From a LinkedIn group Build My Cleaning Business

I got this question and I wanted to share my answer with you here as I know many of you are interested in adding commercial accounts. It’s particularly important now because one of the two “prime” buying seasons for corporate cleaning services starts right after Labor Day and ends after the first week in November.

So, the next 11 weeks are your best opportunity in 2016 to lock in some additional commercial clients.

I’d like to break into the office cleaning market: How do you get new business accounts?

I only have one business that I clean for. A small financial type of business, every other week. (other accounts are residential) I have made some nice flyers and business cards, gone out to local medical and professional businesses in town offering free quotes for cleaning their buildings/offices/practices, but have not gained any new clients this way. I am a friendly professional person, so this is not the problem. I also have tried Service Magic, it didn’t help. I am listed in all the directories online search engines, etc. I have done postcard mailings and cold calling on the phone.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

The things that you are doing so far are great. You may have to repeat these activities a few times, because repetition is the name of the game in marketing and commercial clients only buy this service every now and again (not daily like food).

First thing to do is to ask all of your residential clients to keep your company in mind for their offices and ask them to take the flyers you have and give them to the person in charge of this area at their place of work.

Next, draft a nice informal letter that you can send out to everyone you know. Send it postal mail and let them know that you have a growing specialty in this market. Describe your “ideal” client to them and ask for referrals.

You may also have a larger group of business & community contact for whom you only have email (but not postal) addresses. You could also send them the same type of “We’re expanding!” type of communication to notify (and then remind) them about your availability for commercial cleaning.

As with all successful marketing activities, I want to stress the importance of repetition.

Let people know at least 3-4 times before you can expect it to sink in and begin to pay dividends for you. Because of the constant barrage of information we’re all subject to daily, your message needs to be kept front and center, so people think of you whenever this needs comes up.

Now that you’ve gotten a few of the easiest marketing steps out of the way it’s time to develop a marketing plan for your business that includes a consistent and varied outreach. The thing about commercial accounts is that since cleaning service isn’t something most companies buy every day, timing is important.

They may not need your service today, but when you re-send your postcard mailer next month they may have “had it up to here” with their current cleaners.

So, your multi-faceted marketing plan will need to include things like:

Advertising (can be inexpensive)
Direct response/direct mail
Networking events and volunteer activities
Social Media (start with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn)
PR, media and community involvement
Referrals (works both ways)
Strategic alliances and joint ventures (read my related post!)
Website and internet marketing
Speaking engagements
Blogging or article marketing
If you don’t have a website, get one right away. They can be had for a very small amount of money and many commercial customers use this as a first stop for researching who to get bids from. If you have a website and aren’t getting calls, check your SEO. It may need to be re-worked. You can hire freelance experts to do this.

Of all the things I listed above I have personally found networking to be the most effective, especially in the short term. Depending on where you live, the best groups for you will vary.

You are dong many things right so don’t despair, and it sounds like you understand that this industry requires an investment of time and money and you are willing to spend both, so I have no doubt of your success!