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Management And Training

Networking Yourself

February 01, 2011
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In today''s cleaning marketplace, it has never been more accurate that who you know matters more than what you know.

How many of our companies actually seek out other professionals to help build our business, while helping those professionals build their businesses?

Our marketing efforts are always challenging to get our companies to a certain level of success.

When I work with cleaning professionals as a consultant, I find that each company has a different level of understanding about the marketplace they choose to service.

A lot of companies use the information they have unearthed as a baseline for continued marketing efforts.

In other words, they continue to do what they have always done, expecting different results like higher levels of sales.

To actually achieve higher levels of sales, we must perform different marketing efforts.

With basic marketing plans, we seek to advertise our services to everyone in a geographical radius with an enticement to purchase.

This plan works in the beginning of our company history because we will find that a number of clients like to change companies easily when offered a reason to switch.

This marketing type will bring a new company to a certain level of revenue.

To build on that revenue base, we need to add additional marketing resources to that marketing piece.

One such resource is networking.

By using relationships to add cheerleaders to the market, we get better market penetration than we can ever get with our own devices.

By utilizing a relationship with a flooring supplier, we can convince them that we know how to properly maintain the floors they sell, resulting in a better impression of the flooring, which could bring more potential sales to the flooring store because longer lasting flooring is what every flooring consumer is looking to purchase.

But, why stop there?

We have so many more potential referral sources to explore.

How about the mat rental companies?

They replace walk off matting each week or multiple times per week at many commercial buildings all over your market.

Do you think they know which buildings are doing a good job of maintenance and which ones are not?

A sales professional taking that route has access to the front office decision makers — or at least the receptionists in each office — to make a quality introduction to a professional maintenance company.

Our payback to the matting driver is to also refer them into buildings we currently maintain as a professional courtesy.

Many buildings also need a professional sweeping service for their outdoor parking lots and parking structures.

With the understanding that outdoor maintenance affects the interior maintenance quality, our quest would be to find a quality professional sweeping service to service our existing clients and have the sweeping service offer us referrals into buildings they currently serve.

Since we sell to the same customer type but offer a different service package, there is no potential for crossover or competitive behaviors.

A book by Harvey McKay, an envelope manufacturer from Minneapolis, called Swim With the Sharks, Without Being Eaten Alive, is a great book on this type of business networking.

Harvey believes that the better network you build, the more successful you can become.

Give it a try and see if you can build something through networking.

Dane Gregory is the commercial sales manager for Bridgewater Corporation, which owns Interlink Supply. He works with commercial cleaners to help them build their businesses by adding services without a lot of additional cost. He also helps them with technical aspects of cleaning carpet, tile and grout and stone surfaces. Gregory instructs classes for each floor surface as well as the Commercial Cleaning Initiative, which covers all these floor surfaces. He may be reached at

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