I get a lot of questions from pest control owners on how to grow their business. The request usually is preceded by a long list of things they’ve tried that didn’t work or asking for specifics on something I’ve written about in my topic area, The Business Of Pest Control.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love these questions and I’m humbled that someone would think enough of me so as to seek my help. Unfortunately, “quick fixes” are mostly the call of the day since the reader is usually in a bit of a bind by the time they’ve found my blog. With disappointing sales and a small route they’ve got to find new accounts quickly to keep the mounting bills at bay and their dream of a successful pest control company alive. There are some quick remedies for this–but this article may be one that describes a more long termed approach. Still it’s something you can do at anytime and at any sized company you are.
Don’t Leave It On The Table
One problem I see with growing companies is that we leave TOO much on the table in our quest. Sure once in awhile we revisit the plentiful bounty that was laid before us but only long enough to grab another quick bite and then off we go, chasing that illusive big account or those exceptions to the rule. (oh if we could just STOP doing that–we’d be so much happier with our businesses)
There’s an old sales adage that goes, “Don’t leave any money on the table” which loosely means get the sale, but also, did you offer them any of your other products or services? The thinking is that they’re already saying YES because you demonstrated you’re someone they can trust and have something they want or need, why wouldn’t they continue? More importantly why wouldn’t you at least make it available to buy something else from you? Wise words indeed but I have a different twist for you.
“Put Another Niche Under Your Belt.”
Say you’ve got a nice little commercial account and in the break room there’s a bulletin board where people advertise something they’re selling or announcements are made. Or, you provide service at the place you worship and people see you doing the work and also Saturdays or Sundays.(when you’re all cleaned up 😉 Maybe 3 ladies on your bowling team of 7 (I don’t know bowling) use you but the other 4 do not–the list goes on and on and anyone of us may have literally dozens of these opportunities sitting there right in front of us everyday. These my friends, are what we call niches. Oh not the classic definition like the guy who chases rats in the sewer systems or the entomologist who only only consults on coffin flies. (that guy is a lot of fun at parties) But niches none the less and who, I said WHO has the best shot at landing these folks as a customer than you? Does Mega Pest Works? Global Conglomeration Services Inc.? Nope! and why is that?
There’s Power In The Niche
People buy for all sorts of reasons and yes sometimes it’s not from you. However, there’s a lot of comfort in taking on a service that a fellow worker, relative, comrade or other group member has. You could call it a herd mentality but I have more faith in people than that. Trust is a huge issue in our buying decisions and if you’re good enough for 1/2 the bowling team…. well you get the idea. It just makes the buying decision so much easier and word of mouth is a cinch since they see you on a regular basis. The whole thing just sort of flows when you’re seeking to service a niche and you’ve got a good toe hold.
My little company has huge numbers of different church people for instance. Churches I don’t even go to! But since so & so got my service, then told their boss, and then she told someone and then 4 family members of that referral were all having dinner when the conversation about bugs came up so they called and so on and so on. I must have the keys (the holy grail of any route) to 5 or 6 churches and many individuals from each congregation, all because of the power of the niche.
Now niches don’t come by osmosis, they aren’t usually something that “drops” into your lap. (that does happen sometimes) This is where I believe we leave “money on the table.” In our commercial break rooms we put up a little ‘tear off’ flyer, perhaps with a coupon. I ask my clients about their friends or relatives or church and if they’d mind slipping a card to the person in charge of maintenance, or who does their work place?Never pushy, I don’t even have to work very hard at having it come up in conversation. Then when I feel that my new referral trusts my service enough, I simply repeat the process.
Simple, easy and direct. You can call this referral marketing, bird dogging or whatever you like and you’d be pretty accurate. This niche or targeting specific groups mentality however…, gives those accounts an added layer of insulation in that– “the rest of the group uses him, I’m gonna stick with the group.” So with that I say, “put another niche under your belt.” You’ll be glad you did.