As stated in the previous chapter, the available means of advertising / marketing your business are:
Radio / TV
Word of Mouth
Government Bid Solicitation
Internet / Website
TV, Radio, Billboards
We can safely eliminate TV & Radio as well as Billboards. I think you’ll agree this form of advertising far exceeds our $100 budget. Even if you had a million dollar company, you would rarely if ever use this marketing type. It simply doesn’t reach the clientele you’re looking for.
Phonebook Ads Phonebook ads are tempting but slow acting. And we’re not talking just a basic one-line listing. We’re talking at least an attention-grabbing quarter-page ad. These are very expensive, way beyond our budget, and a gamble, hoping that companies actually use phone books to locate janitorial services. Speaking from experience, this approach can cripple you and put a quick end to your bankroll and enthusiasm. Put your money safely back in you pocket and walk quickly away from this option.
Newspaper Ads The cost of a newspaper ad depends on size and placement. What you can afford, however, will be buried somewhere deep in the classified section. Homeowners might still use them. Companies do not.
Word-of-Mouth Well, you don’t have any accounts, so how will this help? But, do you have any acquaintances in a management position in a company that can refer you? This could come in handy if attaching a reference page to your first proposals.
Email Advertising There’s a word for unsolicited email advertising – SPAM. And you would be gambling that companies are going to warm to your brand of SPAM. Not likely. Besides, how are you going to acquire all the companies email addresses that you’re pursuing? Lists for sale with email addresses are no guarantee you will reach the right person and the cost would probably exceed your budget. Still, in a word – SPAM. Everybody but the sender hates it.
Ah, but there is a way to use periodic email reminders to companies who have in the past invited you to send them just that. There is a way to get their permission to send emails, but you’ll need a website. More on this option later.
Government Bid Solicitation While I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a new or existing government building to solicit a janitorial bid, I would, once a month, check the following link to see if anything is available in your area: https://www.fbo.gov/index Click on the tab titled Opportunities. In Keywords, type Janitorial. Even if you do find an availability in your area, you’ll have to register and follow all instructions explicitly.
That leaves us with the following plausible marketing options:
Internet / Website
Mailers Mailers do work. But you’ll have to know the addresses of the companies you’re mailing to. If you try to pick them out of the phone book, you’ll go mad. There are address lists you can buy which are categorized by zip code. But every time I sample a list, 85% are dedicated to restaurants, pubs or specific retail stores, companies that use strictly in-house cleaning personnel (see a recent sample on the left from a pro mailing list company. 90% are taverns and restaurants!). Also, aside from the cost of the list, you’ll have the expense of envelopes and, of course, stamps, which are no longer cheap. Because there is the possibility of repeat mailings to get peoples attention, this approach could well go over your $100 budget. Once, however, you have a stable and profitable business, and a catalog of select addresses, mailers then become a commendable approach.
Phone Solicitation Same problem with Mailers – you’ll need to know the phone numbers of the companies you’re trying to reach. A list will provide you with the numbers, but the above problems apply. Then there’s the problem that nobody likes phone solicitors. If you don’t mind hundreds of “No’s” or the occasional earful, this could be an effective way to inexpensively get that first invitation to bid. But what should you say to grab their interest before they hang-up on you. Substituting your company name for mine, try this approach:
“Hello, my name is Jeff Parker with Extremely Clean office janitorial. I’m calling because many companies in your area have expressed an interest in changing their janitorial service. I was wondering if you’d be interested in a cleaning upgrade as well?”
If they should express interest, get their name and address and set up a time for a tour of their facility.
If they continue the conversation and ask what type of services you offer, you can tell them:
“Based on the businesses in your area and their similar needs, our general services include the emptying, cleaning and relining of wastebaskets, full furniture cleaning, complete washroom sanitation, floor washing and re-polishing, vacuuming of carpets, runners and upholstery, spot removal, door & reception glass cleaning as well as thorough window cleaning on both sides. Plus, depending on your office’s flooring types, we also provide full carpet cleaning and vinyl floor renewal.”
Door-to-Door Solicitation You’ve seen the signs: “No Soliciting Allowed”. While every door may not have the no-soliciting sign, it has become implied.
We used to be able to use this solid approach in the 70’s, but more and more during the 80’s these no-soliciting signs went up almost to the saturation point.
But, if you have the intestinal-fortitude to withstand being shown the door occasionally in a gruff manner, one that suggests you don’t know how to read, this could well be the sure way to get that first bid within a matter of days, even a few hours effort.
Another plus is that, unlike all the previous site-unseen approaches to getting that invitation to bid, Door-to-Door soliciting allows you to pick the areas and preferred businesses that use office janitorial services, especially those businesses that are mostly carpeted (a huge cost-saver to your budget).
Even if they chase you away, you have the opportunity to take down there address for future mailings.
So what should you say upon entry? The first desk is often the reception desk (oftentimes there is a reception center). I would use a variety of introductions, but one similar to the line used for phone soliciting.
“Hello, my name is Jeff Parker with Extremely Clean office janitorial. Many companies in your area seem to express an interest in upgrading their janitorial service. I thought I’d quickly stop by and see if you’d be interest in upgrading to a better cleaning service as well – or I can come back at a later time if you’re busy.”
If they show you the door, there’s little you can do. If they show anger, keep your smile and walk out. If they’re not interested but are reasonably friendly, ask if you can leave a flyer or business card behind with them.
If however they begin asking questions, you can use the same sell line that we used in the above Phone Soliciting section. More on what to say are in the Tour chapter.
A final word on Door-to-Door selling
. Don't let anyone scare you away from this powerful option. I've known people who boldly go into any facility of their choice and introduce their services with remarkable success. And you don't spend a dime!
If you dread the thought of going door-to-door to sell your services, then don't. You have other, equally successful options.
But if you thrive off of confidently entering a facility and introducing yourself and your services, I can think of no better way of quickly building your janitorial business.
See you in the next chapter to discuss those equally successful options:
Chapter 3__Online Advertising