Build a high degree of trust through in-person networking.
In-person networking is one of the most powerful ways you can build and grow a commercial cleaning clientele. Because our type of business is based on a high degree of trust, it might take some time to see the benefits of your efforts. The return on this time investment, however, promises to be high.
Where Is Your Ideal Client?
To start, think about attending or joining associations where your “ideal clients” hang out. Are they realtors, bankers or educators? How about facility managers, hospital administrators or retail busi-ness owners?
Consider your local Chamber of Commerce, referral building organizations such as Business Networking International and affinity groups like the Masons, Jaycees, Rotary Club and Toastmasters. There’s also your high school or college alma mater and fraternal or philanthropic organizations to which you belong. A couple of groups I recommend for women include the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Junior League. Finally, there are organizations for minority- and veteran-owned businesses where you can meet potential suppliers, clients and joint-venture partners.
Consistency Is Key
Keep in mind that repetition is the key to staying “top of mind” with these prospects and referrals. You’ll need to pick two or three groups and attend regularly, rather than go to a different group every month or week.
Because commercial cleaning services are purchased infrequently, it might take a while before the people you meet are thinking about a purchase (or bid). The good news is that because building services clients are slow to change, once they have you as their provider this works to your advantage.
Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
When attending personal or professional events, you should have your “elevator” speech ready. In other words, be able to explain the “who, what and why” of your business in a nutshell. Here’s what your pitch should include:
• Who you serve or help
• Client ‘pain points’
• Benefits you provide
• Your differentiators
• Reasons clients should choose you
As an example, here’s my elevator speech. “Hi, I’m Pam, and I help facility and office managers of large commercial spaces who are struggling with poor quality office cleaning services. What separates us from other janitorial companies is that we are extremely detail oriented and provide our clients with a money back guarantee! Because of this, our customers save time and money, have peace of mind, and can concentrate on their core business. Would you like to know more?”
Don’t rush into every conversation with your elevator speech. That can be off-putting. Instead, ask people what they do, what they like about their job and who their “ideal client or referral” is. Being known as the “go to” guy or gal by businesses within your professional community will make you a sought-after connection and the center of networking influence. Once your network pipeline is humming along, you’ll be pleased with the high-quality prospects and referrals it provides.
Pam Washington founded and operates the award-winning A-1 Janitorial Services in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also provides expert coaching and consulting at Build My Cleaning Business for owners seeking to accelerate their growth. For more information about Pam’s consulting business, click here.