The art of closing the deal
“A-B-C. A—always. B—be. C—closing. Always be closing. Always. Be. Closing… You close, or you hit the bricks.”
This infamous quote likely needs no attribution. From Alec Baldwin’s fiery speech on salesmanship in the acclaimed film Glengarry Glen Ross, few movie lines have been quoted more frequently throughout the years. It’s gospel to salespeople everywhere. Even those who have never seen the movie, or heard of Alec Baldwin (such people do exist), know the lines.
A-B-C. Always be closing.
Of course, closing isn’t as easy as A-B-C. The art of closing a deal is a delicate dance. Be too passive or too aggressive and you might just blow the deal. So, what can your tree service or landscaping business do to hit just the right notes with customers and close deals with Baldwin-esque consistency?
Entrepreneur lists these as the “12 Commandments for Closing a Sale”:
- Remain seated
- Always present a proposal in writing
- Communicate clearly
- Make eye contact
- Always carry a pen
- Use humor
- Ask one more time
- Stay with the buyer
- Always treat prospects like buyers
- Stay confident
- Be positive
- Always smile
Sales tips for tree care professionals
OK, so perhaps some of the above tips don’t necessarily pertain to the tree service and landscaping industry. For instance, remaining seated likely won’t help bolster your close rate. Thus, Tree Views asked tree care professionals on Facebook to share the secret sauce they use to close a deal. Here are some of the responses:
“Know more about trees than the other guy. Be more educated. I sell 80 percent of my bids for this reason.” – Rob in Wichita, Kansas
“Honest, solid advice always sells the job.” – Jay in Jarales, New Mexico
“I usually tell my customers to look up the term ‘hatracking’ before they hire any tree service. It usually leads to us getting the job if they are educated.” – James in San Bernardino, California
“You have to sound excited like you can’t wait to do (the job). It gives you an advantage over the guys who sound too busy. People want people who want to do (the job).” – Joseph in Plymouth, Michigan.
Do certified tree care professionals have an edge?
Must you be certified to perform tree care services? Of course not. Many tree care professionals lament the fact anyone with a truck, chain saw and a ladder can claim to be a tree care pro. However, do tree care professionals who do hold certifications have an advantage over the field? The answer is yes.
James Rosa, owner of Rosa Lawn & Tree, LLC, located in Kansas City, Missouri, said he doesn’t go out of his way to tell clients that he and several members of his crew are certified arborists through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). If it does come up, however, he believes it goes a long way in validating the professional assessment he and his crew provide.
“Other (non-certified) tree care companies can talk all they want about what they see, what they believe to be wrong with a tree, and they may be right or they may be wrong,” Rosa said. “It really depends on how many years of experience they have, how much they really know, to say whether it’s a legitimate treatment. But if you are certified, I definitely think it has a positive impact in getting the client to trust that you really know what’s best for the tree.”
One job at a time
Nothing kills a deal like sticker shock. A perfectly reasonable job estimate can alarm customers who have never paid for professional tree care or landscaping services. Rosa recommends taking the time to describe each job and why it’s recommended. If your client cannot afford to pay for all the recommended services upfront, offer to spread them out over several months.
“If the scope of the work is too much for the client to pay for, we can break the job down into sections,” Rosa said. “We understand people have budgets and we will work with them. There have been situations where we make a recommendation, and the client asks that we do it over the course of several months. We can certainly do that.”
Safety saves the day
What the “fly-by-night” tree services may lack is insurance. No insurance, no bueno. According to Rosa, clients may not fully understand the liability they may shoulder if an under- or uninsured tree care contractor incurs an accident on the job. For that reason, Rosa Lawn & Tree goes above and beyond when it comes to safety.
“Some of our clients come home and think their property has become a crime scene because of how we have it marked off.” Rosa said. “But we take no chances. Safety in this line of work is so important, for our employees and our reputation.”
How do you close the deal?
Does your tree care company close every time? Please tell us how you do it in the comments. Those who leave the best deal-closing tips will receive a complimentary Vermeer T-shirt or hat. Either way—always be closing!
This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Testimonials and/or endorsements by contractors in specific circumstances may not be representative of normal circumstances experienced by all customers.
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