Potential Commercial Customers

by Wayne Tracy
wayneOne of the more frequent questions I’m asked during training classes or on the phone is “How do I find a commercial customer?” The answer is very simple; “Take a ride down Main Street in your hometown.”

Any building with air ducts for heating and/or cooling needs to have the air system cleaned at some point in time. In some cases they’ll recognize this and call you, but many will not and you need to create the awareness of the service and value of the service to them.

When you visit large facilities like hospitals, schools, nursing homes, office buildings, etc. you want to be sure and talk to the buildings chief engineer or building manager. They know the building best and often have the authority to authorize service or have direct contact with senior management to obtain the approval necessary for large projects.

In these large facilities it sometimes can be a difficult sale to offer service for the entire building, but you do want to start there. If it seems unlikely that a full building cleaning is not going to get approved, then you’ll want to offer a few different options to the building engineer or manager.

Offer to set the entire building up in phases for cleaning based on the budget they may have available. In other words if they can spend $10,000 (or any other amount) per quarter; then calculate how many sections of the building can be done based on that budget and set up the cleaning for whatever period of time it would take to provide a full service cleaning.

Example: You have quoted a large medical facility a full service system cleaning for $80,000. The Chief Engineer has told you his budget can only absorb $20,000 a quarter for the next year to get this project done. Rather than walk away, offer to split the project up in four phases for the next calendar year. The engineer gets the work he wants done and you still get the $80,000 job – just in pieces.

This same format can be followed for any sized job. Two years ago I quoted a Graphic Arts and Cooking College almost $20,000 to provide Air System Cleaning in their facilities. This school was part of a nationwide system and their corporate headquarters would not authorize the expense.

Instead of walking away I asked the facilities manager what amount of the project he could approve personally. He stated he had the authority to approve any expenditure up to $2,700.00. I came up with a plan of cleaning both buildings over a 2 year period by going every calendar quarter and charged him $2,650.00 for each visit. We recently completed the last section of the 2nd building – He has asked us to start the whole process over again in June of this year using the same plan we previously used.

I was obviously happy to do this and considering the economy, I volunteered to hold the price to the numbers I quoted 2 years ago with no increase.

If they cannot make a commitment for service at this time; be sure and educate your customer on your services and company. The need for your services can come up at anytime and you want to be the first company they think of. We have several large customers who we’ve never cleaned their whole facility, but when they have air quality problems we are called to come in a clean the system or systems for a specific area. If you don’t make the initial contacts you won’t get these opportunities when they arise.

Whether you get the job or not it’s important to stay in touch with your commercial contacts – You never know when they are going to have a need for your services and you want to always be their contractor of choice. Most companies will not make these contacts and lose out on Tens of Thousands of dollars a year in potential work. Stay a step ahead of your competition by keeping in touch with all of your commercial contacts on a regular basis.

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