How do you know if your marketing is not working?
Have you ever spent 500$ on Google Ads and wondered where your money went?
Have you spent 100$ a month on Facebook Ads and only get 2 calls a month 6 months in a row (costing 600$) and closing 1 to 0 leads a month? Then you are part of the problem.
Have you gone door to door in a neighborhood and been rejected for 8 hours straight? Did you decide not to go door to door the next day because of 8 hours of solid rejection? Then you are part of the problem.
Do you find yourself taking on work that doesn’t fit your company's goals and mission statement?
What is important to discover about yourself is not how often or frequently you are failing to acquire customers. It is what you are doing wrong, to not make customers your clients.
The first piece of advice I can give is you should NOT increase your spending budget on Google Ads or Facebook Ads if they ARE NOT WORKING.
The first thing you need to discover about YOU is WHO do you want to be YOUR customer?
If your equipment is specially made to clean fleet washing accounts, then you may not want to seek out roof washing jobs. Also if you are a fleet washer, you will find Facebook is one of the least useful apps for your business. Don’t be afraid to do something different, or outside of the box. Adjust with changes in your industry instead of spreading yourself thin and adding too many diverse services that don’t collide with your business’s agenda.
If your goal is to have 20 fleet washing accounts with 3 service trucks running 4 days a week, then you need to focus on how to make that happen. What you DON’T do is begin washing kitchen exhaust systems because YOU THINK that is what you need to do to give your employees more hours(ask me how I know). You can try to justify that you have hot water equipment all day long, but it just will fight against your business and PERSONAL growth.
Sometimes things like Google Ads are just not in season to bring in clients. But if your focus is to wash trucks, then you need to focus on using search words that are ONLY used in the fleet washing industry. Terms like “commercial pressure washing” will not be sufficient to describe you cleaning garbage trucks.
Give the Correct Message
When you see a billboard with a police car, do you think it would be a great advertisement for a bar that serves alcohol? The police car looks so cool and the lights on it will grab the driver's attention for sure. But do you think people who frequently drink will accept the branding as appropriate when it is basically stating you’re likely to run into the law when you drink here? This is obviously something the entertainment industry would not do, because it doesn’t sit well with their customers. You need to make sure your advertising makes sense with what you are doing.
Do not have a picture on your business card with a stick figure washing a house when you actually clean parking garages. If you go to a 5 star hotel with a 6 story parking garage and hand the facilities maintenance coordinator your business card, you are likely to confuse them. Confusing a customer can be more destructive than offending them. Customer confusion is something that is not frequently brought up, but it is extremely important to be mindful of. You want your customer to have a clear direction of where you are coming from, and where you are going.
If you are cleaning parking garages and feel the need to brand yourself with what you do, then a high rise being washed would be more appropriate and give the customer confidence that you do this as a full time profession and they are not your “guinea pig customer”.
If your focus is only doing residential, then you don’t want to knock on a residential customer’s door with a flier showing before and after photos of a truck being washed. Your website should be consistent with this as well.
Once upon a time we only had 1 website. The website had an online pressure washer store, a rental equipment store, a custom machine fabricator, residential washing services, commercial washing services and fleet washing services. Do you have any idea how confused our customers were when they would call me and ask “so what do you actually do?”. When I advised our company did all of the above, they became overwhelmed and confused (which is NOT what you are trying to do). A confused customer is the same as a bad customer. But not all confused customers are bad. Let me repeat that. A confused customer can be just as detrimental as a bad customer. Not all confused customers are bad. Stop confusing your customer and give them confidence in their purchase, that is all they really want anyways.
Why am I putting this in a sales block article?
It is simple, if you have read this you are likely already running your brain in a way that is making you think outside of YOUR box. YOUR box and YOUR comfort zone, isn’t always what is best for your customer (or your employees).
When you have seller’s block start by asking yourself these questions:
- Where are we having problems as a company?
- What advertising has and hasn’t worked recently?
- Am I fully competent in what I am doing? (this basically means, do I have sufficient training?)
- Am I using the right tools for my application?
- Is my branding appropriate for my target market?
- Am I doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?
- How do you track your marketing?
- Are you only obtaining new business and lacking in repeat business?
- What is my real budget for marketing?
- Am I wasting time doing the work myself, when I am overdue to hire help?
Let's go over 1.
It is important to know if you are having issues within your company, just the stress in itself can cause seller’s block and cause you to hit dead ends more frequently. This creates unnecessary frustration and can be prevented if you can remain objective and realize you have to steadily bring in clients if you want to make financial issues go away as a company.
Don’t allow your problems to continue that block you from moving forward, address them now and give yourself resolution. If your burner isn’t working on your power washer, don’t wait until the last minute to get it fixed. Imagine suddenly having a big job opportunity where you can clean spilt hydraulic fluid that requires hot water. How are you going to be able to do this?
Now instead of being able to use your rig, you will have to rent a hot water pressure washer not set up how you want it to be just to acquire the job.
We fell in the trap of spending 1000$ a month on Google Ads when we were getting nearly no work from Google as a cleaning company.
We refined our search words and spent some time learning about SEO. We reduced our spending to 150$ a month and obtained more clients than we did at 1000$ a month in Google Ads.
When I first began fleet washing I was using cold water and no soap. My first fleet washing customer was not happy with our results and I needed to provide my customer resolution. If you don’t find them resolution, they will find a solution. You do not want that.
I began researching different processes on how to clean trucks and I experimented with MANY different processes. I ended up finding the process that set well with me and my employees and we went that direction. I frequently attended training events to close the gaps on what I was missing and learn how to better my craft from my peers.
Did I mention I was using a cold water pressure washer with no soap when I began fleet washing? Yes, that is correct. I also didn’t have a water tank, which limited what fleets I could even solicit business with.
Once I was financially capable I added a hot water trailer with a water tank that would allow me to be able to more effectively serve my customer. I also found soaps that I was happy with that would make it feasible to wash trucks at a faster rate.
I was going door to door selling fleet washing services at these industrial parks. When they saw on my fliers that I was also cleaning houses, they did not understand why I was doing this. They assumed I was a house washer, running a DeWalt out of the bed of my truck when they saw I cleaned houses. Washing residential isn’t a bad thing, unless you are soliciting washing garbage trucks which basically isn’t even the same food group.
When I hired Amber I found out what it was like to have a “professional marketing person”. I quickly learned my ads were inconsistent and my branding was confusing our customers. She quickly changed our branding and now when people see our logo, it is undeniably ours and we are being branded in a way that makes us more memorable. Consistency is key.
This is one of the most dangerous slumps a business owner can enter. I remember getting a city permit with the City of Seabrook so that I could go door to door and solicit residential cleaning services. After spending 2 days going door to door I considered going on a 3rd day, even though I closed 0 jobs.
That sounds borderline insane, correct?
Well, I am just that. But outside of that I realized I should be spending my days looking for fleet washing accounts. So what I did after that didn’t work was spend more time on Linkedin and landed a fleet washing account that paid 1800$ a month for 1 day of work, 12 times a year. This was much more rewarding than a few 500$ residential jobs that I didn’t want in the first place.
When I began my business I actually tracked my marketing and knew where every phone call came from. I would list if it came from Google, Facebook, door to door, Linkedin, Word of Mouth etc.
Once I entered year 3 I felt overwhelmed because we were so busy and I began taking “shortcuts”. I stopped tracking where my customers came from because we were so busy. When this happened my cleaning sales took a huge dip, because I didn’t know where to spend my money in marketing. So what I did instead was waste a lot of money putting it into everything hoping that would just “work itself out”. That wasted me over $10,000 in 2018 with nothing to show.
Today, we don’t just track our marketing but we are looking at where our sales are coming from on a day to day basis and we have ways to discover this information without having to manually write down every bit of information. Now our website tells us where the customer came from and if we wanted to make something like a pie chart, it would be possible. Before it was not possible.
This is a touchy subject, because I have seen many successful companies function for a long period of time with no customer retention.
But the reality is, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on marketing long term, then you will be required to have outstanding customer retention. You only have to spend money to find that customer once.
At the beginning of our business we had a high rate of repeat business with residential washing. As I became more affluent in fleet washing, our care for residential dipped. I did not follow up with the customer anymore asking if they were happy with our services. I no longer called them back to a follow up appointment. I no longer called the day before verifying our appointment. These are small tasks I stopped doing that cost me no money, that would have improved the customer experience.
How did I resolve this? I quit washing residential (you can insert laugh here). But seriously, if you are planning on cleaning residential long term, you have to do these things to improve the customer experience.
When I first started I set myself a budget of 500$ a month for marketing. As our company grew so did our spending. Most people spend 5 to 10% of their revenue on marketing. I am not going to say more or less is better. You have to remain a profitable business. So spending 40% of your revenue on more advertising in an attempt to “scale”, may be more reckless than methodical. And recklessness in any business model is a bad thing.
If you are a larger company, you would consider your salespeople part of your marketing budget (which many times salespeople will have their own marketing budget for Google Ads!).
At one time we found you can sell too much! At one time me and Amber were both having a sales competition and ultimately put our warehouse and production on a 2 month backlog because we sold too much, more than our company was capable of producing. If you only have 1 truck and sell a large account that you CANNOT DO BY YOURSELF, you may have just Mambered yourself (Mambered: adj. <mahm-burred> When Marco and Amber sell too many products in a short period of time causing chaos in the production department and a long wait time for the customer).
At a certain point in my business I realized I had something valuable, the ability to connect the dots. I discovered that me physically power washing was a waste of my time and my real ability was to connect customers with customers allowing the growth of next level relationships. By year 3 I had enough consistent work to employ someone 40 hours a week washing and I didn’t need to physically do the work anymore. I hired an employee and trained him in a month, allowing him to perform the services on his own. I now have free time to meet with customers, quote larger jobs and develop our systems.
You are about to ask a really important question, what do these 10 things have to do with seller’s block? The answer is simple, everything.
Seller’s block is something that happens when you have too many things going on that are causing your mind to shift from idea to idea too frequently (I have ADHD and this is a common problem for myself). If you have too many problems without resolution, you will struggle to focus. If you cannot focus, you cannot effectively sell.