Your Marketing vs. Prospecting - Which is Better for Your Janitorial Company?
"Which should I do to attract new clients: marketing or prospecting?" This is a question that people have been asking since we started looking for people to buy our products and services; and it’s a question that still lacks a clear cut answer. In short, you should be doing both, but if you dig a bit deeper the answer is - it depends. Before we dive in too deep on which you should go with and when, let’s clear up any potential confusion by defining both.
Marketing, as defined by Google, is “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising”. The best way that I know how to describe marketing is “a process of attracting a new customer to you.” Marketing is usually done through things like a Website with a Lead Magnet, Yellow Page Ads, Facebook/PPC, Billboards, Flyers, and Email Marketing just to name a few. Marketing is, as you can probably tell, a more in depth process that moves a product or service from conception to delivery to the customer, and every step in between.
Prospecting on the other hand, Google tells us, is defined as to “look out for; search for”. The easiest way to think of prospecting is to think of the California Gold Rush and all the people that rushed out west to ‘prospect’, or look, for gold.
So marketing is attracting customers to you, and prospecting is where you go out and look for them. So, which is better? As mentioned, it depends on your situation. If you’re just starting your business and you don’t have a lot of expendable capital - and let’s face it, who starting out has cash to burn? - then prospecting is definitely the way to go. Cold calling, door knocking, and networking are all time intensive activities; and while most businesses that are just starting out don’t have a lot of money, they often do have a lot of time. Another advantage of prospecting for business that are just starting out, is that since you are getting out there and actually meeting with and talking to your clients, it is a great way to learn about them. This information will help you develop your cleaning services and tailor your products so that you can solve their problems. The most amazing benefit of prospecting from my experience, and one that few people talk about, is what it does to build your confidence and improve your ability to communicate; which as a business owner is one of the most important skills you can have. If prospecting is done effectively, then one person (YOU) can generate over 10 new customers every month without having to invest a single penny.
The biggest advantage of marketing over prospecting is the ability to reach many more people than you could ever hope to with prospecting. For every one person that you drive across town to meet in a prospecting mission, you can reach a thousand more with marketing. The obvious downside, it costs A LOT of money to market and there really is no way around that. From designing materials and advertisements to PPC hosting and sending out mailers, the costs can quickly add up. Don’t get me wrong though, I am okay with investing in my business, but I like guarantees. I’m not a big fan of throwing money at an “I hope this works” endeavour. That is another downside to marketing, there are no guarantees that your efforts will pan out and get you clients. Hiring someone to design your ads and do your marketing for you is also not a guarantee that you will see results; I have spent more money on designers, SEO experts, developers, and billboards/ads than I would like to mention, all without seeing results. The key thing when it comes to marketing is to have as much control and input into the process as possible. Reading up on marketing so you know the ins-and-out of how it works isn't a bad idea either.
It All Depends on Where You Are At
I hope that this posts clears up the difference between marketing and prospecting as well as giving you a bit of an insight on what I have found works for me. I have found that prospecting, at least up to this point, had netted me far more clients than marketing has.
I would love to know what you think, so if you have any comments, please go to my Facebook group, Janitorial Solutions, and share them with everyone, we would all like to hear your thoughts, ideas, and insights.