One of the joys of my life has been developing and now helping with this great thing we call “Strategies for Success”. Chuck Violand, Bill Yeadon and yes, Steve Toburen have so much fun watching our members grow their companies and find their chosen level of success. (And what keeps “Papa Nick” Paolella funding this program is the purchases you make from Jon-Don due to your growth! So thank you very much!)
Now the “gasoline” that keeps all three of your SFS instructors moving forward is our daily communications with our thousands of SFS graduates. For example, Big Billy Yeadon and I recently received this e-mail from SFS members Larry and Elissa Holder. Notice how well the Value Added Service principles we espouse in SFS worked for this very successful couple:
Bill and Steve,
The main lesson in this story is to remember to leverage the everyday relationships that you already have. These events took place over the last 9 months. They are now “coming to maturity”.
Last April Elissa and I attended a surprise 60th birthday party for a lady who led our church youth group when we were teens. We saw people that we had not seen in 30 years. One of our former classmates was retired from the navy. He had been the chief engineering on a ship. As we talked he told me that he is now the chief facility engineer for a complex of 4 high rise office buildings in downtown Atlanta. The tenant for this complex is the U.S. government. He had my full attention!
So I began talking to my classmate about my business and asked for an opportunity to meet with him. He told me, “Don’t bother. The tenant is the U.S. govt. It is very difficult, if not impossible to come in as a new service, besides, what little carpet cleaning is being done is done by the janitorial staff”. We talked a bit further about our respective careers and moved on.
A month later we attended a reunion. My “commercial prospect” and his wife were also there. Though I talked to him I did not talk about my business or my desire to service his building. I do not want to be the guy that no one wants to talk to at a social event because I am always selling something! I did not hear from him for a few months. He had my card. He knew where I was and I was biding my time … waiting.
In August I finally received a call from him. One of his staff members had cleaned an office and had “ruined it”. He asked if I could inspect the area and consult on how to fix it. Turns out it was just excess detergent residue. During this visit I was able to meet on of the tenant’s department heads. The following week I was called by that tenant to measure her floor and give a cleaning proposal. Her floor is 33,000 square feet. This is only 1 of 22 floors in that one building! Our proposal was accepted! Hooray!
But now comes the issue of getting a federal security clearance. Sigh! Myself and anyone who would be working in the building would have to pass a very extensive federal background check by the U.S. Marshall’s service and the Department of Homeland Security. It has taken several months to get the clearance. We have the security clearance and we are beginning work this weekend!
Additionally, I have visited the facility 3 more times to measure and give proposals for other departments. Yesterday I had a conference call with the most recent department and that proposal was accepted. Further, the facility engineer introduced me to the engineer of another U.S. government site in Chamblee, GA. We are to be the Preferred Provider. Even better, I have been told that our services are needed in the remaining 3 buildings of the initial complex.
The icing on the cake… We are now only carpet care service provider with the required federal security clearance to work in all of these facilities.
Remember, all of this work and future work came from a conversation at a birthday party. In addition to the above story, there are many other great prospects underway!
Regency Carpet and Floor Care
ON FIRE FOR 2010!
PS from Steve: My thanks to Larry and Elissa for sharing. This story just shows the need to keep moving forward. The big advantage for Larry is that while it can be a pain in the rear getting on with the government you have to really screw up to lose the account! Fortunately, inertia works two ways!