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Connection Through Marketing

April 1, 2021

In this episode of the Green Industry Perspectives Podcast, Ty Deemer welcomes Chad Diller to the show. Chad is the Director of Client Success at Landscape Leadership. Chad shares how he ended up in Landscape Leadership, his marketing perspective on successful landscape companies, how companies can leverage video content.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:

  • The importance of content and in what order to prioritize it.
  • How empathy should influence your marketing.
  • The role of storytelling in your marketing.
  • Tips to improve the efficiency of sales.

LINKS TO LOVE:

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Ty Deemer:

You are listening to The Green Industry Perspectives podcast, presented by SingleOps, a podcast created for green industry professionals looking for best practices, tactics, and tips on running their tree care or landscape business. 

All right, everyone. Welcome back to Green Industry Perspectives. I’m your host, Ty Deemer. And today we get the great opportunity to welcome Chad Diller to the show. Chad Diller is the director of client success at Landscape Leadership. Chad, welcome to the show. 

Chad Diller:

Hey, Ty. Thanks so much for having me on. Appreciate it. 

Ty Deemer:

Absolutely. So Chad we start off every episode of Green Industry Perspectives the exact same way. And we ask the guests, what are the top two to three things or common threads that they see in successful landscape or lawn care, tree care companies? With your experience at Landscape Leadership, what have been the two to three things that have really stuck out to you in successful businesses? 

Chad Diller:

Sure. So in order to answer this question, it’s probably necessary to give the listeners and viewers some background on what we do. So Landscape Leadership, we specialize in marketing, a little bit into the sales processes for mid-size, what I would call mid-size lawn care and landscaping companies. And we work with anywhere from 15 to 20 clients at a given time, pretty in-depth engagements with them. And so as I answer these questions, know that there is something here for everybody. But that is kind of what we specialize in and these companies are very successful. They’re companies that are really growing. And so to answer that question, at a high level, I would say there’s three things. These companies that are successful, of course, they look at things on the short term. Like we’re low in this department for a certain type of work or we want to do this or that. But they really have a long-term strategy in mind and the way that they implement that strategy is more from an investment standpoint than kind of a quick money in, money out standpoint. Of course, they want to get a good ROI. 

So that kind of leads me to the next thing that I notice. Of course, they do their short term campaigns, advertising, that sort of thing. But all the decisions or a lot of the decisions that they make or what we try to help them grow to is getting to this point where they’re making decisions about their marketing spend and decisions based on data. In this business, marketing is a little bit of experimentation, but it’s really important that you use whatever piece of information to either prop up your assumptions about what you should do or what’s happening exactly. And then if the right outcome isn’t happening, then you start to pivot and you say, okay, well, this is happening. Then how can we make something else happen instead? So data-based decisions are something that they look at and we look at together on a regular basis. And then the other thing, and this is why a lot of them come to work with us because most companies I think the normal thing they do is they will start working with their hometown marketing agency or someone that they’ve gotten a referral from. And a lot of these agencies are generalists. They might work for a plumber, landscaper, medical practice office, orthodontist, e-commerce company, sales and products. And so they have a lot of great principles but it’s hard for them to get really specialized. And so all the clients that we work with, that’s kind of where they’ve gotten to. They’ve gotten so far with those types of vendors. And so now they’re looking for outside experts not just in marketing and sales but in all areas of their business. You’re talking financial planning, operations, looking at their business structures, that sort of thing. And they’re looking instead of generalized to really, really specialized vendors that focus on their industry. 

Ty Deemer:

Great. Yeah. And I love your answers there. Because one thing that we talk about on this podcast regularly is just being in tune with the numbers of your business and that isn’t something that marketing doesn’t involve with in this space. Like you can make data driven decisions when it comes to your marketing budget or starting a marketing budget. And we’ll dive into that later on for sure. We always like also to provide the audience with the background of the guest and just where you came from, kind of where you are today. I know you’ve got a pretty cool story about how you shifted from actually being in-house at a landscaping company to then working with Landscape Leadership. So just tell the audience kind of your background and your story. 

Chad Diller:

Well, in 1998, in the northern suburbs of Dallas, when I got my first job spraying lawns, if you would have told me where I’d be today, I would have kind of just laughed. Because at that point in time, it was all about paying the rent. It was really what was on my mind. I was in my early 20s. I started working for a company down there spraying lawns, moved back to Pennsylvania, worked for a national company, moved to a regional company, picked up tree care in the middle of that, doing application works and that sort of thing. And I always enjoyed sales. I’m a relationship guy. I’m an extrovert. I like working with people. So I used to sell stuff as a tech out on the field all the time. And when an opportunity presented itself at this local regional company, it was about a $13 million company when I left, for an account manager position, I was all over it and I wanted to do it. Consultative sales was where I wanted to be and I felt really great about the company. And so I entered into about seven years of being an account manager there and going beyond my lawn care and tree care background into trimming trees and doing maintenance projects, small design build, and involving designers into larger design build things. And then we started structural pest control which was a whole new thing. 

And then about 2012, when I was probably about eight or nine years into my stint there, I started noticing some things about the marketing. And I hadn’t gone to school for marketing. I had an eye for things in one respect. But I started noticing there’s just kind of disconnects in some of the things that we were doing and some missed opportunities. This was when Facebook was becoming really popular and when some of the innovators, now I think most landscape companies are on there, but some of the innovators were getting involved in that and starting blogs. and I was like, man, we need to start doing this. This is just a great opportunity that we can show up in search and get leads and all that. And so they let me kind of do that in the midst of sales and then I said to them, listen, we need to do this full time. And eventually, it was an evolution. We got to that place in the process. And then I took on a full-time marketing director position there and did all the marketing. So worked with vendors like me, digital marketing agency and print houses and all that stuff, sponsorships. Anything you name that people do to promote a lawn and landscape company, we were pretty much in it. And so that gave me about four years’ experience. In that time frame is when I found Chris, our CEO and founder through one of the webinars just kind of like this and I loved his content. We became kind of professional friends. And make a long story short, a few years later, he had a position available and that’s been almost five years ago. And so I now basically do what I was trying to do for ourselves with a bunch of landscape companies and use all the information that I’ve learned over the years to try to help them win better in their market. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. That’s great. And it’s cool that you just have the background of actually what it looks like to build out those programs as someone that’s within the company. That experience is invaluable to working with those clients I’m sure. So when we talk about marketing in the green industry, whether it’s for a landscape company, tree care company, I do think there’s this kind of aura around it where it’s intimidating to a lot of people. It’s not why people got into the industry typically. And there’s an element to that that makes it just seem like, ah, like do I really want to invest in this area? And I follow you on LinkedIn and I see a lot of the content you’re pushing out. And a lot of it is towards the person to convince them to start investing at like a baseline level, kind of like the non-negotiables of a marketing program to promote your green industry business. And one of those is your website and the importance of why a website is key to the success of your business. So for the audience that’s listening that maybe hasn’t updated their website in five years or their website’s slow and clunky or maybe they don’t even have a website, what would you say to them to say, hey, this is like step number one, get a website, set it up, it’s important? 

Chad Diller:

Yeah. I think if you’re at the place, and I don’t want to pick on anybody that’s at this place, but like if you’re at the place where you’re contemplating if you should have a website or if you should update it and it’s been five years, you’re way behind the curve. So that should be a top priority for you. I don’t need to explain how people shop today online. I mean I think it’s just basic information that most people have learned by now. Showing up in search and people getting your website, whether it’s from a lead generation standpoint or whether it’s who are these people and how are they completely different than just another landscaper that’s down the street, it’s a validation tool. It’s a lead generation tool. It’s what I believe the most important asset that your company could ever have in your marketing mix. And a lot of companies are just not giving it attention. And so it’s really important for you to invest in something like that. It’s a true investment. There’s a couple reasons behind that is because you own your website. It’s not like a social media presence or a mail campaign or even any type of entity that’s out there online. This is something that you have almost complete full control of, that you can influence, and that if you do it right, you can build this investment and improve it as time goes on. It doesn’t mean that you build one website now and five, six years from now, you shouldn’t redesign it. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that you can enhance it. It’s something that you own versus a campaign. I always say that it’s kind of like you turn the hose on for an ad campaign. When you turn it off, guess what happens to all the leads in traffic? They’re done. And that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do those types of campaigns. But if you invest in the right strategy that drives traffic to your website, good traffic and gets really great leads out of that, that’s going to continue to pay off for you. That’s an investment that we had talked about. 

I also see the ROI is amazing if you do things correctly and focus on driving organic traffic to your website, meaning people put things in search engine. Like they’re asking a question. It’s not always so obvious as landscapers near me. They’re asking questions. And if you can figure out a way to connect with people who have questions and give them a really valuable answer, they’re going to be more likely to deal with you. And so we see clients that we work with getting sometimes 10 times the results with that type of strategy than they would with email campaigns, social campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns as far as it relates to an ROI. And so that is a really important thing to do because I feel really great, we have clients that just don’t seem to leave. They want to keep working with us year after year. And I feel probably one of the things I’m most proud of is that the clients that have left and have done other things and/or have done nothing are still getting a ton of traffic and leads after we’re done working together. Because I’ve helped them to invest in something that they own that can generate value for them for the long haul. 

Ty Deemer:

That’s cool. And what are some of the changes or what are some of the things that you implement onto someone’s website that it like increases traffic? What are some—I have an idea of what they are. But for the audience that’s listening, what are some things that you implement on your customers’ websites that just like improve the overall performance of it? 

Chad Diller:

That’s a big question. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, I’m sure. 

Chad Diller:

We could talk the rest of the time about that. I mean there’s a technical side of this that things need to be built properly with best practices. They need to be connected to search engines so that they see the content on them. That’s a minimum. The other things are if you go to 10 industry websites and you take the logos off of them and you stripped all the colors out of them, a lot of these websites would look a lot the same and they say the same things and there’s an opportunity to be a little different and to think about your user experience better. So improving the user experience, promoting people to some kind of action, whether that’s I’m just researching or I’m trying to find out more and I want a quote or a consultation, you have to have something for everybody. So that’s something we do. And then as far as getting found in search results, a big, if you follow any of our clients or even us, you realize that content, not just what we would call thought-ish content but really thoughtful content is being written on the blog and that helps over time—again, that investment—earn really great inbound links and help your website authority to get better so that Google would say, hey, no, this is a great place to send somebody to. And it’s again, it’s that long-term strategy. So blogging is a good piece, photo, video, all that stuff. I mean we could talk about that too. Those are also very big priorities. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. That’s a good kind of segue to our next topic is just video is a huge thing that you all promote as a tool for a business to leverage. How should green industry companies begin leveraging videos today? 

Chad Diller:

So people get really excited about videos and rightfully so. Video is awesome. You can tell a story like nobody’s business with video. But it’s important in your excitement not to get that ahead of the other two things that I just talked about, having a great website structurally for search and producing great written content. Search engines are getting better and better about indexing video contents and having that come up in search results. But if you’re ignoring that, you’re going to really suffer. Video is an important thing to do. I always tell people website, content, images, then video. And part of the reason because the expense is so big for video if you do it well. It’s a lot. And I think video has an incredible—and photography—has an incredible capacity to be able to really help to differentiate your brand from all the other self-promoting noise out there. The greatest thing that you could learn as a marketer is how to have empathy for your prospective clients and to really care about what truly matters to them, like the things in their private discussions they would say to their friends or spouse about what really bothers them. If you could see into their brain, if you can learn how to do that and communicate that through video, you connect with your prospective buyer instead of saying, we’re wonderful, you should come to us so we can save the day. And that’s what you see a lot of that. I mean there’s an opportunity in video to tell your brand’s story. I think it’s important to do that but it shouldn’t be your primary goal. You can do that in an about video like on your about page to talk about your company history and the services you provide. 

Your prospective client should be your first priority. And most companies, overwhelming majority of companies in the lawn and landscape industry are not getting the point that the main character, the hero in the customer story is the customer. It is not the company. It is not your smart landscape architect. It is not the guy that can identify every type of disease on your lawn or know how to mulch your property in the fastest way possible. It’s the customer. Without them making a great decision, they’re never going to succeed. Your job is just to be a guide and to help them get there and then celebrate their success instead of yours. And so video is a really great way to do that. And then along the way, as you get further in your video strategy, you can solve really common sales challenges and problems. There are specific things past all these generalized messages that are important, your customers’ story, very specific problems/motivations they have, or specific technical problems that you can focus those videos on. And the ultimate goal is to help remove the friction in the customer experience, to remove the hesitancy that a lot of prospects face when it comes to like, this landscape design build process, it’s so overwhelming. Video is one of those things you can do to make them see, we’ll do the complicated stuff. This is how we’re going to make it easy for you. And so video creates a great opportunity to communicate that like in a minute or two versus a 3,000 word article that, let’s be honest, not everybody’s going to read. And so it’s good to have that to support all the other written content and things on your website that you already have out there. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. I love that topic. Because we talk a lot on this podcast, the great leaders in this space understand that that’s their whole role is to be an advocate for their client. And we had a guest on a few weeks ago earlier in this season that talked about that’s really what they structured their website around. They leveraged more pictures than they did video but it was a tree care company that clearly laid out the services they’d offered and even did like markups of photos, like before and after pictures just to clearly set the stage for what the client could expect when they go on their property. And he mentioned, his name was Noel Boyer, and Noel mentioned like his favorite part about it is that when he gets on someone’s property and they’ve done research on the website, they’re like using the actual terminology in the tree care business. It’s like, he said, I love it when I get on the site and someone says, yeah, I think I need a crown reduction on this tree. And he’s like, yes—

Chad Diller:

No, you don’t. Cut it down. 

Ty Deemer:

It’s exactly, he loves that because it’s kind of the power of the website. As we transition from talking heavy marketing and kind of shifting to sales, which you mentioned earlier is kind of one of your first passion and what you loved, I’d be willing to bet that there’s someone listening to this episode right now that at some point in the last six months, they’ve questioned either their sales process or their sales team in general and how they could help them be more effective. For a leader of a business listening to this or even a salesperson, what would be a few tools or tips that you could give them to help them grow this year? 

Chad Diller:

I think one of the big lessons that I learned is that it expends a lot of energy to just rely on your personality to sell and a lot of salespeople will use their estimate or the proposal to sell. Those things, yes, that will get you a long way and you need to develop soft sales skills and how to sell. But in the instance of just thinking about what we just talked about for a little bit, there are companies that are producing marketing assets that salespeople are not using, to answer these questions, like I said, to answer the questions, whether it’s a video, an article, all those things, how’s the design build process go. There’s all these assets. And companies we work with, successful ones, again, the marketing and sales departments, there’s this huge rift and salespeople don’t understand what they have, how they could use those assets. And the marketing people are producing things without talking to the salespeople about what they really need and the problems they need to solve. And so one of the greatest potentials that you have, whether it’s one person that does the marketing or an outside agency and one person that sells or a whole team over here and a couple people over there, the best thing you can do is bring your sales and marketing teams together and stop operating in these complete different silos independent of each other and see what you can do to enhance your sales team. And then salespeople, it’s your responsibility to learn where the stuff is and how to use it best in your sales process so ultimately it simplifies your customers’ experience and it gives them the value. It gives the validation. That way, you don’t have to sit there and pitch them for 45 minutes and try to convince them that you’re wonderful. You send them something and that would really help. 

The other thing is—and you’ll love this because I know you guys sell an industry platform that has the CRM capabilities—if you’re not using a CRM, again, you’re in the dark ages. You should have something at minimum that allows you to manage your customer database, the leads that you have out in the pipeline, the prospects maybe that you want to work with, and at minimum just kind of the tasks as a salesperson that you have, like call this guy back, three months from now, check back to see if he’s ready now for the pruning job, any of those things. If you’re walking around with notes in your phone, a tablet—and I know they still do it because I have friends that are still selling in the industry. I know you might not like technology. You might have a system that works for you. But you’re missing a huge opportunity to become organized and to just focus on what you have to do each day by using a tool like that. The other level beyond that would be we use some marketing automation tools that allow salespeople to automate parts of that process. Like when this happens, this automatically happens. I don’t have to worry about that. I don’t have to send this. Do whatever. Also, there’s some salespeople out there that are probably listening to this that say, you don’t understand how many leads I have to work with on a weekly basis. I mean like I get these proposals out. It’s barely all I can do. And if I’m lucky to call them back once or twice or have someone else from the office do it, I just have this huge list, especially in the Spring. 

And so one of the things that we have that we use for clients is something that gives them activity notifications. So anything from someone opening an email, clicking on a link, opening a proposal, revisiting a page on your website, if you can get that kind of intelligence, what you can do is look at all the leads that you have and then prioritize the ones that are most engaged and close those ones first instead of the guy that hasn’t opened anything for two weeks. So that’s important to do that. And we also have some clients that are using online meeting scheduling tools. I actually have a video that’s going to be coming out in early April on my YouTube channel about walking through one of those. Eliminating that back and forth, what’s good for you, is this good for you, what have you. And you can just, hey, book a time on my calendar. I think I did it to you when we talked about doing the podcast. And so we don’t have to go back and forth and I can move onto other things. So those are important things to do. 

Other things that you should be using a salesperson is an e-signature tool. Goodness, stop mailing things. And people out there claim that they love trees and then they’re killing so many sending all this paper back and forth. And just you can get things back and forth quicker. And then another one, I’ll give you this as a bonus tip and this is kind of really out there and some of you will be like, what the heck is he talking about, is there is a tool that’s been out for three or four years now. It’s called one-to-one video is one of the terms they call it or personalized sales videos. There’s a couple tools you might want to check out. Vidyard V-I-D-Y-A-R-D or Bonjoro B-O-N-J-O-R-O and both of those, either iOS or Android, you basically can go to a customer’s property and record a video and email or text it to them and be like, hey, I was on the property. I saw this today. Or hey, here’s your proposal. I’m going to explain what this is. And then it’s your video personal countenance also with a piece of paper or something they’re looking at. And I think companies in our industry are missing a big opportunity to really personalize the experience by just using small things on videos. If you’re interested in that, on my YouTube channel, just look up Chad Diller. I have a whole series on how it works, what it’s like on your end, some opportunities or ideas. You could use that on properties to generate more leads for you. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. Vidyard’s an incredible tool. I’m not as familiar with Bonjoro. But like our company uses Vidyard to add a personal touch on emails in the sales process. It’s a great way. Also saves time. It’s way easier than writing out like a nice well thought email. You just hop on a call and it’s very personal. You remind them of what you discussed on the call and why you’re sending them what it is. That’s a great tool. And then in general, I feel like a lot of the stuff you just highlighted was touching on efficiencies and speed of delivery and speed of service to the customer. There’s definitely a subset of the industry that understands how important that is. But it’s just consumerism has changed. Everyone expects a speedy experience and it’s just gotten to the point where we call it, it’s like the Amazon Prime like experience. It’s like yeah, I want it then and I want it now and I want it to be predictable. And if you’re still putting things in the mail and not delivering things even like same day, you’re really falling behind. And it might be okay right now but your competition in your space is eventually going to pass you. 

Chad Diller:

Yeah. And I think from a salesperson’s perspective, they’re like, oh, it takes so much time to do this. And you think about it. If you had half the people to work with a day that you do right now and you could close more, what would you rather do? And so a lot of times when you look at these processes, yeah, there are some of these things that you eventually figure out it isn’t worth the payoff. It takes too much time. But to not make that knee-jerk reaction right away and say, oh, I don’t have time to record videos every time I send a proposal out. Think about it. If you send out less proposals and you close more of them, I mean I’d be able to go home earlier for work and do those sorts of things. And so it’s important to kind of reframe the way you look at things as far as what time it takes you. Because it really can make your life easier. It’s like taking that one step back to take three steps forward. That’s really how you have to kind of scrutinize these things and look at them. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. And going off of that, like the sales conversation things that can improve, it might be good to look at that question kind of in the inverse is, what do you see some of the biggest mistakes landscapers are making in terms of sales and business development? Like where are we falling short? 

Chad Diller:

Yeah. I think the biggest thing is wasting time on bad fit prospects. Some of that can be addressed in the marketing process. The positioning of your company, as you grow and you do more revenue, you’ll realize these types of customers, these types of jobs are a pain in the butt. We don’t make any money on them and everybody wants to kill each other. And so as you position, like let’s just say the size of job you do, how far you travel for work, all those sorts of things. So if you limit that and then you start getting into this, listen, if someone requests a quote, I’m not going out to the property before I talk to them. Be like we’re going to have a conversation on the phone for 15 minutes first. And that might be reasonable for like a bigger ticket item that you might have more work behind like a design build project. But you should spend way more time on the front end qualifying your leads and have like a call sheet, like very specific list of questions that will help red flags pop out like that. Like are you getting other estimates? How many other estimates are you getting? The guy says he’s getting five estimates, well, that’s one red flag. If you say, what’s the basis of making your decision, is it this, this, or this? And the guy says price. I’m getting five leads. And all of a sudden, then you can determine am I good fit? Do you have approximate budget for this project? No. Okay. Well, typically these start at this and then can go all the way up to here. And the guy goes, oh, never mind. You’ve just saved yourself like an hour and a half out of your day driving out, doing this that you could spend on somebody else that’s more qualified. So pre-qualification is huge. 

And going on a step beyond that is I have more and more landscape design contractors that are charging money to even show up on the property, a consultation fee. Now if you want to credit that back, that’s fine. But if it’s just 75 bucks, it’s not much. The thing is this. Your time is worth something and if you’re giving it away for free, how valuable are you compared to someone else? There’s always going to be prospects that balk at that. But you’d be surprised. I have a client that has so many leads, he doesn’t know what to do with. Keeps raising that consultation price and they just keep buying it. And he’s booked out like eight, nine weeks already this spring on design build stuff. So it’s really important to do that. And then your marketing assets. Again, it’s how you use the marketing assets in the sales process. Things on your website should state minimums. You should be writing articles about how much things cost even on form pages, landing pages, you should specify minimums or talk about those sorts of things. If you don’t like little landscape projects, stop showing pictures of little landscape projects and show the big immense backyard resorts if that’s your position and where you want to go. So it’s really important to make sure that you’re doing that and making sure the activities and meetings and things that you’re doing in the front end of that really just help to further pre-qualify your prospect as they go along in the sales process. So that’s the first big thing. And I can talk forever about that as you know. I hate wasting time with bad prospects. So if you ever try to get lead from me, you’ll see me qualify you really, really quick because we can’t work with a million people. So I want to make sure that I can do what you want and you’re a good fit for us. 

Ty Deemer:

For sure. 

Chad Diller:

The next thing is from a sales perspective, like sales management or even if it’s just you selling, is just not being able to measure the right sales metrics and then doing some level of analysis or discovery about why you aren’t closing certain things. I think about back in my sales experience, we had 10 or 11 salespeople. They all came from different places, some of them outside the industry, some of them like me, lawn care tech, tree care tech. Some of them were tree pruners. Some ran a maintenance crew or design build crew. And you could tell when they came in what their golden opportunities were. I could close lawn care probably better than 80% of the sales team because that’s where my confidence was. But when it came to tree pruning or something like that, that might get a little harder. And so it’s a matter of looking at opportunities and seeing why you aren’t closing certain things and working to enhance your skills, like whether on technical expertise or also, looking at your process and saying, between here and here is where I lose all my leads. So what am I doing wrong or what are my people doing wrong? And so it’s really important to look at things from a little bit more of an analytical standpoint to understand that. And then from a business development standpoint, which probably a lot of people are listening like they’re biz development reps or they do a lot of that, trying to drum up leads, I would say to stop demanding attention without offering any value to your prospects. So the thing I could tell you to do is try to be really unique and try to be completely selfless. Everybody knows you want their business. You don’t have to scream from the rooftops, if you need an estimate, I’m here. This is the time to do this. I mean there’s some call for some urgency here and there. But build relationships and think longer term. Stop being those desperate salespeople we all can’t stand to deal with that are just begging to pitch to you. Just try to be helpful. Don’t even ask for business in like business development. People will know what you do. It’ll be obvious. And then they’ll start to trust you and then they’ll like you before you even ask them for anything. And so I think that’s a big mistake and one of the things I think people should focus more on. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah. There’s so much to unpack there especially on the qualified prospect side of things. That’s one thing we run into all the time in our business at SingleOps but also like on this podcast and the different strategies. And you touched on really the two main reasons. You have to decide what services you offer that you make a profit on. Okay. Accept prospects that are wanting those services. And then like it’s got to be projects you enjoy as well. Like it’s okay to take on a design build project that might not be as profitable if it’s what you love doing. There is an element of that in this industry especially on the design build side I think where people love building those beautiful backyards. And that’s at the point where maybe that’s the route you go. But the paying for your time is a thing that we’ve heard a ton of companies get success up. Just be like, hey, look, I respect you. You respect me. My consultation fee is $75. And we’ve heard the exact same thing of most end customers say, okay, yeah, makes sense. Come out. I’ll pay you 75 bucks. 

Chad Diller:

And if we all start doing it, it will be common. So I can’t get an HVAC guy to come out to my house to tell me why my heat isn’t warming up without paying him money. Why should you go out to tell people how to transform their backyard with $250,000 without paying something for it? And it’s just a matter of as an industry as a whole, we have to demand to be paid for our expertise at some level. There’s always times where maybe existing customers, you don’t do that for them. But new prospects, yeah, like I’m going to be paid for my time. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, for sure. And then on the sales side, talking about measuring the right metrics, if you don’t have a system in place to like check through close rates or have a sales rep report, just like if you don’t have a website, you’re just behind. Because that’s something how you can so easily measure the success of your team but also know where to double down or to withdraw from certain areas. That’s such a huge part of any business and there’s so many tools out there that could give your crew or your team that capability as well. So when we talk about you personally and your experience in the industry, what is something that if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be a piece of advice you would give yourself? 

Chad Diller:

This is a piece of advice I would give myself that would reflect on how successful I’m as a salesperson or landscape industry professional or marketer but also would impact the way I parent, the kind of friend I am, the kind of spouse I am, and basically everything I do. And some of you might be really good at this but I know for me, there’s been some tuition along the way and there’s been some hard lessons and there’s been some really hard work to try to do this and it’s this. Learn how to have empathy for people. I’m a really goal driven guy and I have a tendency sometimes to know what I want and kind of just step over people. And I have good intentions and that sort of thing. But I miss people constantly. And one of the skills we’ve talked about already in how to be a great marketer that I’ve learned is how to have empathy. And then I’ve done things in my personal life too to kind of grow that skill too. And your job really as a salesperson or marketer is to learn how to connect with people. And you can’t connect with people unless you can feel what they’re feeling. That comes with asking great questions. It comes with learning specific ways how to probe deeper. It comes with emoting back to them what’s going on inside of you. It involves like sharing back and forth. And empathy is the biggest skill that I think would just propel you through life and your professional career. And so if I could go back and shake younger me, I’d try to convince him somehow that I need to focus more on that and maybe get some specific things I should do along the way. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, I love that. Because it really does impact, if you’re talking to people listening to this podcast, it impacts any relationship you have, whether it’s a relationship with a customer, being empathetic towards just their situation in this process but also your employees too. We always talk about what it looks like to hire and retain good employees and being empathetic towards your staff and your team. I think most of the people that I’ve talked to on the show where it’s really clear that they are successful and they’re building successful businesses, a huge element to that is that they’ve grown a team that knows that like their leader cares about them and empathizes with them and wants good for them. So I definitely resonate with that for sure. So we always like to kind of wrap up each episode with the same question. We spend a lot of time doing reflective thinking on the show, like what have you done in the past, what have you seen here and there. But I do always like the guests to share what comes next for them and what are you most excited about to be a little bit more forward thinking? 

Chad Diller:

Yeah. So I’ll share professionally and I’ll share personally. Professionally, I’m just really excited, in some ways there hasn’t been much that has changed with websites in the last three or four years and I think we’re getting into a stage now where there’s going to be rapid change based on how you personalize experience for users that are on your website, deliver them really personalized experiences, and the ways that you can connect with them on a deeper level than just that virtual brochure. We’ve highlighted some of those things today. But even going past like really just understanding your customer in general, like how you can actually connect with that person that’s on the website. There’s a lot of personalization features and things that are coming that are already being used that I think are going to become more commonplace. And so I’m excited about that because I love new stuff. I got the shiny object syndrome and I’m looking at some shiny objects right now—I’m not going to quite spill the beans on them yet—that I think are going to be huge. And I’m trying to get some guinea pigs to try it out. I just think it’s great opportunities to stand out. So that’s professionally what I’m looking forward to. 

I’d say personally, we have kids that are 23, 20, and 16 right now. And so my wife and I are coming up on empty nesting at some point. And so we’ve talked a lot more about like what that’s going to look like. We both love to travel and see new places. And so I get to go around a lot in my job. And so I’m kind of excited about that, like that next stage in our personal lives and what that would look like and the adventures we’ll get to share for that. So that’s something that’s pretty exciting to daydream about. 

Ty Deemer:

Yeah, great. Thanks for sharing that. We’ve covered a ton of great topics, Chad, today. We’ve talked about your background, what you see companies can make an investment in from a marketing perspective, whether it’s their website or whether it’s through video, and then a bunch of topics with the sales process. And a lot of that’s due to your work at Landscape Leadership. If someone that’s listening is convinced like, man, maybe we should begin investing in the marketing and sales in our business in a different way or in a new way, how could someone get in contact with you or Landscape Leadership? 

Chad Diller:

Sure. Well, I’d say my goal for doing this this podcast is just because I love connecting with people in the industry. And again, I practice what I preach. It’s all about making a long-term connection, becoming a thought leader, something 12 to 18 months from now may be paying off. That’s the kind of goal as a mature salesperson that you need and a marketer you need to focus on. And so I would say the same applies to me. Of course, if somebody wants to reach out to me now, they can. You can go to LandscapeLeadership.com. We also we have a ton of really useful free content on our website. If you search Chad Diller on LinkedIn, you’ll see my YouTube channel. And last couple years, I think I’m up to like 80 or 90 videos about different practical, tactical topics and some thought leadership stuff. So check that out. If you’re on our website, subscribe to our blog. We have probably about 5,000 blog subscribers. Most of them are in the green industry. So there’s a lot of really great stuff there for you. And if you like to be on social media, my platform of choice is LinkedIn, like Ty said. And so you can connect with me there. If I see you work at a landscape company, I’ll accept it. If you don’t, I’m not. So I’m all about the green industry and that’s who I connect with. And I invite you to connect there. 

Ty Deemer:

Awesome. Well, Chad, can’t thank you enough for your time. Really enjoyed getting to hear everything that you all are up to and hearing just your thoughts on a few of these topics. Look forward to seeing you around. 

Chad Diller:

All right. Thanks, Ty.

Conclusion:

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