Market, Don't Advertise
I can''t tell you how many times advertising representatives have told me that advertising pays.
My response is to emphatically agree that, when I buy advertising, they always get paid.
The problem for me as a consumer of advertising is that I often don''t get the results I want.
Additionally, advertising is often very expensive and it can be extremely difficult to measure its effectiveness.
So, you might be asking yourself, "Should I be advertising?"
My answer is maybe.
As long as it is part of a well-thought-out marketing strategy, advertising is worth it.
Otherwise, don''t waste your money.
Marketing and advertising are not the same thing.
Advertising is a subset of marketing and can be an essential part of your marketing efforts; but, this is not always the case.
Along with my extensive background in the sanitary supply industry, I teach marketing to graduate students in William Woods University''s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
Let me share with you the essence of what I teach my students.
Good marketing involves three essential components:
- Identifying your unique value proposition (UVP).
- Identifying your target market
- Developing your communication plan.
At the end of the day, your UVP is why people do business with you.
What do you do for your customers that no one else can offer in the way you do it?
People are not looking for the cheapest price; they are looking for the best value and, often, they are more than willing to pay for it.
What most building managers want is a no-hassle partnership with a responsive cleaning professional that consistently delivers topnotch service day in and day out.
Contract cleaning is, first and foremost, a service business.
Provide great, consistent service and you will be way ahead of 90 percent of your competition.
The second component of effective marketing is identifying your target market.
Your target market is a definable group of people that receive the most value from your goods and services.
In the cleaning industry, this is a very small group of people.
This is also why most traditional advertising is not cost effective for building service contractors (BSCs).
Advertisers charge you for the number of total exposures.
Mass media has a lot of total exposures, but most of the people who will hear or see your advertisement are not your customer.
This brings us to component number three: Your communication plan.
Spend your time, effort and money on communicating your UVP to your target market.
Again, let me emphasize that your overall target market is quite small.
The best way to reach that target market is through relational marketing.
You need to be in and around places that your target market frequents.
If what a building manager really wants is a partnership with a reliable cleaning professional, and you are such a professional, then the most likely reason they won''t do business with you is because they don''t know who you are or they don''t know enough about you to ensure trust.
Trust Is Not Trivial
So, how do humans establish trust?
We spend time around each other.
That is why it is so important to get involved with your community in general and with industry-specific groups in particular.
I really encourage the clients I work with to join their local Chamber of Commerce and/or other networking groups.
Get involved in a local charity and/or civic group like Rotary International.
People need to know who you are and, when they get to know you, they will naturally want to do business with you.
If there is an International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) in your area, become an active member.
One of the best ways to promote your business is through what Chet Holmes, in his book The Ultimate Sales Machine, calls educational marketing.
Find a way to showcase your expertise through educational seminars and classes.
Once you establish yourself as an expert, people will seek you out to do business.
Good marketing encompasses everything you do with your business.
From the way you answer the phone to the uniforms your employees wear, your image, how you carry yourself and your reputation is so much more powerful than an advertisement in print or on the radio.
My advice to most BSCs is to get out there and spread the good news about who you are and what you do.
There are tons of building managers who would like to partner with a cleaning professional just like you.
If you would like a complimentary executive summary of the The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, e-mail me at RMayes@TheSuccessCoachNetwork.com
Randy Mayes is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation (ICF) and is a management and organizational development expert. He may be reached at RMayes@TheSuccessCoachNetwork.com. Mayes has more than 20 years of management experience in the JanSan industry and now works full time as an executive coach, consultant and trainer. He is also is an adjunct professor for William Woods University''s MBA program teaching classes in entrepreneurship, management and marketing. His latest project is called Leadership Book of the Month, which is a quick and easy way for business owners and busy professionals to keep up with the latest trends and developments in business and leadership. Learn more about the project at www.LeadershipBookOfTheMonth.com.