Working in landscaping, it's easy to forget exactly how big of a purchase your services are. Most customers will only contract the services of a landscaper once or twice in their lives, if at all; as such, the decision-making process is serious business, and anything you can do to aid and encourage that is just good business . . . even if every client you've seen today has been trying to choose between the same two colours of slate for their project. This is why only keeping a catalogue of options for your clients is missing a trick.
While you may feel that showing your potential clients a catalogue full of potential options is sufficient to get their inspiration flowing, that may not be the case. Colours look different in photographs than they do in real life; textures cannot be fully appreciated until the customer has a tile or stone right in front of them. Equally, you need to bear in mind that many customers will be shopping around. Your business is likely neither the first nor last each customer approaches. As such, they may have seen these catalogues already. Let your point of difference be that they can actually see and touch the products they're debating on. It will absolutely help them to make decisions.
Of course, there's absolutely no way you can keep a full stock of options available to touch first-hand—not unless you're working out of a full-scale warehouse! As such, you'll need to be smart about how you keep these samples. It may be wise to build up your collection over time, keeping off-cuts and scraps from previous jobs to display. Samples don't have to be full-size stones or tiles to give customers the right idea, after all. Doing it this way will also save on costs, as you won't be ordering the product in just to show it off. However, your suppliers may be ahead of the game here. It's well worth contacting them to see if they offer any sample boards. These are much easier to store and make it easy for your clients to compare options from the same range.
Some customers may wish to take your samples away to check the colours in the actual space they'll be placed in. You should always allow this. Sure, you may lose a sample or two, but if that's the cost of securing business, then it'll be the cheapest marketing you've ever bought.
While stones, tiles and suchlike only form a very small part of what you do as a landscaper, it's a key part of the design and decision-making process for your customers, and may in fact be the only part of the project they're truly involved in. As such, putting a lot of effort into this aspect and really supporting your customers in their selections will pay dividends in the end.
For more information, visit a website such as http://www.hayters.com.au/.