For those who may not know me, I am a former member of the board of directors for ARCSI and was co-chair of a convention committee. In both instances I was in charge of vendor relationships. I am very excited about the pending merger of ARCSI and ISSA. It has the potential to be a turning point for both our association and our industry. The thing I am most enthusiastic about is the possibility to grow exponentially the funding that ARCSI gets from vendors. This could give us more funds for training and programming without increasing dues or the cost to attend events. What most people do not realize is that only a small percentage of ARCSI funding comes from vendors.
ARCSI does not have the staffing for a full time sales person. As a result, we count on volunteer board members and Ernie—as time allows—to sell vendor sponsorships. I found that selling to a new vendor was incredibly difficult. I spent 95% of my time and effort just trying to get a meeting. Once I did get a meeting I could almost always sell the vendor, because ARCSI has an amazing value proposition. When I was in charge of vendor relations, I would walk the convention floor and make a list of vendors that should be sponsors of ARCSI but were not. Sometimes it would take eight to ten phone calls just to find the right person to talk to.
ISSA, by contrast, has a dedicated sales force. Every vendor on that show floor already has a sales person assigned to them. They know who to call and can be confident that their call will be taken. The ISSA salespeople are going to love selling ARCSI sponsorships, because as I mentioned above the value proposition is clear. ISSA should be able to vastly expand the number of vendors that sponsor ARCSI and its events. ARCSI should have funds to do more recruiting for members, more training programs, and more consumer education. This should increase our membership, which in turn will increase the organization’s value to vendors and allow ARCSI to increase the prices for sponsorships. This can be the start of a very positive reinforcing cycle for ARCSI, which is why I am going to vote for the merger.
Derek Christian is founder and owner of My Maid Service, Cincinnati’s largest, independent professional cleaning company. Prior to that, he spent twelve years at P&G working on household cleaning products. Derek is Co-publisher and Director of Business Development & Sales for Cleaning Business Today.