Kyle was discouraged. He had done the things I asked him to do:
He had carefully selected his target market, based on size, location, and type of business.
He had sent out a first mailing, waited three weeks and sent out another; and the phone wasn’t ringing! There was absolutely no response, it was obvious that no one wanted his cleaning services; he was ready to give up.
That was his mental state the day we talked. I reminded him that if success in any endeavor were easy, everyone would be successful! We talked a little about marketing and I gave him some interesting statistics:
Every day 394 billion e-mails are sent,
400 million tweets are sent,
and 2 million blog posts are generated worldwide.
Every day TV and radio commercials blare at you, print advertising surrounds you, and billboards interrupt your drive to work.
The simple fact is: two mailings will never cut the clutter. The old rule of thumb is that it takes seven imprints of a message before it even penetrates the brain. The good news is – you are delivering one message to one audience about one particular service. The bad news is – not every member of your audience needs your particular service on a given day.
That is why both persistence and patience are necessary when you first enter the office cleaning business. Your mailing list is like a diamond mine; you sift through it periodically and eventually you will find the gems that you are looking for. Use a variety of mailings; attractive postcards, flyers, an introductory letter, etc. Start by doing them a few weeks apart, then begin spacing them 5 to 6 weeks apart.
People will not always respond to your mailings right away, I’ve had people hold onto my business cards for up to a year before calling me! Not everyone you mail you will need your services, and those that do may not need them on the day they receive your mailing.
Kyle wasn’t really convinced, but I encouraged him to send out a third mailing. Still nothing, or so it seemed – and then the phone rang!
To make a long story very short, Kyle got his first cleaning account. It wasn’t a big account, but that wasn’t the issue; with that one account Kyle discovered that he was in the cleaning business. That one account is the key to references, referrals, and the chance to offer his services to the surrounding businesses in the area.
I was like Kyle – my knees were shaking when I approached my first prospective customer. Little did I know that my life was about to change: no more 9 – 5 stuck in a dreary office, no more having my best ideas shot down by top-level management, no more waiting for a weekend and then dreading Monday morning.
If you’re ready to start a part-time (or even a full-time) office cleaning business check out the free newsletter. Or, if your really serious, check out the book – 15 years of in-the-trenches experience, all in one place.