In my travels throughout the country working with Building Service Contractors to help them establish a sales program or working with them to "jump start" their existing program, I always insist we start with a half day workshop with their key staff before we determine how to move forward.
The first question I ask is, "Why should someone buy from your company"? The most common answers I get are,
"We've been in business 20 years and that makes us one of the oldest companies in this area". My response? "Longevity has little bearing on success". We have to ask ourselves if we really have 20 years of experience or 1 year experience 19 times over. Our industry has countless 20 year old companies doing very little business. Most of them are not small because they want to be.
"We do the best job in town". My response? "Everyone says that , how do you prove it before you are their service provider"?
"We have trained personnel". My response? Really, let me see your training area and let me interview your training director". They usually respond back, "We train on the job so they can see the work area they will have". In other words, little or no training takes place.
I have a saying that on the job training is a recipe for on the job failure because are you SURE that the person the new employee is training with is doing it the way you want it done?
If by this time if they have not fired me as their consultant we go to the next step....
What is it that makes your company unique---real measurable, quality training? Substantially lower turnover than the industry standard? If so, what do you attribute this to and how can we use it as a sales advantage? Do you have systems and processes that are user friendly for the customer's benefit? Do you have special software designed for the customer? Do you have customer call center?
After we have made a determination of what makes us different, we then can set out to determine what we need to do to refine those qualities and make us even stronger. A simple 8 step process will get the entire group thinking on how to make the company better. Those steps are
1. Identify the quality or qualities you want to focus on. I suggest you work on no more than 2 to begin with.
2. Discuss how your company will benefit from focusing on and developing these qualities. How will you as individuals benefit?
3. How will your prospects and customers benefit from these qualities? Are they qualities what will set you apart from your competitors in the marketplace? How will they set you apart?
4. What special skills will you need to develop to advance these company qualities? What training will be required and for which members of your staff and where will you get the training/direction. THIS STEP IN THE PROCESS IS CRITICAL.
5. What are the major obstacles your company and its staff will have to overcome to professionally develop the qualities you have decided to focus on?
6. Who are the people or organizations that can help you develop these qualities such as BSCAI, ISSA, peer groups, industry specific consultants etc.?
7 From all of these discussions develop a step by step plan of action. This means assigning responsibilities and time lines for completion of each step.
8. Decide on an overall completion date as to when you will be ready to announce to the world the reasons a prospect should buy from you.
So in closing, determine what it is that sets your company apart from the competition, then define it further, refine it further and make it a part of your every day life and sales presentation.
Let me add one more thing. The facility service business had changed considerably over the last few years. Prospects and customers now assume you know how to clean. What they want to know is HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR ORGANIZATION. In a later blog we will address this subject in greater detail.