Sometimes, it helps to think differently about what your service industry business is actually selling your customer. It’s easy to get stuck in defining your “product” simply as the work you do for them, whether that be snow service, landscape service, asphalt maintenance, sweeping, or anything else. But depending on who your client is, you’re actually selling them something else, and it says a lot about who you are as a company.
What do you want it to be? And what does it take to get there (and stay there)?
High-quality providers sell confidence to their upscale residential and highly-professional commercial clients. They can charge a premium for their service because the customer feels confident that they do a quality job and will never let them down with the quality of their work or their level of service.
The “Confidence” provider has to go above and beyond for their customer every time, and that can be difficult (and expensive). And once lost, confidence is hard to regain. Sure there’s premium service dollars to be made, but choose this path carefully.
Many commercial service providers make their living on being reliable, dependable, and consistent. They’re not forced into the same kind of quality-driven impulses as the “Confidence” seller, but they need to adhere to consistent availability and be there when the customer expects, doing what’s in their contract.
In many ways, the reliability play is a sweet spot for commercial and residential maintenance in particular. It builds a brand that can be leveraged to build your business. It also drives consistent income for the provider and supports long-term customer relationships, while eliminating some of the excess costs associated with the high-level “Quality” play.
Lots and lots of providers go after the economy portfolio, and there’s always an abundance of customers who’re only looking for the best price. In many ways this is the riskiest selling strategy because you’ll never be safe from the next guy who is willing to come along just a bit cheaper. And the very idea of selling for a low cost makes it harder to make big margins on your work.
Beware of selling “Economy” as this part of the market is usually crowded. It’s easy to jump in, but once there, it’s hard to get out unless you’re willing to trade in your entire customer portfolio for new ones.
In every customer interaction you’re selling more than the produce of your crews. You’re selling an “Idea”… the idea of what kind of a provider you’re going to be.
And whether you like it or not, every customer has an “Idea” about who your company is, whether you consciously sell it to them or not… and that idea will follow you as long as you have the clients you sell it to.
So Choose “What You’re Selling” carefully.