Janitorial Marketing That Doesn’t Work

During our live janitorial sales trainings, we have a particular session that focuses on developing
your unique selling proposition. Before we dive into the topic, we ask the participants to tell us
what makes their cleaning company different from their competitors. Hands go up and people
start rattling off answers. We write these down on the dry erase board. Little does the audience
know, before the session started, we wrote down what we thought would be their answers on
the back side of the board. When everyone is done, we flip the board around to reveal that we
knew exactly what they were going to say, because it’s the same thing everyone says.

So what is our point in this funny and slightly embarrassing exercise? Most people market their
cleaning business on what we refer to as table stakes. In poker, there is a minimum bet to even
enter the game. If you don’t have this ante, you can’t even play. The same is true in the
janitorial business. What people tout as selling points are really just the bare minimum needed
to be a decent company. Here are a few common examples:

  • We have great people
  • We put customers first
  • We use the latest technology
  • We respond quickly to customer needs
  • We are family owned
  • We have been in business for 20 years

These are all valid points and hopefully we can all say many of them about our own cleaning
companies. However, customers are already expecting you to have good people, put them first,
respond to their needs, etc. This doesn’t differentiate you from the competition. It just means
you are a viable option. To really distinguish yourself from the competition, you need
something more.

I was recently working with a janitorial company in Colorado, helping them create a new sales
proposal. As we were looking for key selling distinctives, I discovered they have an employee
turnover rate lower than almost anyone I’ve ever seen in the industry. As I dug in, I realized
they were doing something pretty special internally to make this happen. This low turnover rate
(and the reasons why it is so low) has significant impact on customer quality, and therefore
became a central piece of their proposal.

Imagine a car commercial touting that their vehicle won’t break down. Or a homebuilder saying
their walls are always straight. Or a grocery store saying their food is parasite free. These aren’t
really selling points. They are just what we expect.

So as you being to explore how you can differentiate your cleaning company from your
competitors,get below the surface. Dig around until you find two or three things that genuinely
make you unique. What outcome is better than your peers and how do you achieve this
outcome? What metric are you crushing that no one else is?

When you can find genuinely unique differentiators, you are ready to have a sales pitch that
might catch the eye of the prospect you’ve been aiming for.


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