I remember the first time I went out to purchase my own car. With a little money in my pocket for the first time, I wandered onto the first car lot and was asked a question I had not considered — "What are you looking for?" Two hours and a headache later, I realized that I should have developed a list of factors (cost, color, make, model) that would have guided my decision.

In the same way, before you start your janitorial sales process, it is best to consider which potential customers are and are not the right fit for your company. This exercise will save time and will minimize the frustration of potentially trying to serve a customer that is not a fit.

The best place to start this process is your current customer list. Review this list with your team. Answer questions such as "Which customers provide the greatest return?" or "Which customers best fit our operational capabilities?" What will likely emerge are some characteristics that will help establish your Ideal Customer Profile.

Very simply, an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a full description of a fictitious organization that is a perfect fit for your services, and one that will provide value to your company. An ideal customer should provide value in the following ways:

  • Providing a reasonable margin
  • Not becoming an operational burden
  • Providing an opportunity to establish a long-term partnership
  • Becoming an advocate for your company and one who will speak highly of your services

There are several characteristics you might wish to consider when developing your ICP:

  • Location (e.g. city, county, zip code)
  • Industry/segment (e.g. medical, educational, governmental)
  • Facility size (square feet)
  • Number of building users (e.g. employees, visitors, patients, students)
  • Janitorial services budget (monthly or annual dollars)
  • Building ownership (tenant owned vs. non-tenant owned)

We settled on three primary characteristics to help establish our ICP — location, industry/segment and number of building users.

For location, we used counties as our geographic boundaries. In a more urban market, zip codes might be a better boundary.

When considering which industry/segment would be in our ICP, we considered segments for which we were already successful, unserved segments where we felt we could become successful, and segments for which we had very little success.

Lastly, we discovered that one of the best indicators of janitorial services requirements tends to be the number of daily building users. As such, we established ranges of building users for each of our targeted segments.

An example ICP might read something like this: "Our ideal customer is located in a 10-county region, has at least 100 daily building users, is tenant owed, and is either a manufacturing, medical, commercial or educational facility."

Having a clearly defined Ideal Customer Profile provides clarity for your sales and operational teams and is an important step toward a successful sales process.

Jordan Tong is a BSC consultant and founder of Elite Business Coaching, in addition to being a third-generation owner of Frantz Building Services based in Owensboro, Kentucky. For more information on his coaching services, visit https://www.elitebusinesscoaching.net/.