7 TIPS FOR CREATING A CAPTIVATING HARDSCAPE PORTFOLIO FOR YOUR NEXT SALES CALL
Let’s take a moment and revisit a hardscaping job that you were really proud of. So proud that your client may or may not have caught you smiling at the pavers. Can you remember what it felt like to walk around that site after all the tools and materials were put away? Now imagine if you could take those glorious feelings of contentment and pride and repurpose them into a marketing tool that would evoke pure excitement in your future clients. Can you also imagine how easy it would be to sell those jobs? Well, we have seven tips to help you create a captivating hardscape portfolio that will score you more work!
1. Showcase your most extraordinary examples.
Depending on how long you’ve been in the business, you may have worked on five jobs or 105 jobs. When you’re putting your project portfolio together, the key is to showcase your best work … not all of your work. Cherry pick the projects that you’re going to include. While this may be a difficult task, try and think about which jobs created the most happiness (for both you and your client). Limiting the number of examples you include in your portfolio will make it more impactful and digestible for the viewer.
2. Include eye-catching photography.
Photography is absolutely critical for an effective project portfolio. Whether you recruit a professional to help you capture the magic or attempt to do so on your iPhone, the photos must do your work justice. A project portfolio is not the place for bad lighting, fuzziness, or inaccurate representations of color. Hiring a talented photographer can pay dividends. It is money well spent! However, if it’s completely out of the question, check out our blog post 7 Tips For Taking Amazing Photos On Your Phone.
3. Tell a story.
Think of it this way: each one of your hardscape projects was its own little piece of nonfiction. There were characters, a theme, and a setting. There were needs (for drainage) and desire (for entertainment, perhaps.) And maybe there was a protagonist and an antagonist! Sharing these details in your portfolio will not only paint a more defined picture for the viewer, but also help humanize each example of your work. When you’re writing about your projects, try and answer these questions:
- Where was the location?
- What was the main objective of the project?
- What was the timeline you had to work with?
- Did you run into any obstacles? How did you overcome them?
- What materials did you use?
- Would you have done anything different?
- Did the client have anything special to say (i.e. a testimonial)?
4. Be grammatically correct.
As you’re crafting the story behind each example of your work, keep in mind that misspellings or improper grammar will cheapen your portfolio no matter how nice the pictures are. For starters, use Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or similar programs. These will catch the majority of spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. After you have your content in a good place, send it over to someone else for review (preferably someone who is a decent proofreader).
5. Feature professional highlights.
Maybe you’re ICPI Certified. Maybe you hold a degree in Landscape Architecture. Or maybe you have 20+ years installing and have installed more than 100,000 square feet of pavers. Whatever it may be that sets you apart from other contractors, be sure to feature it in your portfolio. Highlighting your credentials or awards will serve as a testament to your talent and commitment to professional development.
6. Make regular updates.
Touting outdated projects will defeat the entire purpose of even having a portfolio. As you complete new and extraordinary projects, incorporate them into your portfolio. You should conduct a regular review and remove any examples that feel outdated or can be replaced with fresh and recent content.
Putting together a hardscape portfolio takes time and energy. When it’s ready for the world to see, make sure you proudly share it! Whether you recreate it online or post it on your blog, Facebook, or LinkedIn profile, sharing your portfolio across various networks will increase the likelihood of you getting found and recruited for your next big gig! And be sure to send it along to past customers and encourage them to share in their networks.
Ready to get to work? Download our free Hardscape Portfolio Template to make the task of creating your own portfolio a little bit easier. The PowerPoint file is easy to use and allows you to quickly swap out photos and write-ups with your own content. You can save it as PDF when you’re finished and showcase it however you choose. We’ll even help you get started if you are new to PowerPoint. Happy designing!