This summer, as part of our vacation to Scandinavia, my wife and I visited Iceland. This Nordic island knows how to treat tourists. Visiting Iceland is not like visiting any other European location. Being interested in sales, I was surprised to learn how this island nation of just 325,000 people uses education-based marketing. As an example, I’ll share our experiences with Iceland’s auto rental industry.

PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Iceland’s International Airport contains two auto rental companies. What sets them apart from others is their incredible level of customer service and their education-based marketing. These car rental companies use cutting-edge technology; eye-catching branding; offer new cars, SUVs and trucks; and their employees wear colorful snappy uniforms. The employees also know how to “educate” visitors.

Driving in Iceland is an adventure because the countryside is rough and volcanic. Strong winds from the ocean often sweep across the rugged country, kicking up rocks and stones. Because of the wind, the rocks and the many off-road attractions in Iceland, which tempt tourists to leave the main roads, visitors often return rental cars to the airport with dings and dents in them. For this reason, the car rental companies created their own type of insurance called “Volcanic Ashe Insurance.”

We all know auto rental companies make their highest profits selling car insurance to their rental customers. But what truly impressed me about these companies was the sincere effort they take to “educate” customers about the need for this particular insurance. The education marketing starts the moment you land at the airport. First, you see car rental signs that explain the insurance in simple, clear language.

Then, as you travel in the van to the rental center, a video explains the Island’s landscape and driving conditions. If you’re still not convinced you need the insurance, video monitors at the rental center remind you why it’s a good idea. So, you’re hardly surprised when the friendly rental agent strongly recommends you get it.

The rental company’s efforts may sound overboard. And, in a sense, they are. But, they are also educating you about Iceland’s unique conditions and, in a real sense, they are genuinely interested in making your visit to their country less stressful and more enjoyable.

So how do my travels to Iceland relate to your landscape company? As service providers, we often assume incorrectly that our customers and even our own team members understand the importance of all of the services we offer. We can get so entrenched in what we are doing that we forget most of our customers do not understand why we offer certain services. With a new season upon us, I urge you to go deeper with your marketing and sales process.

  • Educate your employees. Educate employees on why customers need your products and services. You might be surprised how many of your team members don’t understand or believe in the value of the services you offer.
  • Educate your prospects and customers. Once you have invested the time in educating employees, focus on doing the same with prospects and customers.
  • Apply this marketing to slow-selling services. If you are looking
    to sell more of certain products or services, create a video and
    supporting literature to share with clients and prospects. If you are looking to sell more of certain products or services, create a video and supporting literature to share with clients and prospects.
  • Get ahead. Use education-based marketing to anticipate sales objections. For example, if you are in the irrigation business, show your clients in a video the importance of a new controller, and how much controller technology has advanced in recent years.
  • Use Evidence: Using irrigation as an example, show clients how much water they will save and why that is important to them environmentally and economically. Give them all the facts. The more educated prospects and clients are on why you sell certain services, the easier it will be to sell them.