Florida Sanitary Supply Association

State Governing and Advocacy Association for Contractors, Distributors and Manufacturers of Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

10 Ways Cleaning Contractors Can Brilliantly Differentiate Themselves From the Competition


When speaking to cleaning contractors I will normally get asked, “what is the most powerful marketing strategy to grow their business?” To their surprise the most powerful marketing strategy to grow their business has little to do with direct mail, flyers, PPC, networking, advertising … you know the tactical stuff.

Before any tactical marketing activity significantly grows your business, you must communicate a unique positioning that makes your business different from every competitor that says they make what you make, serve what you serve, provide what you provide, or do what you do. The commodity business must not lay claim in your business. You’ve got to carve out a mental position in the mind of your target market or ideal customers.

For example: I have a client that provides commercial cleaning services. Essentially, they clean business buildings, typically done after hours. What they do is often seen as a commodity, making it difficult for a prospective client to compare different companies. As a way to differentiate their business, they have begun to offer something they call their “Deep Clean Audit”. Deep Clean Audit is a unique way to give building managers and owners the opportunity to tell them about their building, tenants and cleaning goals. They want to hear about owners and managers greatest building concerns and challenges and, here’s the key, no if offering or talking to them this deeply.

10 Ways Cleaning Contractors Can Differentiate
1.    Cleaning Products – Can you offer a cleaning product that is so unique or even trendy that your business is connected with that offering? Or, can you extend a cleaning product and offer a service to make the cleaning product more useful to the customer?

2.    Unique gifts – I know a community bank that gives biscuits to dogs accompanying drive-through customers.

3.    Guarantee – Can you create a guarantee that no one else in your industry would think of doing? Mattress Firm: - “Lowest Mattress Price Guarantee” or it’s free

4.    Customer Service – Develop your new customer process, and word of mouth will flow rapidly. I’ve witness a small town give a free welcome kit to new shoppers at local locations.

5.    Cleaning Service – Can you package of a cleaning service as a cleaning product. Cleaning is often delivered on a monthly fee basis. Packaging a cleaning engagement based on the results, with defined fixed package price is a powerful way to differentiate a cleaning service.

6.    Niche Marketing – Is there a particular target market need or demand that is not satisfied. Finding an industry with a need and satisfying that need quickly can elevate your company to market leadership.

7.    Marketing Hook – Can you create some interesting bait? A marketing hook is a tease, a sample, a mental appetizer. Hooks can be tag lines, ad content, information or habits. I know a cleaning contractor that’s greats everyone upbeat, enthusiastically and full of energy.

8.    Problem Solving – Is there a world view that that the public in your market fear? If so, focus on communicating how you have the answer. For example: People believe that all used car sales people are slimy, unfair and greedy. CarMax took advantage of this worldview by communicating a no hassle, no haggling policy.

9.    Value Message – I know a residential cleaning company that has adopted the message – A Clean Environment For Your World – to communicate all the things they bring to the home. Now, everything they do is focused on delivering on that statement. Everyone else in the industry just cleans.

10.    Against the competition – You can create your own category by looking for opportunities in the products and services of your competitors. If everyone in the industry fails to address a certain problem, boldly grab on to solving that problem and use your competition as the point of difference.

Still Challenged with Finding Your Difference?
Ask your current ideal customers, “why they do business you?” Gaining access to this insight is a great way to help you market and attract other ideal customers turning them into paying customers. Perhaps you even offer benefits that you don’t know you’re offering.

Communicate and Marry Your Difference
Once you find your difference you must communicate it through all communication channels … phone touchpoints, staff, advertising, business cards, sales professionals, signage, direct mail, social media, etc. This step alone will place you above the competition.
You must also commit to your difference, as Beyoncé says, “put a ring on it.” Building brand is a marathon, time and patience wins. This will ultimately lead to more orders in hand, continuing valuable relationships and more marketing successes during your tenure.

Patrick Mcfadden is the owner of Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing company. He helps business owners create a customized marketing process to their organization that will generate more leads and sales in anye your paragraph here.

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