When I began my cleaning business, I had to develop an advertising plan to allow me to show a clear point of difference between the service I was offering and that of my competitors. In any business, having a unique selling proposition is crucial in marketing and will make any marketing campaign you have much more effective. It can also keep you away from the need to discount your services. Dan Miller, author of No More Dreaded Mondays, defines it this way: What will you be doing that is not being done well by anyone else?
Let me share with you a secret that took years for me to discover:
People are more than happy to pay for something that they perceive as better.
No matter what business you are in: if you understand your market, if you have determined your niche and if you have something clearly special about what you’re doing… price is not the barrier that prevents someone from buying from you.
Is the difference between you and your competition ‘real’ or ‘perceived’?
How different do you really have to be for people to prefer your product or service over your competition? To be honest, most businesses offer the same type of service: one dry cleaner is much like another, one roofing company puts on shingles just like the next, and every cleaning company has a vacuum cleaner and a cleaning kit. So what makes you different?
The answer is that you create a perceived point of difference. Add something to your marketing, and to the service you offer, that gives you a distinct difference.
In talking to potential clients I discovered there were three things that frustrated them in dealing with larger cleaning companies:
1. The cleaning company was more interested in selling the account than actually doing a good job.
2. A feeling that the cleaning routine at the building followed some sort of standardized template, and did not reflect the real needs of their particular situation’.
3. A feeling of being ignored after the sale.
I then came up with a perceived point of difference that separated me from the competition. It was very simple: the thing that made me different from everyone else was this statement, “If you ever have a need, a problem, or an issue that must be resolved, you can call me personally”.
I assured them that they didn’t have to deal with a salesman or a route supervisor (as a startup business I didn’t have either one!) but that they would always have access to my cell phone number.
Zig Ziglar, in his book, Ziglar on Selling, talks about going beyond customer service to customer satisfaction he says that, “the days of customer service as the standard of excellence are long gone! Today, everybody talks about the importance of customer service. In today’s competitive market, the only way to get ahead (and sometimes the only way to survive) is to go beyond customer service to customer satisfaction.’
After 15+ years in the business, we are known as a company that clients love to work with. Our service is better, our attitude is better and our work gets the results promised. Why wouldn’t someone want to work with us?