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Turning more quotes into paying customers

Mastering your tree care business hinges on those crucial in-person interactions with prospective clients when you’re introducing your services. You have a fleeting opportunity to make an impression and clinch the transaction. Explore these clever techniques to enhance your odds and turn more inquiries into revenue-generating customers.

Give Insurance Papers with Your Quote

This is so easy to do yet is overlooked by a lot of arborists. Whether you email the quote or write one out on the spot (never just write it on the back of a card) you should hand it over with your business card and your public liability/ property insurance papers.

This immediately assures the customer. People are always willing to pay a bit extra for peace of mind. Whoever hires a car and doesn’t get the insurance? We all know the likelihood of a crash is low, but it’s worth the assurance.


Building Customer Rapport Quickly

Think about times when you were enticed by a sales assistant – what did he or she do to entice you? Would you warm to someone who you felt had no respect for you? Would you feel comfortable with a person who made no attempt to understand what you need? Probably not.

Strong rapport is required to hold up strong relationships – much like foundations will hold up a tall building.

There is a great technique call ‘Matching and Mirroring’ that is used to build a very fast relationship or strong rapport with complete strangers. There are whole books written on the subject to basically get people to do what you want. It’s called NLP (neuro Linguistic Programming).

Technique: Matching and Mirroring

matching and mirroring obama

Have you ever noticed two old friends deep in conversation? If they are both fully engaged they will unconsciously copy each other’s body postures, movements, voice tone, pace, and breathing. Sometimes they do it exactly – matching – and other times they are mirror images of each other – mirroring.

Think of 2 mates standing around the BBQ, left hand in the pocket, other on a beer. Both will look at the ground at the same time, tilt their head back to laugh at the same time… even synchronize their beer sipping.

Matching and mirroring take place on a behavioural level through:

Physiology – body posture, movements, gestures

Voice – tone speed

Language – Keywords

Values – what people hold as being true and important

Experience – common interests

We are not going to go into too much detail now, but I want to focus on a simple way to build rapport using just language and voice.

How it works

How it works is simple. When you first meet a customer, you can generally catch their rhythm and their tone of speech quite quickly. Without sounding like you’re taking the Micky out of them, try to mimic how they speak.

For example, if they are talking very slow and relaxed, you do the same. If they are energetic and excited, meet them on their level of energy. If they call the tree a ‘gum tree’, don’t go calling it a Eucalyptus… call it a gum tree too. The more you sound like them the more they will get the sense they are talking to an old friend and not some stranger who is going to sell them their services.

This really is powerful stuff and is something that is done right and helps build that all-important rapport with a customer in minutes.

Strike While the Iron’s Hot

In a fast-paced world, people really aren’t all that patient. If you receive a call on Tuesday for a quote and you don’t get there until Friday to look at the job, chances are your customer already has 2 quotes and has already made their decision. Sometimes you may even get a call telling you not to bother because the job is done.

Always call the customer as soon as possible, and get there to quote it within 24 – 48 hours. This will put you in a far better position to closing the deal then if you get there 5 days later.

Closing the sale

It’s funny how often Arborist will meet a customer, give a great quote, get on well, and at the end not ask for the sale?? If you are giving a quote and leaving the customer with “well give me a call IF you want to book it in” then you’re probably not doing enough to secure the sale.

When running a small business you are only an arborist when you are on-site with or up a tree. The rest of the time you’re actually in the marketing and sales game. The quicker you come to terms with that the more successful you will be as an ‘arborist’.

handshake custoer tradesmen

The close…

Asking for the sale can be tough, but really it’s all about getting the wording right. You don’t need to be a pushy salesman to get sales. Instead of “I’ll leave you with it” try this…

You: “ok, so the removal of both gum trees plus the stumps will come to a total of $3,400. That price includes the removal of all debris off the property.

Customer: “ok great thanks for that”

(Close the sale)

You: “Not a problem, so is that something you would like to go ahead with?”


You: “Great, so would you like me to book in a day for you”?

Customer: “It is something I will have to discuss with my husband first” (objection 1- need partners approval)

Objections will vary. You can either leave it at this stage of the game and wish them a good day and follow up a couple of days later or depending on what the objection is, try to overcome the objection and do what’s called a ‘soft close’.

Example: objection = Price

price too high

Customer: “$3,400!!!” that’s more than I thought it would be”??

You: “your right it is a lot of money” (empathise) “but you are only ever going to have to do this once, and although there may be cheaper companies out there, very few have the experience, expertise,, and equipment to carry out this job safely and with no damage to your property. That we can guarantee, and we can back that up with 20 million in insurance for peace of mind.”

(Overcome price objection by offering alternatives)

You: “Although I can’t make the price any cheaper, I can arrange for you to pay for it on the credit card or break up the payments into two pieces.”

(the soft close)

“If I can manage to do that for you, is that something you would like to go ahead and book it?”

There are a million ways to go about it, but the bottom line is you need to ask for the sale. As the saying goes, ask, and you shall receive.

The Follow Up

For any decent sized job ($1,500 plus), most customers tend to deliberate for a few days before making their decision. A follow-up message, email, or call can be the thing that tips you over the edge as being the chosen company.

Try this:

“[company name] would like to thank you again for giving us the opportunity to quote your tree job last [insert day]. This is just a friendly message to let you know we are here to answer any questions you might have.

If you would like to go ahead with the job, just give myself [or {name} in the office] a call so we can choose a day that best suits you.”

You could even try what’s called a drop sale if you’re a bit short on work at the time. Send out a general message to all pending customers “15% off all quoted prices when booked in before the end of the week (Friday)”. If it was the price that was swaying them, maybe you can shave a bit more off and still come out well on top!

Accept Credit

accept credit card

This sounds like a basic one, but it’s surprising how many contractors don’t carry around an EFT machine with them. For some customers, tree removal might be a bit much to pay for all at once. Giving them the option to pay by credit it another way you can put yourself in front of your competition and secure the job.

Source: Brilliant NLP by David Moulden & Pat Hutchinson

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