In "Building My New Cleaning Network I", I shared my marketing strategy from the summer of 2018 after moving back to the Philadelphia Area. I was scrappy and willing to knock on doors to say, "Hi, my name is Ken Carfagno." My friend Kevin Lacombe did the same thing in his new solo cleaning business when I was coaching him in late 2018. I knocked on 13 doors in the same town where my first new office was located. It worked! I had a few interested companies and one hired me! We then moved our family to another part of the suburbs and wanted to attract new clients. I followed the same strategy of knocking on doors, except I added a personalized piece to my information drop-offs and follow up process that I got from my friend Gustavo Fernandez. He showed me a few ways to stand out and I implemented them. In the month of May 2019, I knocked on 25 doors and generated a few interested prospects. Again, one hired me. I would have continued this guerilla marketing approach each month to add one new customer each month. But it didn't sit right with me. I realized that I needed to serve the community and create a name for myself. Thus, I poured into my newest customer and became friends with his family. We started meeting for breakfast to connect, pray, and mastermind together. That's Mr. Dennis Gehman of Gehman Design Remodeling in Harleysville, PA. I've mentioned his name a dozen times on this podcast because he was that much of a help to me! We still meet for breakfast to connect, pray, and mastermind. This process taught me a huge lesson. I wanted to change my approach from cold door-knocking to attracting warm leads. The only way to do that was through service.
In "Building My New Cleaning Network II", I share my transition from cold contacting for new customers to becoming a valuable member of the business community through service. My first step was to ask my new friend, mentor, and customer Dennis Gehman for an introduction to his Chamber of Commerce. He agreed to bring me to a chamber mixer, where he first introduced me to Steven Hunsberger who serves as the chamber director. Steven said this. "Any friend of Dennis's is a friend of mine." I had learned through my friend Vincent Pugliese that 87% of jobs come through referrals and referals come when people know, like, and trust you. I just experienced that with Dennis's introduction to Steven. I met many chamber members that night and was invited to several other local networking meetings. I attended them all and decided to join 2 besides the chamber. By attending these over and over again, trust was building. I met Eva Finlan in one group. She runs a State Farm agency in Skippack, PA. After the meeting, we talked in the parking lot for a while to learn more about each other's life and business. Before she got into her car, Eva gave me the names of 2 people I should meet. I thanked her and did this right away. I went on Google and gave Eva's agency a 5-Star review and sent a screen shot to Eva. She was so thankful. Then I went to meet the 2 referrals and said this. "Hi, I'm Ken Carfagno. I'm friends with Eva Finlan and she said we should connect." The cold approach was now a warm one. Both referrals were very receptive. One of them brought me into his office to talk cleaning on the spot! I ended this episode with a story of how I attended a chamber trade expo with Dennis and a story of meeting a physical therapist named Dexter Hollenbach who rents from Dennis at a totally different meeting. It was such a small world. I learned so much from this process. I stopped cold marketing and started the process of truly building a local network of friends that I could serve.
I hope you enjoyed hearing these last two "Best-Of" episodes from 2019. I learned so much in how to approach building our cleaning company. I needed to stop going for the cold sale. That was hard to do, awkward, and low ROI. Instead, I learned to connect with the local business community and serve where I could. I'd like to give you an update on the past 2+ years and I'll do it quickly. I met with Ken Byler from the chamber and he taught me to "Get a Name for Doing". I applied it! In 2020, I was strategically positioned to help my chamber with my experience in podcasting, Zoom, and facilitating groups online. I became Steve and Ken's right-hand-man for taking the chamber online during the pandemic. I was the cleaner on every call serving the group. I also poured over research into proper disinfecting and taught the chamber how to be safer in their homes, offices, and in grocery stores. The chamber showcased my business in a newsletter to over 2,500 residents as a thank you. I never even asked for it! I continued helping Steve in 2021 in marketing and helping new members onboard well. I joined the marketing committee in 2022 to help the chamber reach its next goal in the community. The chamber alone has lead to over $100,000 in total revenue since 2019!
What about my other networking efforts? I'm glad you asked. Do you remember Eva Finlan's referrals? One was a pharmacist who was a huge part in helping the community mask up and get PPE during the pandemic. Dr. Mak Amin of the Skippack Pharmacy in Skippack, PA stayed in touch with me from Eva's referral. I became the pharmacy's cleaning expert, doing PPE product reviews for their Facebook page and being on-call for Dr. Mak's questions. This lead to inquiries from local moms. I took my education to the moms group as well, leading to new house cleaning customers. My name was getting associated as a local cleaning and disinfecting expert. I also plugged into the other weekly networking groups. In the one with Eva, I became the co-education chair with Shelby Leight, a fantastic local realtor. We have been educating the members on various topics to help each other grow our relationships and businesses. These two groups along with my connection with the local pharmacy has lead to over $50,000 in total revenue since 2019!
Here's what I'm doing now. Remember Dennis Gehman? We've continued to meet for breakfast for over 2.5 years and have recently expanded to bring in other local Christian business owners in the Harleysville Area to connect, pray, and mastermind with each other. I still co-chair the education committee in MCBA with Shelby and just joined the marketing committee officially with the Chamber. Just last week, I was a presenter at the chamber's new member orientation meeting. I was asked to share my experiences and concluded this. "Don't come into the chamber looking for sales or what others can do for you. Find out where you can uniquely serve based on your skillset and serve there. Be generous and you will be rewarded with the sales you desire. More importantly, you'll be richly rewarded with new friendships."
I could share so much more on how this new friend lead to this new friend who lead to this new customer. But really, it doesn't matter. I have seen that the most valuable thing we can do is to serve the communities in which we live. Have you ever read the book, "Acres of Diamonds"? It's a fantastic essay from Russell Conwell on exactly this concept. In summary, I am urging you to stop the cold approach to marketing. Adopt a new philosophy of generosity. Stop tracking ROI in dollars. It will not add up in the beginning. Track your ROI in relationships and you'll see rich rewards. Over time, the ROI on dollars will certainly come. Cold contacting is quick and transactional. Building a warm referral network takes more time and is a valuable asset.
I would like to thank our sponsor, the T-Bag Company for this episode. Please check out the founder's interview entitled "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible with Damon Washington". You can purchase any of his T-Bag products at a 10% discount through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.