During our live janitorial sales trainings, we have a particular session that focuses on developing your unique selling proposition. Before we dive into the topic, we ask the participants to tell us what makes their cleaning company different from their competitors.  

Hands go up and people start rattling off answers. We write these down on the dry erase board. Little does the audience know, before the session started, we wrote down what we thought would be their answers on the back side of the board.  

When everyone is done, we flip the board around to reveal that we knew exactly what they were going to say, because it’s the same thing everyone says. 

So, what is our point in this funny and slightly embarrassing exercise? Most people market their cleaning business on what we refer to as table stakes. In poker, there is a minimum bet to even enter the game. If you don’t have this ante, you can’t play. The same is true in the janitorial business. What people tout as selling points are just the bare minimum needed to be a decent company. Here are a few common examples: 

· We have great people. 

· We put customers first. 

· We use the latest technology. 

· We respond quickly to customer needs. 

· We are family owned. 

· We have been in business for 20 years. 

These are all valid points and hopefully we can all say many of them are true of our own cleaning companies. However, customers are already expecting you to have good people, put them first, respond to their needs, etc. This doesn’t differentiate you from the competition. It just means you are a viable option. To really distinguish yourself from the competition, you need something more. 

I was recently working with a janitorial company in Colorado, helping them create a new sales proposal. While looking for key selling distinctives, I discovered they have an employee turnover rate lower than almost anyone in the industry. This low turnover rate (and the reasons why it is so low) has a significant impact on customer quality, and therefore became a centerpiece of their proposal. 

Imagine a car commercial touting that their vehicle won’t break down. Or a homebuilder saying their walls are always straight. Or a grocery store saying their food is parasite-free. These aren’t really selling points. They are just what we expect. 

So, as you begin to explore how you can differentiate your cleaning company from your competitors, get below the surface. Dig around until you find two or three things that genuinely make you unique. What outcome is better than your peers and how do you achieve this outcome? What metric are you crushing that no one else is? 

When you can find genuinely unique differentiators, you are ready to have a sales pitch that might catch the eye of the prospect you’ve been aiming for. 

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.