3 Simple Ideas to Make Safety Personal

3 Simple Ideas to Make Safety Personal

Achieving a top notch safety culture within your organization is best done by making safety personal for each of your team members. I recently had a conversation with John Wayne Farber, Special Projects Manager for Hoppe Tree Service in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He shared with me a couple of ideas he recently learned about that I feel can be a powerful addition to your safety program. Here are three simple ideas that can make safety personal for every employee on your team.


1. This is Why I am Safe Patch – Tim Walsh from Davey Resource Group, shared this idea at the 2018 ISA Conference in Columbus, OH. They hand out a fabric sleeve that has a plastic window in it for their employees to slide a picture of someone or something that matters most to them. This sleeve has Velcro on the back so it can be attached to their gear, saddle, bag, etc. so there is a constant visual reminder of why they need to work safe.


2. Safety Picture Board – Inside the Columbia Energy Center a power plant located in Portage, Wisconsin, there is a picture board that employees put pictures of loved ones in. This board hangs on the entry way into the power plant. Seeing the faces of family members of all of their co-workers has made a huge impact on safe work practices. Being reminded that you are not only trying to be safe for your family, but also those of your co-workers puts safety even more at the forefront.


3. Safety Coins – Total Safety, a safety and compliance company located in Houston, Texas, gives every employee a heavy duty coin to keep in their pocket during the work day. The coin is a little larger than a half dollar and much heavier so the employee can feel it in their pocket as they walk around. You could use this idea by having each employee pick up a coin to start the day and drop it off at the end of the day. Any close calls or near misses can be jotted down when the coin is turned in for the night to help with the next tailgate safety meeting. (To read the article on their coin visit: https:/ /www.ehstoday.com/safety/total-safety-coins-safety-commitment)


Getting every employee home safe each night must be a priority for every tree care business. Doing that is easier when all employees feel personally attached to the importance of safety. There are a lot of great ideas out there to help build the safety culture that you desire, these are just three that I wanted to share with you. If you have others that you’ve seen work well, I’d love to have you share those with me and the rest of the tree care world. #untilwereallsafe

Written by: Eric Petersen

Gain Customers Without Having to Sell: Content Marketing Part 1

Gain Customers Without having to sell: Content Marketing Part 1

Gone are the days where consumers purchase a product or service based solely on the salesperson’s ability to convince them to buy. Today, the vast majority of the sales process is done by the consumer before they even reach out to you. So how do you earn the trust of your future customers before they pick up the phone to call you? You do it with Content Marketing.


What is Content Marketing?


Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach where you give valuable information to your prospects and customers without trying to sell them anything. It allows the consumer to learn about their problem on their own using information that you created. Because it does not involve you thumping your chest saying why you are the best, the consumer appreciates the expertise you bring. And guess what? They will start to buy from you because they now know you and trust that your intentions are in their best interest.


Information can be created and shared in a number of different ways. The more ways you incorporate into your content marketing strategy, the more effective you will be at reaching your target customer. Blogs, newsletters, email campaigns, home & garden show presentations and social media posts are all ways that you can get content out.


Why Content Marketing works in the tree care industry?


Content marketing isn’t about your brand or the services you sell, it is about your audience and what they care about. The tree care industry is perfect profession to utilize content marketing because it allows you to develop rapport with your target customers. For most professional tree care companies, the target customer is someone who has a strong emotional connection to their trees but also understands that their level of knowledge on how to properly take care of their trees is lacking.


Take tree removals for instance which can be viewed as a commodity service. As long as the tree guy gets the tree on the ground without hurting anyone or damaging your property, they’ve done their job. So why should the consumer choose you over the next company? Using content marketing, you explain what goes into a successful tree removal job, such as, what factors affect the price of the removal and what dangers are in performing the job. It is your chance to show that you are the expert by advising them on all things related to the removal without asking for them to call you, thereby transforming your business from being seen as just another provider of a commodity service (tree removal) to a leader in the industry.


An even more powerful way for Content Marketing to work within the tree care industry is using it to promote proper Plant Health Care. Creating a dialogue on all aspects of tree health will demonstrate to your potential customers that you know how to care for their trees and why they need to hire a professional arborist to handle this for them.


Lastly, it’s important to note that Content Marketing isn’t for everyone and it is not always the best way to get in front of potential customers. However, in my opinion it is the best way to get in front of the right potential customer and build a strong customer base who hold the same values as you do. When done properly, Content Marketing helps you remove the salesy feel to a new customer relationship.


In my next tip, I’ll show you how to start a Content Marketing campaign and give you the 5 areas you should be addressing in your Content Marketing.

Written by: Eric Petersen

5 Ways to Combat the Imposter

5 Ways to Combat The Imposter

Unfortunately, the tree care industry is an over-commoditized industry. A simple Google search in your area will probably show so many tree services it will make your head spin. So how do you compete against the non-professional guys; the ones that aren’t playing by all of the rules and paying cash for labor, not purchasing insurance, and skipping on safety? It is not an easy thing to do, but below are my 5 ways to combat your competition.

Don’t Create the Price Game – Believe it or not, the price game is created by tree services, not the customers. Companies that come in and say that they’ll do the work cheaper than anyone else are the ones who devalue the work that you do. Fight this by getting to know your customer and what their goals for the property are. Do they want a backyard oasis to play and relax in? Are they concerned about a branch falling on their house or children? Whatever their concerns are, focus your solutions around those. Everyday consumers choose certain brands over others and choose to pay more for those products or services because they believe in the value of it. Tree work can be the same way, but you have to believe in your value and know how to communicate it to the customer.

Specialize – What does your company do particularly well? Are you known for a specific service in your area? If so, concentrate your sales efforts on that service as it is much easier for you to explain why you are the better choice than a non-professional tree service. You also should be able to do the work in your specialty more efficiently than your competitors, thereby increasing the value to your customer.

Use Technology – What does your Customer Journey look like? Have you thought about the experience that your customers have each time they come in contact with you? There are many software programs out there to help you make your business stand out: from automatic follow up emails such as Active Campaign, to video email software like BombBomb, to creating proposals for the customer (while still at their house) using Arborgold. Each of these tools will help showcase the level of professionalism that your company has over your competition.

Use Pictures – Examples of poor tree maintenance are all over the place. With digital cameras in everyone’s pocket these days, you should be able to create a vast library of local trees that have been hacked at by an inexperienced tree service. Use these photos, along with before and after pictures of proper tree care, in your presentation to your customers. Your proposal should not be lengthy and full of technical details, but rather clean and crisp, showing what you intend to do and how it will help the customer reach their property goal.

Promote your Professional Designations – Are you touting your designations? Bragging about your credentials is not something that many people are comfortable doing, however when trying to separate yourself from a low bid competitor, you must be able to do so. ISA and TCIA both have great resources that allow you to show why your education and commitment to your industry makes you the best choice for your customer. When the property owner understands that you invest time and money into improving your own company’s professionalism, they will begin to see the value that your expert opinion brings.

Competing against illegitimate businesses is one of the most common challenges within the tree care industry and unfortunately, this problem is not going away. Use these 5 tips to begin to separate your tree service from the rest.

Written by: Eric Petersen

Unlock Your Potential: 4 Steps to Cross-Sell More Business

Unlock Your Potential: 4 Steps to Cross-Sell More Business

One of the most common goals that I hear from our clients is the desire to sell more Plant Health Care work, so I put together my list of 4 steps to effectively cross sell additional services to your customers. Whether you would like to perform more tree risk assessments or sell firewood and mulch to your existing customers, the approach is essentially the same.

Targeted Service – Defining what service you are looking to cross sell to your current customers is the first step. To determine if a particular service is appropriate to begin a cross selling campaign, ask yourself the following:

Is this service a strength for our company? If not, what will help it become a strength?
Can we handle an influx of additional requests for this service?
What challenges could arise if we have increased interest in this service?
Are we known for this service already or do we have to educate our customers?
Does our ideal client need this service on a regular basis?

It Is Not About the Sale – It is very important to understand that cross selling additional services should NOT be strictly about the revenue generated from the new service. Instead, the focus should be on the relationship with the customer. When customers hire your company for more than one service or product you will generate much more customer loyalty. These loyal customers will become your promoters and tell others about your organization, driving growth within your ideal clientele.

Training – Not everyone is meant to be a sales person, however, everyone within your organization that has contact with your customers should have a basic understanding of the services you provide and how it can benefit your customers. From the receptionist to the crew foreman, train your team members on the “why” your services are important. A few ideas to help your employees begin a cross sell conversation are:

Emphasize that healthy trees eliminate hazards to your customers and help increase their property values. Proper tree care is much more than pruning and a Certified Arborist can help your customer determine the course of action for their trees.
Use an Amazon approach: Whatever your cross sale service is, combine that with what your ideal client would also purchase for an easy transition into providing additional services. For example; those that have had their trees pruned, also have their trees fertilized. Or, those that have their trees removed also purchase firewood from us.

Reward employees for cross selling additional services. Create a monetary reward for a team member that goes beyond their normal job duties to cross sell your desired service.

Special Offer or Pricing – If your desired cross sell service is new to your organization or one that your customers rarely request, you probably will have to create a special offer or pricing structure to gain interest in the service. This can be a limited time offering for trunk injections or a multi-service discount if they also purchase mulch from you. Be creative with the offer to engage your customer into taking action with your desired cross sell service.

Cross selling additional services to your current customer base can be the hidden secret to growth for your organization. Use these 4 steps to unlock your company’s cross sell potential.

Written by: Eric Petersen

4 Ways to Tell if your Marketing Strategy is Actually Working

4 Ways to Tell If Your Marketing Strategy Is Actually working

Before I share with you how to know if your marketing strategy is working, you must actually have a marketing strategy. To me, having a marketing strategy means promoting your business in defined direction to achieve growth. This includes a clearly stated revenue goal from a specific set of services and clientele. If you haven’t developed a strategy yet, check out our white paper, 3 Ways to Branch Out Your Marketing. Let’s face it – your strategy won’t be perfect right away and will certainly evolve over time, but establishing a desired result and way to achieve it is vital to begin.

Use the following 4 ways to ensure your marketing strategy is functioning the way you want it to.

Website Visits – The first place someone goes to find out information about your company is your website. It doesn’t matter if they were referred to you or found you through one of your marketing pieces. Your website is your chance for a great first impression. If you are confident about your website, begin to track the number of visitors to your site by using Google Analytics. This tool can break out where the visitors are coming to your site from and how long they stay on it. If you haven’t spent time updating and refreshing your website, check out our 5 Tips for a Better Website and make your website a priority.

Click Throughs – Your website must have a “Call to Action” on it to allow your customers to request a proposal for tree work or purchase firewood/mulch directly. When your website is set up correctly, the number of click throughs are easy to measure. You can also create custom landing pages specific to one service and track results from each specific page.
Closing Ratio – This is more of a management metric than a pure marketing metric, however, if you see that your company is getting more chances at jobs, but you do not see an increase in sold jobs, training of the salesperson may be a solution you need to explore.

Job Analysis – Each month it is very important to look back at the jobs that were finished and analyze them around the questions below. Give a score to each job to track how well these jobs are fitting within your goals for your organization. Each “YES” answer earns 1 point. Your goal is to have as many 3 point jobs as possible.

Was the work performed a targeted service?
Was the client within your targeted clientele profile?
Were the jobs done within the time budget set by the salesperson?

Now that you understand some of the data that will help you determine if your marketing is working, you must start tracking it. Use the current month to establish the benchmark for each of these areas and work towards improving on them every month into the future. After tracking these for a few months, you will begin to see clearly what you need to improve upon. Make sure you share this information with your team so they can take some ownership into improving what they do to move the organization forward.

Of course the ultimate goal is to perform more jobs within your targeted services, for your targeted clientele, and done on time and within budget. When this starts to happen and everyone on your team begins to realize that your company is growing intentionally, you will see the momentum pick up and your business will rise to the next level.

Written by: Eric Petersen