- THE MAGAZINE
In this time of the “credit crunch” sweeping across the global marketplace, it appears many folk are walking around a little forlorn, possibly wondering what will happen to them if they lose their job or, if they work for themselves, when the phone might ring again.
Not good. What we should all be doing is looking at how we can optimize efficiencies and efforts to make the telephone ring.
See if this sounds familiar: like a lot of people in the cleaning industry, this time last year you were very busy, and probably more worried about how you were going to fit that extra job in than whether or not there might be an extra job. You weren’t doing any extra marketing, or maybe you weren’t doing any because the work was that good.
Of course, that’s gone now and you’re wondering, What do I do now? The more news you read the more depressing it gets. But instead of feeding this monster of gloom and despair, why not focus energies on the positives, the things we can change?
I hear talk of colleagues reducing their prices to gain work. I think this is premature at this stage of the game; there are some other things we should be doing a better job of first. We still need to sell the benefits of why clients – new and old – should use us. Tell them about the education and certification we have gone through to be able to offer a first-class cleaning or restoration service. Tell them you belong to an association or organization allied to our trade. Tell them of the peace of mind our training and certification brings when one of our certified colleagues comes to their home, their sanctuary.
If you have not been through a certification course, perhaps now is the time to do it. Being a registrant or member of a recognized cleaning body helps you promote yourself and the industry’s professionalism. We need to be different, we need to offer our clients confidence so that when they are looking for the right person to clean or restore their home or business they can make the choice by using a certified technician.
Differentiation is just part of marketing your business which, incidentally, should be something you carry out all-year round, even when you are busy. If it’s done right, as I was told many years ago, it is just like turning on a tap. The more work you want, the more you turn it on. So what should you be doing now to bring in the work?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, from my understanding. But as a basic rule, realize the importance of your employees and your existing clients; both have the ability to be your biggest resource and referral source or your worst nightmare. Keep them informed, educated, and mindful of your value. I personally prefer to do this monthly. I know many will send cards during the holidays throughout the year, but it’s not enough.
If your budget is too tight for advertising, try public relations or digital media strategies. There is a wealth of resources in the marketplace (including professional associations) that can provide insights and best practices you can easily leverage in your business. Tap them and give yourself and your business a fighting chance.