I know we never say anything negative about our competition, but that doesn''t mean we really love them, does it?
We are, after all, trying to outmaneuver them in the marketplace, court some of their customers and generally take business away from them, any way we can.
Seize The Moment … Cautiously
It is important to remember this can all be accomplished in a professional way.
Our job as marketers is to exploit the differences between our company and our competition.
Oftentimes we use labor rates, volume discount offerings or simple reductions in profit to remove customers from our competitor''s client lists.
While in the short term it may seem wise to "hijack" certain clients, if we have done so with a low price strategy, we will also lose that client when another competitor can usurp our price by following the same strategy.
It seems that this competitive process has driven the professional cleaning company value down in the marketplace.
Many times the only question a potential client has for us in the cleaning industry is about price, but rarely about the value associated with that price.
We are thought of as "low ball artists," who cut each other''s throats and prices, just to gain an economic advantage.
Clients continue to shop our companies and force us to negotiate against each other without regard of what professional services constitute.
Different Business Proposition
What if we explored a way to solicit clients with a focus on helping educate them on what a professional service delivers, including such intangibles as training, support, community involvement, insurance protection, professional standards, forward-thinking strategies, synergistic relationships and commonsense?
Instead of just sending over a price for basic services, give a powerful presentation of just how well your company can provide intangible benefits like knowledge of employee backgrounds and other important features that help build a professional relationship.
Using a training program to support sales is a way to sell solutions that clients care about.
Have you ever wondered why many buildings we work in have been through several cleaning companies?
In our sales presentation it is important to find out just how many times they have switched contractors.
More than a couple of switches may indicate which features of a more professional focus can bring the most benefits.
Or, just as importantly, find out if the client is value-driven or economically-driven.
We, as professionals, must change the boundaries of our presentations to move away from the usual pricing challenges to a more proactive strategy of using all the company resources to produce long-term client relationships that will meet the goals of both partners in the cleaning program.
Our need is to be profitable; our client''s need is to be serviced professionally for the life of their building.
Marketing our company training process can help deliver a level of comfort to the client.
After all, don''t they want to know that we know what we are doing?
With the market today focusing on a more scientific approach to cleaning processes with green cleaning and clients using more specialty surfaces in their buildings, they have to be assured that the company selected is knowledgeable in the correct processes to routinely, periodically or restoratively service their flooring or other contents of the building.
It is our challenge to begin to think differently, and with a different process in place, you can expect to struggle a bit in the short term.
Education of the marketplace takes time to complete, but the enduring effects will secure a bright future for the cleaning profession.
If you are looking for different ideas to foster these types of relationships with clients, contact Dane Gregory, a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for IICRC Certification. He also presents a business opportunity for newcomers in the cleaning industry in the care of ceramic tile, stone and grout, with a full equipment and training package. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you will find a safety program template that can be purchased or contacted at www.tilecarebusiness.com.