 PM »

Sorry Natalie,
     Didn't mean to react so vehemently.  That is why I dislike communicating by words alone.  No voice inflections, no seeing facial expressions.  Gotta watch how things come across.

Probably one of my reasons for such a strong reaction was that today I had to "downsize" my bug guy.  Seventy-one bucks every other month was just a bit too much to handle along with all the rest.  I had to tell him to come every 4 months instead of every two.  His face sagged and he told me that every time a customer downsizes or cancels his paycheck goes down.  Did I feel badly?  Yep.  Did I remember how he saved me from the huge bug that I found sitting in my bed, wearing a yellow and black striped shirt, eating chips, watching TV and smoking a large cigar?  Yep.  But.....Now I know how our clients feel when they cancel their plant service. 

The takeaway?  YOU are not to blame.  Yes, you give great service.  Yes, you respond promptly.  Yes, yes, and yes.  The hell with it.  I'm going to have dinner with my ex husband (the doctor as my Mom used to say) and see Wall Street.  Maybe the movie will tell me who is to blame.  Sell a few TOPsiders, Joeys, or Sippers for me.  Barb
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smallscaper
Guest
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2010, 04:24:37 PM »

Barb,

Your bug guy should take a sabbatical to New York City...his services are in GREAT demand there with the current bedbug epidemic from South America causing all kinds of freakouts among the urban classes.  Even Howard Stern is advocating for the re-legalization of DDT, blaming "those goddamned hippies", like Rachel Carson, for having it banned in the first place!

Clem
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Julie A. Blymire
Guest
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2010, 05:39:35 PM »

Hey, in our area, it's the stinkin' stinkbugs....ugh!!!

Julie
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smallscaper
Guest
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2010, 05:45:33 PM »

I am amazed at how they get inside the house in such numbers...we have small-mesh screens intact over the attic vents, all the vents under the eaves are intact, window screens, ditto...they must gather just outside the doors and rush in when someone goes outside, or they are doing the spontaneous generation thing somehow.

I have customers calling to ask whether we have anything that will get rid of them, and they HATE it when I tell them that the pick-and-discard method is about the best you can do once they are indoors.  I had one inside a freshly laundered pair of shorts the other day, right in the laundry room!  They don't really bother me, but women seem to have a problem with them.  I told my son, who is a senior in HS, to use them in a project in school...he's taking Science Fiction Lit this semester, and video production next, so he could use them in a sci-fi flick, enlarge them to monster size, maybe put a Vincent Price head on one, and re-make "The Fly" as "The Stinkbug"...a certain "A"...

Clem
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aggaboo
Guest
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2010, 09:43:00 PM »

I'm a bit skeptical about the "free plants and service " thing as far as building lobbies or larger prospects are concerned!

Over the years, we've had many Developers and Interior Designers suggest that they would steer a LOT of business our way if we put FREE plants in their spaces. We tried it with a couple many years ago and found that it was a much more beneficial agreement for them. The business just never seemed to materialize.

I think Ricks concept is a good one as there's a direct correlation between the service that the InScaper provides and the benefit that (s)he receives in return.

Something that's worked well for us is offering "rewards" to new clients for referring their colleagues to us about 60-90 days into our relationship.

It would be interesting to see if the Brad Miller Program is still working for them...

Brad  Huh

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Barb Brixey
Guest
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2010, 08:25:15 AM »

I heard a talk once from a guy about desk realestate.  Barb H you might be able to help with the name.  I think he was from Colorado.
Do you all think give aways (pens, cups etc) help?
Barb B
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smallscaper
Guest
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2010, 09:43:41 AM »

No, that promo swag is all a bunch of crap.  The only purpose it may serve is as a "thank-you" gift to keep your name on someone's desk after the initial install or proposal.  We sometimes give a small plant (4") with our business card attached to the container for that purpose...sort of like planting your flag on the moon.

Clem
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barb helfman
Guest
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2010, 02:56:51 PM »

That would have been Scott Baron of Botanical Design in Seattle.  He and I gave a seminar on Sales at TPIE one year.  He was great.  The desk real estate thing is better understood when you know his lovely wife works for a Promotional Objects company.
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Matthew Gardner
Guest
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2010, 11:43:47 PM »

BarbH, you beat me to the punch.  Scott Barron is one of the savviest marketing pros in our industry - and does the quality of work to back it up.  The desktop real estate Botanical offers is not the usual covered bridge calendar with the company name on it (like your insurance broker gives you at Christmas).  Think handmade pencils, creative recycled materials with the logo imbedded.  The sky's the limit.

Scott once related to me a presentation for a large project.  He took specimen bonsai from his own garden in to a corporate atmosphere.  When the project had nothing to do with bonsai.  He got the job.

It's amazing what happens when you open your mind to possibilities.

MG


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natalie_fid
Guest
« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2010, 02:38:02 PM »

No, that promo swag is all a bunch of crap.  The only purpose it may serve is as a "thank-you" gift to keep your name on someone's desk after the initial install or proposal.  We sometimes give a small plant (4") with our business card attached to the container for that purpose...sort of like planting your flag on the moon.

Clem

I have to slightly disagree wth Clem on this statement..... I have found that unique "swag" does infact drive bsuiness to us... We have pens made from recycled cardboard with our company info on it AND we have clear plastic Vases that have our info printed on them as well that fold flat when not filled with water (or aqua beads) both of which we distribute at any and all opportunities we get. ( Chamber events, when I pick up my dog from the groomer etc...) If we are going to a companies grand opening we fill the vase with aqua beads, wash the soil off a 4" guzmania insert into the vase and give it to the business owner as a congratulatory gift... We have gotten dozens of calls for the same thing to be delivered to thier clients, etc...

Incase anyone in a non competeing market wants to order the clear vases call Linda SMith with A to Z Marketing (941)575-9777
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Matthew Gardner
Guest
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2010, 02:50:27 PM »

Rick is right.  It works or at least it used to. These are different times.
 
One major caution:  Qualify, qualify, qualify.  YES for specifiers and decison makers for large properties/offices etc. NO for the small beauty shop on the corner.  Free plants and service?  You will get several that say "Yes".    Future work?  Hmmm.

Keep us informed how it goes.


We did this a few times during the last recession (or was it the one before that, who can remember Tongue )  For a very very qualified prospect -- one you've already done the dance with and they are wavering over whether to lease, purchase, not have plants, or go with a different vendor, we have given a "One Month Trial at No Cost".   Obviously with plants we could easily re-use for other installations or replacements and same with containers -- nothing custom.   Thinking back, I don't recall it NOT working.  Several of those clients are still with us and one went from a small reception area only 'trial' to two full buildings.

We always offer a no cost flower arrangement to any of our clients wanting to 'test drive' our contract floral  program, and it's mostly successful.

I think the main thing is to be creative, innovative, not afraid to try new ways of thinking and marketing.  If something works, it works and if it doesn't, simply move on to something that does.

MG
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