When most people think about using social media for their commercial lawn maintenance business, they probably think about using it to build brand awareness. But there’s one platform you can use to actually improve your sales process.
LinkedIn. LinkedIn can help you find prospects. It can help you do competitive and prospect research. It can help you get your next cold call answered. And it can help you earn endorsements that further build your brand’s reputation.
LinkedIn is different from other social networks in that it’s about your professional expertise. It’s not about sharing what you had for lunch or wishing your grandmother a happy birthday. If you’re selling to commercial properties, it’s very likely that the people you’re selling to have LinkedIn profiles.
Here’s how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your commercial lawn maintenance business:
Refocus Your Profile
The first thing you want to do is focus your LinkedIn profile to set yourself up to sell commercial lawn maintenance services. For many sales reps, their profile is all about them - awards they’ve won, sales they’ve made, successes they’ve had. That’s fine to a certain extent, but your buyers won’t get excited by that information.
What they will get excited by is work that you’ve done for other properties similar to theirs. A good way to showcase that work is by adding media to your LinkedIn profile. It’s a little-used feature, but you can add documents, photos, links, videos and more. If you have a case study about how you helped improve the appearance of a commercial property, add a document. Take before and after photos of properties to highlight your work. Record customer testimonial videos and link to those.
If you build a profile full of information detailing how you helped customers, you’ll be more successful selling to prospects.
LinkedIn is great for finding prospects. The advanced search is especially useful, helping you drill-down using information like names, companies, zip codes, titles, and more.
You can use this to find prospects in any number of ways. If you are already targeting a specific property, you can use LinkedIn to find the people responsible for managing that property. Or, you can search for people with a property manager title in your territory. Whatever you do, LinkedIn's advanced search is a great way to learn more about prospects.
Build a Better Introduction
For many looking to sell lawn maintenance services, finding prospects is as easy as going to an area dense with commercial prospects, walking in, and asking to talk to the property manager. That cold calling is effective, but what do you talk about in that initial conversation?
Conversation starters are important, and LinkedIn can help you craft a personalized introduction. An easy way to do that is to see if you can find the property manager before you walk in the door, using the search techniques outlined above.
If you can, see if you can find any conversation starters. Do you have any shared connections? If you do, give your shared connection a call and see if he/she can introduce you. Or just ask them for some information about the prospect. LinkedIn also has a lot of personal information - colleges attended, past jobs - that might lead to a good conversation starter. Leverage that information to craft a personal (not creepy) conversation starter.
View Your Prospect's Profile
If you can’t find any relevant conversation starters, don’t worry. But do make sure you view their profile. One of the great things about LinkedIn is that users get notified when their profile has been viewed. So make sure you click to view their profile after you’ve searched, and then follow up with a phone call or physical visit.
Why? Because, if your prospects are anything like me and they see that you’ve visited their profile, they’ll reciprocate that visit by taking a peek at your profile. Visiting that profile is likely to lead to an impression, where, if you’ve correctly setup your LinkedIn profile, they’ll learn about all the great work you’ve done in the past. It’s a great way to passively promote your business.
Connect and Thank
Once you’ve built a relationship, send out a connection request. Don’t do it before you’ve had a good conversation. Nothing turns off prospects more than a pushy salesperson fishing for LinkedIn connections. Earn the connection before you ask for it.
If the prospect accepts your connection request, don’t stop the conversation there. Immediately thank them for the connection. Use that thank you to subtly repeat why they should consider your business. And tell them you’ll be periodically sending them useful information.
Earn an Endorsement After the Sale
Once you’ve made the sale, you want your customers to endorse you for your skills on LinkedIn. This not only serves as a reminder to future prospects of your skills, but can also help you get found if someone searches for a skill for which you’ve earned an endorsement.
So make sure you’ve added skills to your LinkedIn profile. Choose things like landscape maintenance, lawn care, irrigation, arbor care, landscape management, turf management, etc. A great way to get endorsements for these skills is to ask for them. Send out a simple email to people who you’re connected to and ask them to endorse you. You’ll be surprised by just how many will. Also, be liberal with your endorsements. When you endorse someone, they get notified and will likely return the favor.