April 2016 Foreword: Trumped!

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If you enjoy playing cards, you know what a trump card is and the power it holds. When you have it, you feel pretty good. Someone is about to “get trumped,” and it’s not by Donald. You can’t wait to play your trump card and watch the faces of your opponents.

If you aren’t familiar with the term “trumped,” it generally means to be beaten by someone because they did something better than you. It could be because of their superior skills. Or, it could be they simply had an advantage over you, and there wasn’t much you could do about it. Things might have simply fallen their way, but trumped you were, indeed.

In business, “getting trumped” hurts a whole lot more than when playing cards. It really stings. Getting trumped in business means losing market share, losing customers, losing jobs, seeing profits decline… all those negatives no business owner wants to see occur.

You know you have lost customers and jobs because someone else came along and did or said something that, at least in the mind of the customer, trumped you. What can you do to get your own trump cards? To get the competitive advantage?

First, keep up on your marketing and what’s going on in the digital world. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a quality firm based on references to do it for you. Website , SEO, social media and other online strategies. But don’t forget traditional marketing such as obtaining referrals and direct mail, networking, etc.

Second, don’t just own a business, but rather, become an educator — a consultant to your customers. Explain what you are going to do for them, all 100 percent guaranteed. Some might be interested in a description of your cleaning system and procedures; others couldn’t care less. Address their concerns. Believe me, this isn’t done by as many of your competitors as you may think.

Third, make the entire process of doing business with your company easier. Answer your phone; don’t rely on voicemail. Online scheduling is something you should investigate.

There are other ways to get your business in better shape, but start with these three, and start trumping… before you get trumped yourself.

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Jeff Cross

Jeff Cross is the ISSA media director, with publications that include Cleaning & Maintenance Management, ISSA Today, and Cleanfax magazines. He is the previous owner of a successful cleaning and restoration firm. He also works as a trainer and consultant for business owners, managers, and front-line technicians. He can be reached at [email protected].

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