Does your marketing plan fail to generate enough new accounts? Does it cost too much? Does it feel like it is a complete waste of time? You can promote your services appropriately by heeding the following list of mistakes and solutions.
Mistake No. 1: Making marketing a low priority
You will never have a successful marketing programme unless you make marketing a priority. Many janitorial companies want to grow but can’t, because they don’t spend enough time on marketing.
You need to spend your time focusing on marketing activities if you want to grow your company. You should allocate a certain number of hours each week to marketing. When deciding how much time to spend on promotion, you should first decide how large you want to grow your company. Janitorial companies who are seeking substantial growth normally spend one-third of their time on promotional activities.
Mistake No. 2: Giving up too easily
The most common marketing mistake that janitorial companies make is giving up on their programme too easily. Many janitorial companies will develop a solid marketing plan, implement it, and then give up on the plan when it fails to immediately produce new accounts.
First, you need to develop a solid marketing plan. If you are not marketing-minded, use a consultant to develop a programme tailored to your specific company, industry, and marketplace. After crafting the plan, you should diligently follow it. Even if the plan doesn’t immediately result in new accounts, don’t abandon it unless you’re absolutely certain the plan is flawed. Many janitorial marketing programmes don’t begin producing new accounts for three or four months. Following a plan when it is not producing is difficult. It requires commitment, discipline, and foresight.
Mistake No. 3: Failure to follow-up
Many janitorial companies will spend significant money promoting their products and services. When their efforts result in new business, their sales people will deliver a bid, for example, then fail to make a follow-up call to find out the customer’s decision. I’ve never understood this mistake, and it is inexcusable. It takes very little time and effort to perform proper follow-up. After spending significant time setting up a bid appointment, performing a walk-through, and delivering a bid, you should spend a few minutes to find out the decision of the customer.
You should always call a prospective customer after you deliver a bid. Accounts are won by performing follow-up. If a customer receives bid deliveries from multiple janitorial companies, he will probably soon forget the difference between the various janitorial providers. In these circumstances, the customer is likely to select the janitorial company that he best remembers. And the janitorial company that he remembers the best will be the company that has followed up the best.
The best strategy would be calling the customer every week until the customer has made a decision. If the customers select another janitorial company, you should consider calling these customers every month or two to find out if they are pleased with their decision. This will allow you to capitalize on the customers who select cleaners and later regret their decisions.
Mistake No. 4: Lack of funds
The key to good marketing is consistency. Many companies begin developing a marketing plan, but stop when they discover how expensive it will be to utilize the plan. Other companies start marketing and then stop when they run out of funds. Marketing plans vary widely in price. Some are very expensive to create and implement. You can spend a lot of money by designing and printing brochures, advertising in the yellow pages, telemarketing, or using direct mail.
Design a marketing plan that fits your budget. If your company is flush with cash, you can afford to spend money on advertisements and direct mail. If you are a small company on a tight budget, you should design a marketing plan that is less expensive. I built my company using a plan that cost almost nothing. I did not advertise, print brochures or use direct mail or telemarketing. The primary focus of my marketing plan was word of mouth, achieved by making cold calls for six to eight hours every week. The only cost associated with making cold calls is transportation to and from the cold-calling area.
Mistake No. 5: Neglecting to inform the customer
Many janitorial companies will develop and implement a marketing plan, but fail to tell the customer how to hire their services. They forget to include a “call to action” in their marketing message. Customers cannot hire you if they don’t know your name or how to reach you. I’m aware of multiple situations where a janitorial salesman will make a follow-up call and the customer says, “I’m so glad you called. I wanted to hire you, but I didn’t know how to reach you.”
If you want the customer to use your services, you must inform the customer how to do so. Make sure your marketing materials tell the customer exactly what actions they need to take.Neil Boyd, President, Alliance Maintenance, Inc. (With permission from ISSA.com)