- THE MAGAZINE
Whether last year was a boom, bust or merely average, now is a great time to dedicate yourself to a fantastic new year. Believe it or not, our industry has not been affected by the downturn as much as many other businesses. Have you talked to any builders, carpet retailers, car salesmen or Realtors lately?
Whether last year was a boom, bust or merely average, now is a great time to dedicate yourself to a fantastic new year. Believe it or not, our industry has not been affected by the downturn as much as many other businesses. Have you talked to any builders, carpet retailers, plumbers, architects, new car salesman or realtors lately? Count your blessings and let’s look at 10 ways to build momentum for a highly prosperous new year.
1. Feed Your Mind With Positive ThinkingIn case you haven’t noticed, you are living in the world of sales and it is a roller coaster of emotions. When the week is full of jobs, you are on the mountaintop. When next week’s schedule is empty, that stocker’s job at Home Depot doesn’t look so bad. People in sales have to keep their head on straight and feed their mind with good, encouraging thoughts.
The basic difference between winners and losers is attitude. How is yours? Read good motivational books frequently and listen to CD’s in your car. Hang out with people that have a can-do attitude and join groups made up of successful people. If you can believe it you can achieve it.
2. Plant Seeds Every DayMake a point to reach out to people with whom you wish to do business or see you as a referral source. A phone call, a visit, a card or a gift to business prospects ought to happen every day, especially when business is slow. 48% of sales people never follow up. 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop. 12% of sales people make a third contact and then stop. Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts. 2% of sales are made on the first contact. 3% of sales are made on the second contact. 5% of sales are made on the third contact. 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact. 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
If you are not cleaning all day, you ought to be planting seeds during the downtime. Market face to face with carpet retailers, realtors, BNI groups, the Chamber of Commerce, property managers, etc. and do it on a consistent basis.
3. Get Your Employees ExcitedHave frequent meetings with your employees and be the motivator that they need. Give them goals and incentives, proper training and always be positive in front of them. You have got to get yourself pumped up to pump them up. Be realistic about your business and don’t “blue sky” them but let them know about your marketing endeavors and let them know about your business goals and plans. They are your link to the customer, so if you are excited, they most likely will be too, and that translates into a happy customer.
4. Don't Listen to the MediaThe media’s job is to scare the pants off of the public so that they can sell their stories and papers. We still live in the greatest country of all time. The United States economy is larger than the economy of China, the UK, France, Japan and Germany put together, so plan your work and work your plan and let the naysayers be mired in their muck while you succeed. Make your decision to not participate in the recession.
5. Tighten Up the ShipIf you do have a period of time where business is down, use that as an opportunity to cut the waste and get your systems in order. Unload bad or mediocre employees and take a close look at all your costs and see where you can save money. Make a budget and stick with it.
As a business coach, I am amazed at how many carpet cleaning companies have no budget at all. I would say that the number of companies without a budget would be close to 80%. When business gets going again, and it will if you are planting seeds, your profit margin will increase because you made a budget, cut costs and made your business more efficient.
6. Get EducatedDetermine that you will be a leader in the industry by getting certified in all the services that you offer and having all of your technicians certified. Decide to go to industry events and seminars. The cost of going may seem prohibitive but the cost of not going can really be expensive. It is at these events that you meet other owners and collect great ideas and strategies that can make your company more successful. The speakers, booths and product displays are invaluable for learning the very latest trends in our industry. Regional groups and associations are also an important part of making your business more professional.
7. Add ServicesThis industry is constantly changing and what worked five years ago may not work today. Many more homes have hard floor surfaces and if you are not cleaning these surfaces, your bottom line is not what it could be. 18% of carpet sold now is area rugs and that means that you ought to be cleaning area/ Oriental rugs. Naturally, IICRC certification in this service is essential and you cannot get enough training for this highly skilled process. Tile and grout cleaning should be part of your repertoire and many companies have added natural stone surfaces and hard wood floors to their service menu.
Water damage restoration can be a tremendous profit center and for companies up north, it can be a life saver. Typically, companies in the northern states that do water damage restoration have their best month in January due to frozen pipes. This is a great trade off due to the fact that for carpet cleaning companies, especially in the north,
January can be a horrible month. Decide what services you can add without losing focus on your present services, get properly trained and certified and watch your bottom line take off.
8. CompartmentalizeWhen you are not working, forget about it. Being a business owner can just about send you to the funny farm, so learn how to shut off the ever-present thinking about business and relax. Winston Churchill wrote a great little book titled, Why I Paint. In that book, he told how he could never turn his mind completely off, so rather than think about all the problems England faced, his mind would get focused on his painting.
Enjoy your life and learn how to relax and be with your family. A hobby is a great thing to take the stress out of your life and when things get a bit slower, enjoy the free time and live a little.
9. Plant Seeds - AgainI know, this was item No. 2, but I cannot emphasize the importance of hitting the streets with marketing. Keller Williams Realty tells their agents to “ping” potential clients 21 times to have a successful business. A ping is when you contact a person either by email, in person, over the phone, via postcard or any other way that your name is in front of them. If you are not cleaning, you are marketing. It’s that simple. Action creates enthusiasm and action cures fear.
10. Plan Your Work and Work Your PlanTake some quiet time and determine what your marketing strategies will be and then fill your date book up each and every month. There is no shortage of markets for our industry so there is no excuse for not having something to do.
Make sure you go to Chamber events, networking groups, realtor events and offices, carpet retailers, interior designers, dry cleaners, hospitals, large office buildings, property managers, plumbers, insurance companies, condos, and the list goes on and on. While you’re at it have an eye-catching website, too, that can be seen by thousands on the top of search engines.
How well is your business going to do in the next year? Before you go blaming it on the sour economy, I believe that if you incorporate these ten ideas into your 2010 planning, at the end of the year you will be celebrating your success.