My head was racing around all over the place this morning. Here are some thoughts I had about running your business that I wanted to put out there for you to read:
1. There are so Many Cleaning Businesses these Days that Marketing has to play a part in your strategy
Outside of the chemistry that you use and the level of professionalism that you provide, there might not be too much that sets your business apart from another.
This is where marketing is truly vital. Marketing is the essential tool for unlocking the unseen value in your business
Martin Davidson put it best in his book “The Consumerist Manifesto: Advertising in Postmodern times”. Although Davidson wrote this book back in the 90s, his advice is still remarkably true today:
"The philosophy of the 50s and 60s was to burrow away into the minutiae of a product’s technical specifications until something unique to it was found; this USP (unique selling proposition) would then form the basis for the advertising. Occasionally, of course, this is the most motivating reason to buy, but when products become more and more interchangeable, the hunt for the USP becomes more and more sterile, trivial, and marginal.
The perceived difference allows you to concentrate on intangibles that you can control. If you make three types of whisky you advertise one as the one you pay a hefty premium for in order to give as a lavish present, to consummate very formal social gatherings, or to brandish as a token of discrimination; the other as the one you bring out when a mate comes round, lubricating long evenings of convivial male bonding; and the third as the one you swill around your mouth when it’s the peaty taste of Scotland you want to savour. These added values make the difference and are as integral to the advertising as they then become to the product (sic)"
In other words, a brand is powerfully different to other brands because its advertising is different. The advertising is the USP.”
To put it succinctly: customers will want to use your service if you effectively communicate to them WHY they should use it.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes. If a customer wants their carpet cleaned they’re going to look for somebody on Google, ask a friend, or maybe they have saved a business card. This is where you have the critical chance to stand out and communicate your value.
2. When communicating to a customer why they should use your service, focus on the intangibles
It’s easy to rave about your chemistry when you know how effective your prespray is. Contrary to what you might think though, customers don’t really want to hear about this.
According to Davidson, customers want to hear about the *intangibles* that you can control. In other words, what are you doing that you can make the customer aware of?
- Creating a comfortable home environment
- Ridding their home of bacteria
- Preserving the life of their carpet/upholstery
- Helping them enjoy a more relaxing home environment
These are the things that the customer wants to talk about, the benefits that they will be able to feel in your service. Make sure to focus on these.
3. The best way to focus on the intangibles is to tell stories
People remember stories and they relate to them. Stories transport your customers to the realm of imagination and make it possible for them to personally envision the impact of your cleaning.
Whenever possible use stories in your marketing:
- Include testimonials (there's nothing better than hearing a favorable story from another customer)
- Use descriptive adjectives that arouse the senses
- Describe your work in a way that makes it easy for your customers to imagine
4. In our industry, you have a unique opportunity that others don’t get to experience
You get to interact with a customer in their home! Just think about that for a minute, and let that sink in.
Home is the place where your customer is the most vulnerable. This presents a great opportunity but also poses a great risk.
On the one hand, don’t do anything to piss them off because those bad memories will stick with them and they won’t use your services again.
But if you’re doing business the right way, you’ll be able to build a mountain of trust. How do you do that?
- Talk to the homeowner for 5-10 minutes each visit to establish rapport
- Ask them questions to understand their concerns
- Point out problem areas that you notice and explain what you’ll do to help
- Don't ever cut corners. Always clean homes using the proper commercial carpet cleaning equipment.
- Place foam furniture blocks underneath the legs/arms of furniture surrounded by wet carpet so that staining doesn't occur
- These are just a few examples; there are surely many more that you can think of
If you do this right you build trust which fosters loyalty. When a customer is loyal to you they will always choose you over any other company.
5. A loyal base of customers is one of the best assets your business can have
Customers that love you will refer you to their friends. You’ve already proved to them that you do a great job, meaning that they will be more willing to trust you to offer other services.
It’s essential to invest in these relationships. Not only will it make your job more enjoyable, but it’s a catalyst that will lead to success in other areas of your business.
Hopefully, this helps! Remember, how you position yourself and how you communicate to your customers is just as important as how you clean. If you can’t do these things then you’ll have a hard time getting in the door, to begin with. Start by practicing the basics; at the end of the day, it’s all about building relationships!