On this episode of Roots of Success, we explore the importance of good communication and planning for your landscape company. Jason New, Founding Principal of McFarlin Stanford shares his experience involving a landscape project and reflects on how better communication could have prevented an uncomfortable situation. We also learn about Jason's experience managing accounts and the valuable training he received in operational management and business development. You’ll also learn valuable tips for retaining clients through proactive communication and anticipating their needs, and the benefits of having a twelve-month plan for tackling projects. This episode provides valuable insights for landscape professionals on improving their foundational aspects of business.
THE BIG IDEA:
Good proactive communication will keep your clients and your team happy.
[02:28] How Jason New learned to run maintenance teams and work with clients at Brightview.
[03:43] Lessons learned in budgeting, operation, maintenance, construction, and business development.
[09:44] The Struggle to complete tasks as promised.
[10:55] ARe you leading the conversation, or is it the client?.
[12:47] A hard lesson learned about good communication.
[14:59] A small shift in communication saves the account.
[19:50] Bigger isn’t always better.
[24:43] Using themes to improve client communication and to stay ahead of seasonal work.
[27:43] Creating Pre-built communication plans for different types of clients and team members.
[32:03] Being proactive and anticipating clients' needs builds trust.
QUESTIONS WE ANSWER:
How has Jason’s experience taught him the importance of good communication?
How can good communication prevent confusion and misunderstandings with clients?
What factors contribute to retaining clients in the landscaping industry?
What communication issues almost lost Jason his largest account?
How did the team address the communication issues with clients?
What services does McFarlin Stanford offer to help businesses in the landscaping industry succeed?
Episode Transcript +
We've got a brain trust of experts to help you nurture the roots of a successful business and grow to the next level. This is The Roots of Success.
Tommy Cole: We've got Jason New from McFarlin Stanford, and of course Tommy with McFarlin Stanford. We're sitting right across from each other. This is gonna be a good time. Jason New has been in the industry for quite some time, 20 plus years is my guess, right? That's right. And Jason started out in the landscape world.
Went to school for it and worked for some big names in the industry. And then we met at the same company here in Dallas eventually. Right? That's right. So [00:01:00] Jason welcome to the podcast. Super excited to have you. Oh, by the way, Jason is co-founding partner of McFarlin, right? Yep. Yeah. So one of the main guys that.
This is great. Okay, so tell me, Jason, where have you been? Like how did you get to this part right here in Dallas? Hmm.
Jason New: Well, began, I, you know, going to school, I wanted to find a bigger city to get my experience and exposure to what landscaping could bring to the table. And started my career at Brickman Group, which is now merged with Valley Crest.
It's now BrightView. Right, right. So many of us that have had that path, The idea of kind of learning the business from, who would say the biggest companies that are out there, and knowing what I could do in this career and learning how to do it from the best, or which I thought was the best at that time.
And so went into BrightView and became an account manager. And that was the path at that point, to learn how to run maintenance teams, how to work with clients, how to run a business with numbers and [00:02:00] metrics and schedules. And so I learned a ton from my experience
Tommy Cole: there. This, this is a really good intro. This is sort of like you chose this path instead of working for a small company you thought I'm gonna get a lot of good experience from this big well known company. Mm-hmm. Down the road, this is probably gonna benefit me, right? Absolutely. So tell me about what you learned in a short time there.
How long were you there?
Jason New: couple years. I was there for about five years. Five years, okay. Yeah. So five years. I mean, anything from budgeting spreadsheets for those of, you know, this term Gantt charts. Yeah. Knowing how to just operationally run a. And successfully get through the seasonal changes that are happening inside the day-to-day maintenance side of the company.
I further then went into learn how to do the enhancements and construction side of it for a period of time, and then moved into the business development side. So I've got exposure to basically all the three major components of how you run a landscape company through a corporate viewpoint. Yeah. [00:03:00] Got some great training like just how to be a manager because yeah, there's so many nuances to being a good manager or a good person as far as how to run this company that I got a, a fast track on learning some of these experiences.
Tommy Cole: Yeah, that's good. So one of the things you didn't mention about your role with this company, which is great, what's often the most overlooked role. It's not in your job description, it's not in your defined role, but this thing called communication it is I believe it's probably the number one thing, right?
We've talked about this. It's the number one thing why you get fired from a client. Absolutely. We've talked, we just were in the ACE meeting last week and we talked about this huge thing, communication and the breakdown of it and how you can be working on something and your client has no clue what the heck's going on at all.
But you're working hard to solve a problem. Right. So tell me about communication, how often. When and where. It's a [00:04:00] real simple thing that to talk about. Yeah. I really do a lot of communication, but most people don't understand what really is communicating back to a client, especially in the landscape world.
Jason New: Absolutely. And not everybody comes from the same background and experiences on what good communication looks like. So if you don't know what it is or haven't seen what good communication looks like, you could really botch this easily. You've botched it before. Oh, I've completely,
Tommy Cole: completely real.
We're gonna get a little storytelling here soon about how
Jason New: you botched in a timer Two. Diving into what good communication looks like it's just knowing that you're taking the lead on the conversation so many times, yeah. If we're being the responsive ones and always waiting for somebody to come to us, and us being the answer person, or us giving them what they think they need, we often are playing defense, you know, so if we're gonna do really well in communication, we gotta start leading the conversation and bringing information and what's next and the aspect of how we manage their maintenance properties.
Or work on the construction projects that we [00:05:00] have in our companies. We've gotta be able to tell the client what's next. So we're leading conversations in the way of communication. Yeah. You're two steps ahead, right?
Tommy Cole: That's right. Yeah. I love that scenario. I also like this word that's used, or this phrase that's, well, I'm waiting on Ms.Smith to get back to me. Mm-hmm. Well, how long has it been? Oh, it's, oh, it's been like a week or two. Well, why are you waiting? Yeah, right. At the end of the day, why, like, hit 'em up again? Is it through a text message, through an email? Is it sitting by . Swing, by their property? Check on it. Right? I hate the word. I'm waiting on someone.
Jason New: You're totally right.
Tommy Cole: Anyway, so communication. I think, I think it's extremely important. And especially for an account manager, right? Mm-hmm. An account manager is what most importantly they are in front of a client 99% of the time. Right, right. Whether it's an email, a phone call, or on the property or whatever.
So starting with with BrightView, you were like, in this role, [00:06:00] you'd not sure how to communicate. Absolutely. So you had to kind of figure it out.
What. Give me something here that says when and why and how you should communicate with a client.
Jason New: Well, I, I gotta take you through a story where I've learned, I had kind of early mistakes in my first level of learning how communication works. Good or bad was my story on an early manager of a property, it's a Texas Health Resources. So at that point there was a Brickman company. They had sold the entire Texas region of. Health hospitals and emergency clinics and you name it. It was a huge contract. It was a, a great honor for our company to take it on at the time. So multiple
Tommy Cole: properties or branches of around the Dallas Fort Worth area?
Jason New: Absolutely. And, and significant, you know, impact to what the company was trying to do at that time. And so at, I was, you know, eager to make things happen. I was growing quickly in my career. They gave me several accounts to work. And there's one account particularly that I feel like [00:07:00] I learned communication so quickly how, how something good and bad can go.
Yeah. So I was given this property where I was in charge of working with the building engineer. The property had gone in a direction where it was needing an a major amount of maintenance and repair and a way to get it back in shape. So it looked the way the hospital needed to look.
And so as we took it over, We started a meeting every single Friday. We'd worked through a a with the building engineer. A building engineer. Every Friday. Yep. Every Friday. He was like, okay, well let's get a game plan on how we're gonna approach this and what are you guys gonna do? Let's go through this conversation together.
I thought, awesome. This is a great way to build a relationship. We're gonna meet every week. This is gonna be easy. This is gonna be super easy. Yeah. We've already got a planned meeting. Like that's a great start for a good communication is just to have a consistent way to talk. Okay. So remind me
Tommy Cole: again, you're a year outta
Jason New: college. Yeah, I'm a year outta
Tommy Cole: college. Alright. Yep. And this is gonna be great. This is, account
Jason New: management's gonna be easy. I'm, by the way, I'm thrilled. I'm like, this is gonna be super fun, [00:08:00] cool project. Anyway, so I'm going into it and we're going through list of things that the maintenance teams needs to do. List of things that, enhancement wise, we could bring to the table and do, you know, improvements to the property and what the landscaping needed at the. We go through this about six weeks into the conversation. We're going week after week and we accomplish things on a Wednesday service visit, right?
So meet on Friday. I build the plan on what the team's gonna do on Wednesday for the following Wednesday the next week. You got it. So operationally is like, yeah, we're set up. This is great. We got a few days to get a plan for this. We're good. The challenge and six weeks into this, we weren't able to.
All of that list in a given week, okay? Right, so every carry over. So every Friday we are gonna have some carry over items, we might have some new items. And so we started having this comprehensive list that just kept building on each other. That got bigger over time and it got a little bit more scary over time as far as all the things that needed to happen on the property in that building engineer's mind. It's kinda
Tommy Cole: like my chores list at [00:09:00] house, right? Oh yeah. It just kinda keeps building and building until,
Jason New: well, that's what we have kids for, Tommy. I mean, you's gotta get, you gotta get them involved in that now, so you get to a point and I'm like, okay. So I thought I was taking care of this because we were having open, transparent conversations every single Friday.
Well, after about eight weeks of doing this, I got called into the branch manager's office to have a conversation, and I really, at that point, was not sure what it was or what to expect. And it comes to a point where the building engineer had called and talked to the branch manager. Talked to my supervisor at the time, they were gonna pull me from this account.
Mm-hmm. So, as a young manager, you know, I was going, I'm totally confused. Yeah. I, I don't understand what's going on. And so branch manager at that point comes to me and, and he is like, well, it sounds to me like you've been meeting every Friday. Is that right? Talking through a list of things that you're gonna be tackling on this property and what you're gonna.
Yes, absolutely. I [00:10:00] show up on time. I take good notes. I'm reviewing everything that we're covering. I put a list together for the cruise. We tackle it with the crew. Operationally, we're taking care of things. He goes, okay, so here's what the building engineers comment is. He feels like he's leading the meetings, oh.
If that He didn't call that meeting and walk through all those items with me and show me a list of things that we needed to do. He's unsure if I could even do them because at that point, who was leading the meetings and who was leading the conversation? Yeah, the building.
Tommy Cole: The building engineer. The building engineer was sitting there going, I'm creating you a list.
Yep. And this is what you're following. You're tackling some, finishing, some carry over here. Sort of the snowball effect. You think you're, things are rolling, you're meeting with them, you're doing the right thing. And then you got brought in six, seven weeks later,
Jason New: and then, okay, you're, so, I'm, I'm into it.
I'm like, heart drops. I'm like, what does this even mean? I'm, I'm losing this account. I'm going through this. It's a great lesson to learn. The reality of it is you're like, [00:11:00] okay, that's a simple fix. If it's leading the conversation, what could I have done differently? So it came into a good conversation between the two of us, like, what do I do to get ahead of that next time?
What could I have done? All right. Good communication would've shown if from that meeting, I took notes and I went and showed up on Wednesday when the crew was finished for the day, I sent an email. To that building engineer before the Friday meeting. Here's all the things we accomplished. Here's some things I've noticed that we haven't accomplished.
Here's some new things I'm adding to the list. Mm-hmm. For our Friday meeting to review. And If I communicated those things that I was walking the property and doing that ahead of time, how quickly do you think that building engineer would've said, I don't think I need this Friday meeting. I think he's got this. So you would've
Tommy Cole: grabbed a hold of this account, right? Yeah. You were kind of sort of owned it instead of relying on. The walkthrough
Jason New: building manager every Friday. Absolutely. That's so interesting. So it's a small mindset change, but at the same time, that's all he was looking for. He was looking at, [00:12:00] do I have a young manager who's going to take the extra effort, communicate to me on what we're gonna be doing next.
And he's got control of what the schedule is and what we're gonna be tackling to make this property look the way it needs to look.
Tommy Cole: So what I hear you say was, is very interesting because you thought you were doing great by meeting the engineer every week. Here you are like, you know, 20 something years old, early twenties.
Jason New: Meeting with no gray hair. Yep. No gray
Tommy Cole: hair at all. Now. A different story. but what you learned was what you thought you were doing, right? Which actually you were just creating a big hole, right? Mm-hmm. Because he was leading it. So now you had to learn how do I take over this project?
And you mentioned this email checklist, correspondence. So this relies back to the communication piece We're talking about how often, when and where, right? That's right. This is another communication piece. So now you decided to beat them before the Wednesday, is
Jason New: that right? Absolutely. Okay. So explain that.
So we went back to the engineer and said, okay, before [00:13:00] we take Jason off the account, we've talked through a plan. Here's what we'd like to do. We're gonna go after this in a different way. So instead of, we're gonna keep the Friday meetings. Let's keep that on par with what we're doing. We believe you're gonna see a difference in the next couple of times that we get together.
Okay? So our call conversation was, all right, I'm gonna walk the property after that crew has finished what they're doing. I, I'm gonna take note of everything that we had left to tackle, right? I'm gonna take note of all the things that we could be doing to make some improvements. I'm gonna send a recap email, right?
Done before I leave the property. It's going out the door. It's right there through, you know, he's got a place to read it as a crew's finishing up
Tommy Cole: their task for that day.
Jason New: And in fact, I'm still at the property. If you need anything, gimme a ring. Hmm. So that way instantly he knows that I'm on top of what we're doing and I saw things for a different set of eyes as well, some training.
Things that needed to happen of what we needed to do for the crews. I saw some ways to communicate to my crew leader better, so not only my communication got better with that building engineer, I found my [00:14:00] communication got better with the foreman because I would have a list go out to him at the front of a week and I'd have a follow up recap of what we did and how we could do better with that crew leader as well.
So, Operationally and from a client facing perspective, it worked a lot better for us.
Tommy Cole: Yeah, that I, I could get that. I think we've all been in your shoes at some point during our businesses, right? Yes. Especially as an owner. We've been down that hard road, not only as an owner, but more importantly as any sort of person that communicates with the client.
And it goes back to what I said earlier in this session, when. We talked about when you're doing things but not informing them of what you're doing. Mm-hmm. Right. This is a really good example.
I love the fact that you sit there and go, this is what we could have done better.
And you had to learn the hard way. It's so unfortunate that it got to that point. Oh yeah. It sounds like it worked out well.
Jason New: I'll say this, our whole company started performing better because we shared lessons learned like that.
Yeah. And then you moved on
Tommy Cole: I can now learn [00:15:00] what mistake I did and onto the new accounts or other accounts that I've been working on. Absolutely. Okay, but we've got this other story about Jason and mums, and it's not the moms you're thinking of homecoming.
These are those, plants called mums, those seasonal plants. All right, Jason, tell me about this story. Let's go.
Jason New: All right, so I am at this point, fast forward a little bit from our last story. Okay. I'm now leading a team. I'm at a Dallas-based company. I know Tommy at this point. Okay. I'm leading a group of services that we're doing for this company.
I'm maintaining some very high end, high profile clients that we're not trusting yet other managers to manage . Okay. So you still have the account in your pocket? Yeah, I've got. Five accounts I'm doing. This one happens to be the most high profile one we've got. Oh, high profile. Okay. Yeah. So this is big.
This is big enough. The ones that you know, owner of the chiefs who just won the Super Bowl Big. Oh, the Chiefs.
Tommy Cole: Okay. That's a high profile
Jason New: client, I would say. I would say yes. And so we are going into [00:16:00] normal, rotation of seasonal color. Right. So this is the mum story. So mums for them in the fall were a big deal.
Tommy Cole: So this is in the fall planting season, right? Mums, mums come before the winter hits. Absolutely.
Jason New: So they wanted this big pop. It's gonna be, you know, they have host parties, each and every other, you know, holiday season, they've got friends coming over for their Halloween party. They want this thing making, you know, a big splash.
Okay. So we get the mums and we're like, okay, we didn't take an order. You. Like normal four weeks or so in advance, and we get to a point we can't find these. Can't find the, can't find the mums. , she had a specific color mix and I say she, the, the spouse, the wife at this point has a specific color mix.
She's like, I've got to have these four colors mixed a certain way, a certain design. We've been doing it this way for three years. Yeah. We know the design, so we go find these plants. They're not anywhere to be found. You find them material shortage. Right. We've all been there. We've all been in companies where we're trying to find a locate stuff and chasing it [00:17:00] like crazy and sweating to find them.
But then we go, okay, we found 'em. This was a one gallon size that we were, we spec, we found 'em in a three gallon size. Oh, nice. Bigger, better, bolder. I'm like, Shoot, this is the Texas, right? We gotta go big. So let's go bigger. So we find these bigger ones, same color mix. We go in and do the planting. Finish the planting.
The day we finish the planting the, the spouse comes home and sees the planting and I'm thinking, we're just gonna get high fives. Like, she's gonna be like, y'all scored big. This is huge. Love this. It went the other way really fast. Oh, she's like, this is. Have no idea why you think this ever looked good or was beautiful.
Who made these choices, but yeah, sorry. Oh, all right. So I got at this point, a very upset client. Yeah. Who wants to come over and yell us and just make sure we know we've just really screwed up. So at this point, like, okay, what in the world are we doing [00:18:00] here? Her point.
So what happened? Her point, the proportion is off, right? So you got beds that are a certain size, you put in two big A plants. They take over the beds. Ah, right. So the scale was off. Scale was
Tommy Cole: off. So you went from one gallon spec. Yep. Right. To a larger, which is three gallon. Yep. And go, man, we knocked, we're gonna kill this thing.
Bigger's better come to find out the scale was off. So the shrubs
Jason New: were too large per, it was too large for the small bed space. For the bed space that it was, it overcrowded some of the other things around it. The scale was off. It made the architectural design look of her property. Oh
Tommy Cole: no. So it went south really,
Jason New: really quick. So at this. Instantly get this outta here. Like, yeah, whatever you just did, erase it and start over and go get me what we needed to begin with. So what'd you have to do? So we instantly go, okay, we scrambled. We called every nursery at that point. That was, you know, in Dallas, north Texas.
We called South [00:19:00] Texas. We called Kansas, we called Oklahoma. We called every surrounding nursery and surrounding state, and we actually found the plants. We paid triple the price for them. It was ridiculous. We got the client, what they were looking for based on the spec and the design that she wanted. So basically had to scratch it
Tommy Cole: all, throw it all away, and start.
Yep. Get the one gallon. Is that right? Get the one gallon. Get the one gallons. Put 'em back in over budget on everything you can imagine, just to make sure you get the client absolutely needs. Right. But most importantly, you get the scale. Right. That's, and, and I get it. I, I think we've all been there.
You're, you're, I think you're frustrated because you spent this time. You think you're doing something really good. Come to find out. That's a bad mistake. That's a bad mistake. I mean, you, you can't, it's nothing, nothing. You can teach in school. It's nothing. You can be. You on your direct boss or or manager you report to can relate, but Right.
You just have to experience something like [00:20:00] that to understand. Right.
Jason New: Well, that's, that's the mindset of somebody that's coming in there for the most part, is you're trying to give a client more than what they paid for if you can't find 'em what they want, right? Mm-hmm. But bigger doesn't always mean better, right? So,
Tommy Cole: lesson learned, you screwed. Right. So wait, and you're back. At this point, you manage a client, you're head of the division. Yep. You, you screwed it up. Absolutely. That's
Jason New: not great. Okay. You fall on the sword. Okay. You own up to it. You let 'em know we're gonna solve it. We instantly find a way to solve it.
Sword. We kept the, we kept the client. We instantly. Amends. We kept the client. We had everything looking beautiful for her party. We did all the quality landscaping that you can think of. All that solved, right? Absolutely. The team was put through torture, right? The schedule had to be shuffled, all hands on deck to go find the plants because we were waiting at the last second, you know, to find these things instantly, just all the way [00:21:00] around.
It was a headache and it was stressful for everyone involved, including the person, me who had to take these phone calls from, you know what? Usually is a very nice person, but man, this was an awful experience. Yeah, awful experience.
Tommy Cole: Very valuable. We're about to find out, right? Absolutely. So, so what did you, what did you do?
What was the next action plan after you got everything put back together? Client signs off. Thank you. Jason. What was the action
Jason New: point after that?
Very first thing I did when I got back to the office is I fired myself from account management. I was DONE like no more. ...... So if you're leading a team and you are there for others to support others and build programs and systems, the last thing you need to be doing is messing up account management.
Tommy Cole: So you fired yourself as an account manager. I love it. Yes. Right. Get out of the way. Yes. Get outta the way. This is not working. You're leading the team and account management.
Jason New: Absolutely not working. No. So it gave that lesson when we discussed, we came up with a better plan on [00:22:00] communication for our clients as a whole.
We learned from this and expanded on it. So what came from that was actually what we call a theme of the month conversation, right? There's base services that we give to all of our clients that are included in our program, right? Our clients need to know what's happening. Those are the status updates we're gonna communicate every month about what we're doing on their property.
We should be if you're not, right. So that's the way they know this is what they're paying. So they should get that above that. Where we got in trouble is when we didn't communicate the seasonal things that needed to happen. Mm-hmm. That were not in contract, and that we needed to come and bring that to their attention in a way that our team could actually do well.
Like if we set ourselves up with only three weeks lead time. To get materials shame on us, right? So we got ahead of this, we're like, okay, we need a 60 day lead time minimum. We got it up to 90 days. Yeah, we got 90 days in advance. We'd have a communication go out to all of our clients about[00:23:00] theme of the month.
This is the time we start planning for seasonal color. Here's the color choices you chose last. Here's the time we need to make a selection so we can get you on the schedule and then also go out and find the material so that they're available and ready for us at this time.
Right? Yeah. And we've come up with 12 months of things that were seasonal throughout the entire program that allowed our garden managers at that point, account managers, if you want to call it that, to be able to be successful in communication. That actually got so much easier, Tommy, when we started going after.
People that knew how to communicate , no one that has had this time of training. They're like, well, what am I gonna talk to my client about? Yeah, you want me to talk to 'em or call 'em once a month? What do you want me to say? Yeah. You're like, well, if you build out something that you can talk about, you can stay on a schedule and, and have a regimen of what seasonal things are needed.
That's a game changer. Yeah. Would
Tommy Cole: you agree that most account managers. Don't know what to communicate. They don't. Right. That's probably the biggest question. Right? Yep. [00:24:00] So in other words, you were able to create a sort of a 12 month calendar and say, all right, fall enhancements are fall seasonal color.
That typically goes in what, October, November? Yes. We should be planning that in July, August. Yes. Right. So you should be reaching out to the client or going. Fall preparation. This is what we think we should do to the property. This is what we recommend. Here's some options on types of color and plants and things for your fall.
Yes, parties, Halloween, all that right in the cooler months. You're proactively asking them in engaging communication, getting an estimate, signing 'em off, picking the colors, sourcing the plant material, right? Is that what you're
Jason New: talking about? Absolutely. And what, what's great about this is whether you're leading a team, you're a business owner, or you are the account manager doing this, If you have a better plan going into this, the client feels like you're leading the conversation.
Mm-hmm. Right? You're not being reactive, you're not being [00:25:00] responsive. You're going after this and going, here's where we're going and what's next. And the great thing about that is, It works for everybody. Operationally, it works for them, right? So your team internally thanks you for having a better plan, and then beyond that, you get to a point where you can start being efficient at some of the things you do.
Mm-hmm. And so I don't our communication and you know, at that time, I mean, Tom, we were commercial and residential, right? So we were like, okay, this can apply to both. It looks a little. Depending on the client, but we could have 12 months of communication pre-build on what we're gonna send out on a residential style of doing service.
Yeah. We had 12 months of communication going out on a commercial style of doing service, and it looked a little different, but we were able to make it happen. And I gotta tell you, it was great for training, like bringing in a brand new account manager, they knew what they had to do. Yeah. It wasn't like you're gonna guess at this every month.
Tommy Cole: Every month. You know, this is really interesting. We were in a. Peer group meeting last week, and this was like a [00:26:00] pretty big focus with all of our business owners in that conference room center. And I mean, we went way off track, way off schedule about communicating with the client on a yearly basis.
Like how do you stay engaged and how do, what do you talk. But I love the idea of having, this is what needs to happen in each of these months. That's right. For the entire year. Right. And it changes anything from, you know, power washing to mulch madness. Right. That we talked about this. Right? That's right.
Which can happen in March depending on your geographic region. I, I love that. So it gives them a outline of something to discuss throughout the year, but most importantly, they start looking ahead into fall. Right? They're thinking about it in the summer. Yes. But they're thinking they, it needs to act in fall.
And most landscapers are what? Last minute. Oh yeah. Very end. Oh my gosh. Rush, rush. I'm so busy Last minute. [00:27:00] Right. This gives 'em a roadmap of what to do
Jason New: throughout the year. Okay. Well, and, and to throw this out there we had some pushback from our managers when we started this idea.
This thought of like, well, our clients are gonna get too much communication. Oh wait, they're gonna, let's stop. Right. Whoa, whoa. Yeah. Right. Have you ever,
Tommy Cole: yeah. You know where I'm going with this? Oh yeah. We had this conversation last week. Have you ever heard of a client? Go, Jason, stop. You are communicating to me way too much.
I'm tired of your emails, I'm tired of your phone calls of let me know everything going on in this property. Have you ever had anyone say that
Jason New: to you? No. No. I mean, zero. Flat out. Zero. Well,
Tommy Cole: until they say, stop communicating too much, Jason. Mm. Carry
Jason New: on. Yes. Right. I mean, carry on. This is, and and what's great about this, okay, for those of you who are in residential, do the husband and the wife Oh, great point.
Right? Because what happens is you've got somebody that's giving you all these designs and things of ideas that you're gonna say yes, yes, yes to. And then you've got somebody else that might be actually [00:28:00] writing you the checks. Correct. It's great to keep 'em both in the same page. Yeah. What about, so what about a commercial
Tommy Cole: property?
Are you, so back to the building. Yep. Are you're sending an email to that person or is there anybody else to recap or
Jason New: to include? I'd say for building engineer, property manager, if you've got a gatekeeper. Okay. Even that's involved in you writing you pos for checks on a commercial level, get the gatekeeper involved, the finance person.
Right. You know,
Tommy Cole: it, that pays the bill. I get it. Okay. So I love to get in this, you, you mentioned earlier proactive instead of reactive. Yes, I love that, but I think it's like we use those words too much, but don't really stop for a second to understand. Tell me why those are so important,
Jason New: so reactive.
If you're able to pull it off, they know that you're capable and they'll stay with you if you're capable, if they don't have a better option. Right. So your client base is gonna go, at least they're able to get it done. They do [00:29:00] good quality work. Mm-hmm. Well stay with them. I know. I'm gonna have to ask the question and they'll respond and get me taken care of.
Yep. Whereas when you're proactive, And you're anticipating what these clients need leading that conversation. What great thing happens from there is you're building trust and a relationship. They won't look anywhere else. They don't wanna look anywhere else. Mm-hmm. You're building long-term friendships and relationships with people that trust you, that instantly they're gonna, they're gonna go, my gosh, they got my back.
They're, this is what I'm paying for. Yeah. This is the type of service I'm looking for. Yeah.
Tommy Cole: I, I think landscapers just get in a rut of being, oh man, Ms. Smith, call me again. She wants more mulch, or Now she wants this or this HOA client wants this and, , Oftentimes we just complain about the client.
Yeah, right. Instead of going, I need a 12 month plan to tackle this HOA or this this condominium housing project of when I'm gonna touch [00:30:00] base. I love the idea actually of. When the irrigation report goes out every month of your inspection of your irrigation system. Right. That's like a lead into the conversation.
Mm-hmm. Hey, how's it going? Just let you know. Here's your uh, inspection report. Everything looks great, man. How about those Kansas City Chiefs last week went in the Super Bowl? Mm-hmm. Right. Just to let you know, we'll be doing this and this and this these next couple of weeks, but we're two months away from seasonal color starting in the.
Giving 'em a heads up. Right. So that's kind of like an introduction to that monthly plan. You're talking about
Jason New: load and, and one thing I'll throw out there, it's educational. Like they don't know what to ask. Mm-hmm. Most of your clients, unless they've had a person like you who is a good communicator, who's showing them ahead of time, what they should be looking for, and the things to be, you know, that they should know, they're really gonna love how you are educating them.
The right way to do, you know, take care of their property. Yeah.
Tommy Cole: Don't wait to be told what to do. Yeah. Right. I think you've
Jason New: said that a hundred times. That's it. I mean, [00:31:00] it's, it's simple, right?
Tommy Cole: Love it. You sort of drive the conversation, right, in order to be more efficient. Can you give me like three takeaways that says like, if I knew these three things I would be successful in communicating with this maintenance client, what are three things to take away as a new account manager that they could probably be successful?
Jason New: Number one, block, a calendar for yourself to go and see the properties. Okay. If you're not gonna see the properties, you have nothing to talk about. Love it. Okay. Block your calendar, go to the properties and see them. And , once a month should be the minimum. If you're doing high end, you may have some once a week.
Tommy Cole: saying like, we often live in this digital world. Well, I'll just send an email. Right? Yeah. Emails are great, but actually the impact they have is not near as much than being onsite with a property
Jason New: manager. Love it and, and in off season two, if you're up north and you got snow on the ground, [00:32:00] go to the property.
Yeah. Don't make an excuse. Be consistent. Yeah. So the number two thing, okay. When you're at that property, before you leave, write a note to the client. Recap, email something. Right. Do it in writing, because so many people will try to take a phone call, do a text, and say they've accomplished what they're trying to do.
And that to me is not a great way of communication. That's a shorthand way to just get a response. Write an email and do a full recap of some things you're seeing and do a nice note that's trackable and it's something you can always follow up with later. Hey, I wanna make sure you got this email. Yep.
Great. I love
Tommy Cole: it. So just to recap a couple things leading the conversation with the client that is just, you know, taking charge, that's being proactive proactive versus reactive. I think every landscaper across the country has dealt with that everyone understands. Put a plan in place for communication with your team.
I love the monthly calendar once a month. This is the two or three things that we're [00:33:00] always gonna reach out to our. Absolutely. I had a, a great time Jason. You know, this is, we're sort of early in this process, a podcast, but we just wanted to share the story to to everyone out there. Thank you for sitting down with us and understanding this crazy mum story and, and you firing yourself.
I think that's just being honest. And, and we can learn from those things, so I appreciate it.
Jason New: It's been fun, Tommy. I'm looking forward to many more of these Great.
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