SyngentaLearn how one LCO grows his customer base with annual applications and a unique sales team.

Michael Juchnowicz

Michael Juchnowicz

Taking care of clients and the environment are two of the top priorities for Michael Juchnowicz, president of Gardenmasters of S.W. Florida in Venice, Fla. That’s why he focuses on having personable interactions and making calculated applications on every property.

“We’re not trying to sell them,” Juchnowicz says. “We’re trying to be problem solvers.”

His 56-member team offers lawn care services, as well as interior, lawn and ornamental pest control. The company’s clients are 50 percent residential, 45 percent commercial and 5 percent municipal properties. Gardenmasters also services a few athletic fields and has an annual revenue of more than $5 million.

LCOs looking to expand their customer base can follow Juchnowicz’s three-fold approach:

One and done

Each region faces its own set of pests, and for Juchnowicz and his team, chinch bugs are their main concern. “In our geographic area, chinch bugs are the most prevalent problem in St. Augustine turf,” he says. “The chinch bug is our biggest nemesis.”

To combat the insect and its damage to clients’ properties, Juchnowicz turned to Syngenta’s Meridian insecticide. He’s been using the product since its inception and has yet to have callbacks for chinch bugs or problems with the product.

“We don’t have to retreat, and I’ve never had to call Syngenta to tell them it failed,” he says.

He applies the highest rate legally permitted each May to treat for chinch bugs.

“With the millions of square feet I service, it’s more cost effective for me to apply something once and then not have to worry about it for the rest of the summer, instead of having to go back and respray,” he says.

An added benefit he’s found is that Meridian also provides grub control. While only a few of his 20,000 accounts have reported grub issues, the ability to offer grub control is still an asset.

“If you only have a handful of customers who have grubs, you still have a twofold benefit. That’s huge,” he explains. “You can treat them all at once.”

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David Shetlar, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Chinch bug damage to a home lawn that was originally mistaken for disease damage.

Break the sales mold

Gardenmasters relies on its portfolio of green and healthy lawns to show potential clients what its team can achieve, says Juchnowicz, who has owned the company for 21 years.

David Shetlar, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Full winged adult southern chinch bug on St. Augustine grass blade.

“We grow the business every year by 10 to 18 percent,” Juchnowicz says. “Our customers look for results and not the sales pitch. They see that there are no chinch bugs or insect damage on their turf and that their turf is greener, healthier and more pristine.”

Another important component to growing Gardenmasters’ customer base has been its sales team, although it might not fit the traditional description of one.

Juchnowicz’s sales people are retirees who work part time, giving the team an average age of 61. The team includes an Air Force retiree and the former mayor of Venice, to name a few. They all wear polo shirts and drive Kia Souls, completing the approachable persona, he adds.

“When the customers-to-be see a gentleman like that, they’re not threatened by him and are more open and apt to hire us,” Juchnowicz says.

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Onboard with education

The sales team has a 90- to 95-percent close rate when they come out to a property, he says. Customers can sign up for a service agreement on the spot, or they can request a quarterly service and sign up for a long-term agreement or cancel after that time period.

The team looks to educate clients after the initial application, letting them know that while the treated chinch bugs might still be alive for a few days after treatment, they have ingested the chemical and are no longer doing any damage.

“Once they’re on this program year after year, we don’t have issues,” he says.

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Lawn Selling Tips

Want to share your selling tips with other LCOs? Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #LawnSellingTips.

To learn more about Syngenta, visit www.greencastonline.com. For more information on Meridian insecticide, download the product detailer.

Syngenta


Quiz: How can you improve your insecticide selling potential?

Having a great team of employees is the key to educating clients about your insecticide services. Five random respondents that complete the quiz and provide their information will be entered into a drawing to win one of five Leatherman tools.

Test your knowledge on selling insecticides and the right tools to use.

 


This page was produced by North Coast Media’s content marketing staff in collaboration with Syngenta. NCM Content Marketing connects marketers to audiences and delivers industry trends, business tips and product information. The Landscape Management editorial staff did not create this content.

Photos: David Shetlar, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org; Juliandra Durkin on Unsplash.com