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Liquids & Snow Operations

Have you thought about adding liquids to your snow operations? It can be a little daunting but the overall benefit far outweighs the learning curve.

A number of years ago, I attended a SnowEx seminar by Daniel Gilliland. He is a pioneer in bringing liquids to the forefront in Ontario. I learned so much through his presentation and I want to share what I learned with you. 

There are four main reasons to use liquid strategies for Snow and Ice Control:

  • Improve safety outcomes
  • Reduce the environmental impact/property damage and the amount of chlorides going into the environment.
  • Drastically reduce your materials, especially if you make your own salt brine.
  • Using liquids to anti-ice prevents snow and ice from bonding to the pavement which results in a significant reduction to post-storm labour, equipment, and material clean up costs.

Did You Know?

  • Slip & Fall claims related to winter maintenance account for more lawsuits than in any other sector except auto accidents.
  • ...
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Happy customers are returning customers

Happy customers are returning customers. 

We’ve talked about this before, but so much of what creates a positive experience for your clients depends on how you proactively communicate with them. 

Before you sign a contract, do your potential customers know what to expect? Have you completed site visits with all decision makers so they are able to review and sign off on the snow sitemaps? Do they know the invoicing schedule? It basically boils down to you creating an onboarding process that you follow with each client.

Be sure to find out your clients preferred method of contact and then use that method to  communicate before and after snow events. It provides you clients with peace of mind that will drastically lower the number of frantic calls you will receive during an event. I also recommend that you email a weekly operational update so they know when you were on site and what service was performed.  

It’s important to keep a log of all...

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Slip and Fall Readiness Tips

As a snow contractor, the possibility of a slip and fall on one of your properties is always in mind. Obviously, we want to take every precaution to ensure the safety of our clients. But what do you do when you receive notice that a claim has been filed? Do you have the proper information available in order to respond? 

Record-keeping is key to being able to respond to a slip and fall claim. Here’s a list of documents that you should have easy access to:

  • Time sheets 
  • Email conversations
  • Weather reports
  • GPS trail
  • Related maps and descriptors
  • Training modules
  • Training certificates
  • Truck sign-out sheets
  • Phone messages
  • Contracts
  • Snow maps
  • Previous contract dates
  • Pre-season site inspection form
  • Customer communications

Being prepared can make the process a lot smoother, less stressful and less costly.


If you need help with creating or sourcing these documents, or if you have questions about your existing process, give me a call. You can schedule a call by clicking HERE.

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Plan ahead for winter success!

One of the best ways to ensure winter success is to plan ahead regarding your fleet needs.

Your relationship with your suppliers will play a key role in this. You can help them out by getting your equipment ordered early and/or getting your existing equipment scheduled for service before the forecast is calling for snow. Setting up a system where they can call you when they have some time and they know what equipment needs servicing is a small thing that can make a huge impact.

I highly recommend working with local suppliers for ordering and delivery of trucks, equipment and small machinery. I would also choose a supplier that allows you to standardize the equipment you’re using, making it easier for budgeting and repairs. If you’re using all the same equipment (ie, same type of plow), you can order parts that will work for all of the pieces. You can also identify when an issue is a manufacturer’s defect rather than just a one-off. For example, if you use one type...

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Are you keeping potential customers engaged?

Earlier this month we talked about the importance of pre-qualifying your sales calls. It’s also important to remember that clients typically need 8-12 “touches” before they’ll make a decision. Phone calls, emails, online or face to face meetings are all things that count as a “touch”.

A few years ago Kevin Kehoe wrote an article in which he stressed the importance of being persistent and creative to keep potential customers engaged with each touch point until a decision is made. 

For example, he says, “sending an email asking, ‘Have you made a decision?’ isn’t creative nor does it advance the decision. It’s much better to send an email that states, ‘I’ve thought about our conversations. Let me suggest a way to solve your problem…manage your price concerns…handle your primary concern for communication…Here’s how we do this …’ This is advancement.”

We know...

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How To Handle Sales Objections

How do you handle objections when speaking with potential clients? 

Do they derail you because it feels like rejection? OR do you see an objection as a question - one the client is looking to have answered before they accept the terms and finalize the sale.

In a recent article written by Bruce Wilson, he shares that “objections are simply a sign that a prospect needs more information to make a decision.” It’s a small shift in perspective that can dramatically change your outcomes.

Here are Bruce’s 10 tips on dealing with sales objections:

  1. Listen up and validate
  2. Rehearse your response
  3. Be prepared
  4. Isolate the objection
  5. Postpone objections
  6. Ask questions
  7. Talk about money
  8. Focus on them
  9. Avoid better, faster, cheaper
  10. Convert the objection

If you’d like to dig into these a little more click HERE to read the full article and remember: an objection is not a rejection, but your response to the objection might make it one.

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6 Tips For Finding Your Ideal Client

Years ago I read an article by Brian Tracey about knowing and finding your ideal client. The information he shared then is still so relevant today. I really liked how he worded these 6 tips on how to find your ideal client:

  1. Define your product from your customers point of view. Ask yourself these questions: What does your product do for your ideal customer? What problems does your product solve for your customer? What needs of your customer does your product satisfy? How does your product improve your customer's life or work?
  2. Define your ideal customer for what you sell. What is his or her age, education, occupation or business? What is his or her income or financial situation? What is his or her situation today in life or work?
  3. Determine the specific benefits your customer is seeking in buying your product. Of all the benefits you offer, which are the most important to your ideal customer? What are the most pressing needs that your product or service satisfies? Why should your...
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Chick-fil-A & Landscaping?

We’re focusing on sales this month and we want to provide you with tangible tips and tricks to help you be more successful. We’ve chosen Covert Cows & Chick-fil-A as the book of the month because we believe there are many practical things you can learn from the pages written by Steve Robinson.

Since the day they opened in 1946, Chick-fil-A has been closed Sundays to give staff a day with their families. Even when statistics indicated that Sunday was the busiest day in the fast food industry, they held to their conviction and remained very profitable. 

Their company culture is also something to note. The way franchise owners are treated, the care that is taken to properly train staff, their creative marketing and even how they chose to keep their menu small and focused strictly on chicken are all things that I found both interesting and inspiring.

We may not be in the fast food industry but I believe there is so much we can learn from them as business owners.

...

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You're right - they need to be fired!

clients Jul 27, 2020

Do you have a client that needs to be fired? Does that question cause you to recoil?

I know it seems counter-intuitive. You feel like you can’t possibly do that; you need the work and you don't want to tarnish your reputation. But hear me out.

I’m not saying you should cancel a contract mid-season, though that may be appropriate at times. What I’m talking about is reviewing contracts at the end of the season and rating them based on a few different criteria to ensure it makes sense to continue a working relationship with them. 

We can often feel like we need to take all the work that comes our way because, well, we need to make money. The problem with that mindset is that we can get booked up with small jobs that aren’t especially profitable and then don’t have time to complete the bigger, more profitable jobs that come our way.

An article from Landscape Management listed these six variables to take into account before you renew contracts:

Revenue...

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Veterans Memorial Parkway beautification project

community tree planting Jul 20, 2020

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work with local Landscape companies and volunteers in London to complete a beautification project as a tribute to our veterans on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

It was a huge project and represented an opportunity for members and associates of Landscape Ontario (London) to show our pride and involvement in the community. Companies donated time, equipment and resources to work on the project and together with community volunteers we planted thousands of trees along the parkway over a 5-year period.

At the time I was the chair of the board for the VMP and worked alongside some incredible business leaders in the community including the President of Trojan Technologies, Canadian President of 3M, City of London deputy Mayor and other prominent business owners.

The project was an incredible experience because it brought the local members of Landscape Ontario together on a single project. It gave us the opportunity to use our expertise, experience...

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