Why Brochures Don’t Work

Mon, Oct 31, 2016

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1. They scream out “This is a sales message.” And you know this as well as I do: once someone tries to sell you something, you pull back and refuse to listen. Have you seen the cartoon with General Patton in the middle of a

Brochures DON'T work!!

Brochures DON’T work!!

war? A salesman comes up to him with a box full of guns and Patton says, “I don’t have time right now for a salesman.” The salesman has exactly what Patton needed at that moment, but he knew he was trying to sell him something and he refused based on him being a salesman. A brochure is immediately seen as a sales message. It doesn’t work.

2. With brochures you can’t easily change your approach if you’re first one doesn’t work. What if you discontinue one of your services or you add one. What if you change your dry cleaning prices? Your guarantee? Your headline? Or you change anything else? Your first try at an advertising piece usually doesn’t work. With a brochure it’s impossible to keep testing. Fortunately, you’ll have all the advertising tools that have been tested in your tool kit. When you start testing your own, don’t use a brochure, use a sales letter.

3. You can’t cheaply test a brochure. You might want to try several approaches at once to see which one works best. A brochure doesn’t give you that option. Test, test, test is always the motto in the direct marketing world. You never know what’s going to work or what’s not. The market will tell you what they like. You can’t predict that. Brochures don’t give you that flexibility—letters do.

Why Letter Always Get A Better Response:

1. Letters are personal. You don’t get brochures from your friends, you get letters. The same approach works with business letters. They are more personal, less business—even though they are for business purposes. People do business with people, not with businesses. People think of brochures as sales. Who wants to deal with a salesperson? I don’t—and I’m a salesperson.

Get Dan Kennedy's book on how to write a sales letter. It's how I started.

Get Dan Kennedy’s book on how to write a sales letter. It’s how I started.

2. Letters are cheap. And cheap works for me, how about you? You can run a few off of your computer and the test begins. You can write your test letter in the morning and it’s in the mail or dropped off in your target neighborhood in the afternoon. Let’s say that you design a new sales letter to include with your bag drop marketing (more on this later). You can test a new headline and have it included in your bag drops an hour later. You’ll know in a couple of days if this new headline is working by the response you get with the full bags of dry cleaning being ready to be picked up.

3. You can easily change a letter. You can go out after you get the results from the headline you just did and try a new headline. And if that doesn’t work, you can try another one in a couple of days. The flexibility is incredible. You can change and adjust all you want with the keystroke of your computer. And then if you find one that works, you can go to Kinko’s and get a bunch copied and go conquer the world.

4. With letters, you have no waste. Print only the number you need. You don’t have to get 1,000 printed and then find out that they are not working. With letters, you only print a few at a time. I hope I have you convinced. This letter stuff works like a charm. Try it! You’ll be amazed.

Throw out all the brochures you have. THEY DON’T WORK!

Brochure/Letter Story: My first copywriting job involved a brochure my friend Matt was using on 10,000+ leads that just came in the door from a mention they got on one of the news shows. They sent this tri-fold brochure out to all 10,000+ leads and got the big ZERO return. Not a soul ordered their $58 product. Not even one called to find out more about it. Matt was beside himself.

He heard that I wrote a sales letter for my brother selling some arthritis cream and that it was working. This arthritis cream sales letter was my first crack at writing copy. It took me over 80 hours to write that letter. Matt asked me if I could write him one for his product. I did it for $500, my first paid copywriting job.

Today, I get $15,000 plus a piece of the action for writing sales letters. Anyway, I wrote him his sales letter. Guess what happened? I was even impressed by the response I was able to get. 843 people ordered his $58 product for $48,894 in sales.

Matt used that campaign for over 9 years and he just told me the other day that it generated an average of $75,000/year in income for him over those years. He used that same sales letter all those years too. The brochure didn’t get one order. The sales letter got 843. The winner is clear.

Matt has since paid me $200,000+ over the years to write him sales letters for his various companies. So, I’m speaking from experience when I tell you this: Brochures DON’T work—sales letters DO!

Give me your comments below.

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How To Get 52% More Counter Customers WITHOUT Breaking The Bank

Mon, Oct 17, 2016

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What can you do to get and keep counter customers?dry-clean-customers

Most Dry Cleaners—the average ones—keep 50% of those new customers that walk in their store to give them a try.

What if you could give them an experience they’ve never had before at a Dry Cleaner? What if you could WITHOUT that much time and money, get more of those counter customers to stay?

I’ve got an idea for you.

I call it my…6-Step Follow Up Plan. If you do just Step #1, you will see a very noticeable increase in the counter customers that stick with you.

Step #1: Send A Handwritten Thank You Note

The average number of new counter customers that used his dry cleaner a second and third time is 51% according to member David Whitehurst. But, he said that he got that number up to 76% by sending out a hand-written thank you notes and doing a few other tasks.

If you would like the EXACT hand-written thank you notes you should be using, go to: DC-ThankYouNotes.com

What do you do now to ensure that your counter customers will come back?

If you’re like most cleaners, you smile, give them good customer service and you make sure that your quality is good.

That’s NOT good enough!

*Do you send them a thank you note thanking them coming in and giving your dry cleaning service a try?
*Do you collect their email address so that you can also send them an email thanking them?
*Do you give them a coupon for a percentage off to entice them to come back quickly?
*Do you collect their email so that you can sell them other products and services?
*Do you get their mobile number so that you can text them with offers?
*Do you send a newsletter designed to get referrals and keeping them coming back?
*Do you robo-call them with to get them back into your plant?
*Do you have an orchestrated referral program?

Like I said, most dry cleaners don’t do any of these things.

If I were to pick one thing to do, I’d mail out a hand written thank you note and some kind of a percentage off or dollar amount offer to get back as soon as possible.

And when they come in a second time, I’d do something to get them in a third time. If you can get your brand new counter customer in your store a third time—YOU’VE GOT ‘UM!

It’s not a new counter customer unless you can get back a third time. You got them there the first time, and it’ doesn’t take too much effort to get them back and second and third time. Why not take the effort and make it happen.

Most dry cleaners don’t take the effort because they never sat down and figured it out. You’re too busy running your plant and doing everything, that marketing takes a back seat to everything else.

Marketing should be in the drivers seat and that’s what I want you to take away from this report. You no longer should put marketing off. You should dive and get something done.

Here’s what I suggest: Just do one thing. And that one thing is to get your average from 51% to 76% of your counter customers, you don’t have to write it yourself. David Whitehurst has his CSR’s (Customer Service Rep / Customer Sales Rep) do it. Come up with three variations of the hand-written thank you note and give the templates to your CSR’s. Make sure they get mailed out by the end of the day. You could offer something like “10% off your next visit! Just bring this (thank you) card with you.”

Go down to Office Depot and pick up some thank you cards or go online. There are tons of them to choose from. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Don’t get hung up on design or having just the right one. Start today!

Ok. Hopefully you’re getting started today with the hand-written thank you notes.

Step #2: Set Up An Email Autoresponder

The next thing you must do is get an email autoresponder set up. You can set one up with Constant Contact or Aweber. This email system will automatically email your emails in a sequence. So you load up your customers in it and you set it up for the year.

The first email is your welcome email. This is the back up to your hand-written thank you note. And then you set up all your monthly specials and anything else that you’re selling.

My customers get a house cleaning or garment cleaning tip every week. And along with that I use one email each for my specials, my referral rewards program, renting out my Rug Doctor and professional carpet cleaning (I subcontract that out) and selling my add on services like lawn care, painting, wallpapering, gutter cleaning, car detailing and a bunch more.

So each week, your customers should be getting an email from you that will eventually generate additional revenue for your dry cleaning business.

I have a house cleaning business too. I build it from my dry cleaning customer base initially. When we started that business 11 years ago, I sent out a series of emails talking about our new house cleaning business. I was able to fill it up in three weeks. That’s one person cleaning two houses per day, 5 days a week. When we need a new customers, I just put out an email and I get one immediately. I usually have to turn someone down because they didn’t respond quickly enough.

Emails are very powerful and can add income at will to your dry cleaning business. I also use it to let my route customers know of holiday schedules.

If you don’t get your customers emails, start getting them now. Make up a simple script and give it to your CSR’s. The biggest thing in asking for an email address is asking with authority and asking as it’s normal to get it. Come up with some pat answers to objections like, “What do you need this for?” Or “Will you be sending junk emails?” Or “I don’t give out my email.”

Give the tough customers an incentive to give you their email like $5 in FREE cleaning or give them something else. And give your CSR’s an incentive too. Have some kind of a contest and reward them for beating their past record high.

Have fun with it and you’ll get tons of emails and you’ll make tons of money from it.

Step #3: Welcome Call

You or one of your CSR’s should personally call each and every new customer the day after they pick up their first dry cleaning with you. This call should be scripted with what you and your CSR’s should say. Most of the time you’ll be getting their voicemail, so a good script will go a long way.

Make sure and discuss that if they ever have a challenge, which they should call you personally and you’ll take care of it. This call doesn’t have to be very long. As long as you touch base with them and they hear a human being from your dry cleaners, that will do the trick.

How many other cleaner’s do you think make welcome calls? Point one of 1%–maybe? You’ll stand out from all the other dry cleaners they’ve ever done business with before.

Step #4: Welcome Kit

Within the first 2 weeks, you should be sending out a “Welcome Kit”. Some of my members give this out when they first come into their store and others send it out. What should you include in your welcome kit? First of all, a letter. In this letter, tell your store and what you believe in for your business. And I’ve got my best newsletter and a microfiber cloth. I give them instructions on how to use the microfiber in the shower to get rid of all the spots. I use it myself.

Keith Caddell, one of my members, gives them a bottle of degreaser and a thingy to help them carry all their dry cleaning along with a letter and his best newsletter.

Use your imagination and give them a welcome kit that will WOW them!

Step #5: Send a Monthly Newsletter

This is paramount. A newsletter will primarily do two things for you: it will get you referred customers with the orchestrated referral program and it will get you more sales of the other stuff you sell. Design a contest and give away something for each referral and a bigger prize for the customer that gives you the most referrals. And if you don’t sell other stuff, you better start. Make a deal with a carpet cleaner and get a commission off of everything you refer to him. Track the phone calls he gets with Kall8.com. Buy a Rug Doctor for $500 and rent it out. You’ll have your investment back in no time. Fix shoes and purses. Clean baby strollers. Start a house cleaning business.

Step #6: Send a One Month Personal Video

The last step is emailing out a person thank you video. I do a selfie video with my iPhone. I thank them for becoming a customer and ask them if there is anything I can do and give them my personal mobile number. Hardly anyone calls. I want to separate myself from the other dry cleaners in my market by doing many things they don’t and won’t even consider doing..

Doing all these 6 follow-up steps will catapult your counter customer stick rate to upwards of 76%.

If you would like the EXACT hand-written thank you notes you should be using, go to: DC-ThankYouNotes.com

Go to it!

 

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Live By Price / Die By Price

Tue, Aug 16, 2016

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YOU’RE NOT CHARGING ENOUGH!

live-die-priceHow do I know that? Because EVERY Dry Cleaner can charge more. I don’t care if you charge $77 to get a suit cleaned and you’re a Couture Dry Cleaner, you can raise your prices and your customers won’t blink an eye—especially your customers.

EVERY Dry Cleaner can raise their prices. You’re customers (most of them) won’t even know you raised them. If you think your customers are coming to you for your low prices (unless you’re a one-price cleaner), you’re dead wrong. They are not. They are coming for your exceptional customer service, your smiling faces, your ability to get stains out, you’re quality and then they think about your prices.

So it’s time to raise your prices to get to the level you deserve.

The lowest price customers will go to whomever the lowest price leader is that day. There is NO loyalty; there is no service. The sale is based on the lowest price and if you continue to go after that business, soon you won’t have one. All kinds of problems arise if you limit the profitability of your Dry Cleaner. You can’t pay your staff well. You can’t replace your dry cleaning equipment. There will be no money updates for your lobby and your curb appeal. AND you’ll never have enough money for the lifestyle you hoped

You don’t want to throw money away. Leaving money on the table or on the rack is not good for any Dry Cleaner or any business for that matter. Getting a decent and fair price is mandatory today for staying in business.

One of the best ways to hike your Dry Cleaner’s prices is to do it in small increments and do it often. Most (and I mean most as you’ll see in a moment from the story I’m going to tell you) of your customers won’t notice a 3-5% increase in your prices, but all of a sudden you’ll see a big jump in your cash flow because that is PURE PROFIT!

Dave joined my consulting group in September of 2010. His Dry Cleaner was generating $4,ooo,ooo in revenues at a 12% profits margin. Believe it or not, Dave was strapped. He didn’t take a vacation in 5 years. He was working 70-80 hours a week running himself ragged.

You would think that $480,000 in personal income was enough, but it wasn’t. He had a bigger house, bigger car, bigger everything. Dave was even doing $10/hour work. Can you believe it? This guy was making over 400K and he couldn’t afford an assistant to help him through the day.

I asked Dave, “When was the last time you raised prices?” He told me that the recession of 2008 scared him and he didn’t want to raise prices because he was afraid he’s lose all his customers.

So I said, “How would your life change if you could add $33,ooo/month or $400, 000 per year to your income?” I’m sure you can guess his answer. He told me it would be night and day. He could hire the assistant he always wanted and could take the noose off of his personal expenses. And he also said that he and his family could finally take a vacation.

Okay I said. Let’s talk about raising your prices. I asked him, “If you raised your prices by 10% which will give you that extra $33 thousand a month, how many of your customers do you think you’ll lose?”

Dave thought about it for a minute or so and said, “I think I’ll lose no more that 25% of them.”

So if Dave lost 25 percent of his customers, he would still make $660,000, which is still $180,000 more than he’s making now. Actually it’s more, because his expenses would be less. He was okay with that.

I said, “If you lost 50% of your customers you’d still make the same amount of money… probably more because your expenses would be a lot less. Do you think you’d lose 50% of your customers?”

Dave said, “NO”.

Now here is the tricky part. I got Dave to admit that his income would not go down if he lost 50% of his customers and he would make the same amount of money, but he still has to go into his software and raise his prices. Most Dry Cleaners can’t do this even with this overwhelming evidence that they would still make the same amount of money. Somehow they are worried about the lost customers. They weren’t really your customers anyway. They’re the ones that would jump ship if some cleaner came along and beat your pricing by a nickel.

Dave said, “NO way am I going to lose 50% of my customers.” I got Dave to COMMIT to me that he would raise his prices this coming weekend by 10%. I got him to admit it several times. I told him I would call him Monday morning to check up on him.

I called Monday morning and he raised his prices like he promised me. He had the balls to do it. He really had no choice. He was going crazy and was thinking of selling off parts of his Dry Cleaner it to raise some needed cash.

We talked a week later. “Dave, did you lose any customers?” “Don’t think so. I was watching and didn’t notice anything.”

One month later: “Dave, did you lose any customers?” “Just one or two maybe.”

Two months later: “Dave, what’s going on?” “Really Greg, it’s unnoticeable. I only lost a few customers.”

One year later: Dave hired an assistant. I see Dave and his family on Facebook finally taking a vacation.

6 years later: Dave and his family seem to always be on vacation. Latest trip is to Scotland and Ireland. Dave is living the dream.

Dave added dry cleaning consulting to his business. For $5,000 a day he will come and teach you among a few other things… HOW TO RAISE YOUR PRICES!

This is an extreme example of raising prices for your dry cleaning business, but it’s true for your business no mater the size. If you’re doing $500K, you just added $50,000/year or $4,166/month to your income. Four big ones is nothing to sneeze at.

The ONLY thing you gotta do is make a few clicks on your keyboard and raise your prices.

CAN YOU DO THAT?

Don’t just nod your head and say you’re going to do it. STOP right now whatever you’re doing and raise your prices.

By the way… there is no perfect time to do this. Now is the ONLY time to do this. I don’t care if it’s Monday or Wednesday or Friday—GET IT DONE!

Give yourself a raise. Get out of debt. Raise your lifestyle. Smile all the way to the bank.

You are a businessperson. This is what a good businessperson does.

Your customers (99.5% of them) will not even notice. And the ones that do—“FUHGEDDABOUDIT…”

If you’d like me to help you through this for FREE, email me at greg@drycleanerprofits.com and we’ll set up a time to talk. I’d be delighted to get you’re the money you deserve out of your business.

I’d love to hear you comments below.

Go to it!

Call 888-661-1992 to set up a FREE 30-minute consult with me about your routes and/or your counter business or anything you’d like to talk about in your dry cleaning business.

 

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What Is Your Biggest Customer Service Problem?  

Wed, Jul 13, 2016

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Problem is not a word I like to use. I like to say, “opportunity” or “challenge”, but I’m saying PROBLEM here so that there is no mistake in what I’m asking you.

customer_service

What is your Biggest Customer Service Problem at the counter, on the phone, or from your delivery guy (and I mean you ladies too)?

According to Keith Lee, Out-Nordstrom Nordstrom (available at KeithLee.com and I highly recommend it at $2.97), he says, “The biggest problem business owners make by far, is they don’t train their team to deliver great customer service.”

Keith goes on to say, “They hire people, tell them to give good customer service and beat them up once in a while when they don’t give good service; but they never train their staff to deliver great customer service. To compound the problem, the people they hire get such terrible service everywhere they go that they think just “handling” a customer, and not being rude, is good customer service. They think indifferent customer service with an attitude of ‘I’ll wait on you but I really don’t care if you’re here or not’, is just fine.”

It’s NOT!

The first thing you gotta do is hire the right people. Here are some ideas for you to do that.

Hiring Idea #1: Hire Smiling Faces & Nice Team Members – If some guy walks in with a frown on his face… DON’T hire him. If he doesn’t have a smile on his face during the interview, he’s never going to smile—don’t hire him.

Hiring Idea #2: Hire ONLY People You Like – Hire someone you’d like to hang out with after work or on weekends. Hire someone that is a good neighbor. Hire someone that is a good listener. I know what you’re saying, “Hey Greg, that kind of person costs way more than minimum wage.” Wrong! You can find them. I’ll tell you how.

Hiring Idea #3: Hire With The Intention Of Training Them With Life & Business Skills They Can Use For Their Dream Job or Business – When I find the right person for the job (and you will if you believe you will and I also use the ‘Law of Attraction’ to help me out. I’d explain it, but it’s own article), I explain to them that they won’t have this job for life; it’s a transition job to get them to their dream job or business. I go on to explain that I’m going to teach you skills that you can use in business and life that will get you the best jobs and even skills you can use in running your own business. I go on to tell them to be and do their best because it’s training for the really good jobs they’ll get later in life. If someone is older or even retired, they should have all of these skills already.

By the way, hiring retired folks are the bomb. They don’t need the money (so you can get a $50/hr person for $10 an hour or so). They just want to get out of the house and do something that makes them feel productive. Most people when they retire get bored and want to do something. They show up on time; are diligent, and get things done right. I have 2 retired guys per van. One guy works Monday/Tuesday and the other works Thursday/Friday. Both of them know all the routes so that if one wants off, the other covers. You’ll NEVER have to go out on deliveries again.

Hiring Idea #4: Hire In Groups  – I like to hire in at least groups of two. I like to watch how each of them reacts to the other. If I see one of them “rolling their eyes”, I don’t hire him or her. I don’t want him or her rolling their eyes at one of our customers. You can tell if they’re a good listener or if they interrupt. You can find out lots about a person when you put them in a group. And it also creates a little competition, which I think is good.

Here are a few training techniques and ideas for you and your team.

Training Idea #1: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Buy a bunch of customer service books and give them to your team members. I recommend:

·      The Simple Truths Of Service, Inspired by Johnny the Bagger, Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz.

·      Inside the Magic Kingdom – Seven Keys to Disney’s Success, Tom Connellan

·      W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. – Why Are You Making It So Hard For Me To Give You My Money, Ray Considine & Ted Cohn

·      Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, Jeffery Gitomer.

Training Idea #2: First Training Session Immediately Within 10 Minutes On Day 1 – You do this training the minute they start their new job. You teach them to give eye contact within 10 seconds of someone stepping into your counter lobby. Acknowledge your customer within 10 seconds so that they know that you know they are waiting. Have you ever walked into a store and there are employees running all over the place, but not one of them acknowledges you? How does that make you feel? Unwanted? Like crap? When that happens to me, I just want to leave! Very, very, very important!

Training Idea #3: How To Answer The Phone – This is very simple—BUT—very important. The telephone is the gateway to your cleaners. All you have when someone is calling in is that voice and attitude on the other end of the phone to welcome your customer or prospective customer to your dry cleaners. Answer the phone with a smile on your face and say, “Hi… Colosi’s Cleaners, Greg speaking”. Say it upbeat with a smile. Your smile will jump across the phone line and grab your customer’s attention. Your customer will smile too. It’s that simple. I learned this from our local billionaire Tom Golisano at lunch one day.  He started PayChex 30 years ago.

I hope you take some of these ideas and put them to work in your dry cleaning business.

Go to it!

Give me your comments below. Love to hear them.

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Eye Contact – Store Marketing

Tue, Jun 28, 2016

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How important do you think it is to have eye contact with your customer within 10 seconds of them entering the store?eye-contact

I hope you thought it was very important–because it is!

Have you ever walked into a retail store and all the sales reps were talking to someone? And this one you walked in, no one gave you eye contact. How did you feel? Like you’re not there-right? You felt like a non-entity. You felt like you were a nobody. And in some cases, you just got fed up and walked out.

Do you remember the time you walked in a retail store and everyone was busy, but one (or more) of the sales people caught your eye and gave you the look like, “I’ll be with you in a minute.”? How did you feel? You felt loved, adored, wanted and more I bet.

That’s the kind of experience you want your CSR’s to give your customers when they walk into the front of your store.

So, how do you teach that?

It’s the very first training you give your new CSR’s. You just go out with him/her at the counter and show them how to do it. It’s that easy. It’s the first thing you should teach your CSR’s besides explaining to them that they smile ALL the time at the counter. You can’t teach them to smile, but you can hire CSR’s that naturally smile. Everyone wants to be smiled at. Give it to them all day long at your counter.

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“Live Now! You’re Dead For A $#@%ing Long Time.”

Thu, Jun 23, 2016

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Quote by: Bob Perks, 78 year old caddie at The Old Course in St. Andrews, ScotlandBob-Perks

I wrote this 7 years ago to my membership:

Bob’s wife died of cancer 10 years ago. He retired from his job and started caddying at The Old Course. He said that it keeps him out of the house and he gets to meet all kinds of interesting people. And he goes out most every night to the Dunvegan Pub (and drinks very little) to meet more people and have fun with the barmen, barmaids and guests.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but have you really thought about it and tried to live by it? I’m happy to say that I’ve lived by this motto most of my life and I’ve really kicked it up for the last twenty. Living this way has nothing to do with money, although it helps. I’ve done it both ways.

Here are some ways that I live now. Maybe you could try the ones that make sense to you and add some that you come up with. First of all, I live in my own Kingdom. I am the King and I only let those in my life that I like. If someone is negative and an energy vampire, I have them escorted out of my Kingdom. This started some 35 years ago when I read a book called, “The Magic Of Thinking Big.” David Schwartz, the author said that 99% of your success in life is determined by the people you hang out with. If I feel better about me after spending some time with a person, I let them into my Kingdom. I don’t tell them. I just let them in. By the way, I’ve never written about my Kingdom before. I’ve only shared this with a very few close friends. You have your own Kingdom, but maybe you never consciously thought about it this way. This is the first step to living now. Now you don’t have to worry about negative people, only feel good with the positive ones.

Should I…shouldn’t I? We all ask ourselves this question most every day. It could be as small as should I say hi to that person at the cash register and start a conversation or not. I do. I talk to everyone. I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations with people I just met randomly. Sometimes I see them again, sometimes I don’t. If I like something about someone (man or woman), I compliment him or her. I say “God Bless You” to everyone that sneezes whether I know them or not. When you say nice things to someone, you feel good.

And when you have an opportunity to go on a trip, go on it. Don’t worry about your business, it will survive. It’s as easy as giving yourself permission to go. Never hold back. My Dad told me when I was 40 not to wait until you retire to go on trips. I have not. I now go on 12 golf trips a year and 3 or 4 trips with my wife. If you have kids, this schedule will be different, but you get what I mean.

Count your blessings. Cherish your family, good friends, friends, customers and those great people you meet randomly. If you wake up, it’s a good day. Smile. Say hi to everyone. Walk with a little spark. Whistle. Do something you really like every day. Eat better. Exercise. Leave your comfort zone often. Try new things. Don’t ever rush. Take your time. Open doors. Compliment. Reunite with old friends. Make new friends. Take time everyday for just you. Stop beeping your horn. Have empathy. Feel the love and pain from every person you meet. Be happy all the time.

You are blessed with the life you have. You run your own business and have the opportunity to do exactly what you want. You really do. You have to decide to do it. I am one of you. I live my life now. I get jazzed every day with the opportunity to work with you. I am doing EXACTLY what I want to do. If I won the lottery I would still do what I’m doing now.

To get to this point in my life, I’ve started 33 businesses. I’m on my third wife. I’ve bankrupted 3 businesses and I’ve gone bankrupt personally once. So life has not been a bed of roses for me. I’ve had some very difficult times. I once had only $20 dollars left to my name and I took a long walk along a deep gorge thinking I should end it all. Thank goodness I didn’t. I just started another business. The best part about the difficult times is what you learn, how blessed you feel after it’s gone and what you figure out about life.

Please don’t analyze this little rant of what I think about living now, just take parts of it you like and start implementing them in your life. I’m laying out my soul here and trying to help.

I’d like to know what you think. I’d like to know what you do to live now. Comment below. Thanks for listening. I appreciate it. And thanks to Bob for inspiring me to write this.

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How To Keep Your Counter & Route Customers & Getting Them To Spend More With Your Dry Cleaning Business!

Wed, May 11, 2016

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Every counter and route customer represents hundreds if not thousands of dollars in potential revenue, referrals, and lifetime customers.happy
value, so that ONE lost customer starts to look pretty damn important.

It’s 5X as hard to get a new customer as it is keeping one. So what can you do to keep your valuable customers from jumping ship and joining your competition?

#1: Communicate With Them On A Regular Basis – most dry cleaners NEVER email, telephone or send a letter to their customers EVER! Is that you? I hope not.

The FIRST STEP is to send them a “Handwritten Thank You Letter”. When they first come into your store or join your route, they get a hand written note from you, your CSR’s or your route manager.

What do you say? You say, “thank you coming in and please call me at 555-1234 if you have any questions” and then offer them 10% to come in again. Tell them just to bring the thank you note for the discount.

The SECOND STEP is to send out a formal “Welcome Letter”. In this letter you tell them your story, about your business beliefs, how the route or counter works for them and how you welcome complaints. Yes…complaints. The only way you’ll find out if you’re doing something wrong. Our Welcome Letter is 4 pages long.

The THIRD STEP is to send them an email. Take your Welcome Letter and email it to them. Why both? Some people like snail-mail, some like email.

The FOURTH STEP is to send out a “Welcome Package”. Include one of your newsletters (if you have one) and a free gift. We give them a micro fiber cloth and instruct them how to use it to keep their shower clean.

The FIFTH STEP is get them set up on an email autoresponder. You can use MailChimp, Constant Contact or Aweber to name a few. Create 50 emails and send out one a month. Our members use a cleaning tip, household or other every week with either the special of the month or an offer to refer their neighbor. If your customer does not like getting emails, they can opt out. 90% will continue getting your emails.

And the SIXTH STEP is for route customers only. You must remind them the night before their pick-up with an automated phone call. This is especially critical for new customers to get them in the habit of putting out their dry cleaning on their pick-up day.

It is important to continue these calls because your customers sometimes forget. And when they forget, they don’t want to call you and bother you for a pick-up. So they run to the closest dry cleaner. And if that’s not you, you’re starting to lose them. If this happens 3 or 4 times, they’re gone! You’ve lost a customer. If their reminded every week with a call, they most likely won’t forget to put out their dirty dry cleaning.

Best to call 7pm the night before. Your customers always have the option to opt out. 10% will. 90% will continue to get your calls. We start out the call with the “quote of the week” and remind them to leave out their dry cleaning the following morning. You can use VoiceBlaze.com or CallFire.com to handle your calls for you.

You can also start to control the volume of dry cleaning to shift from early in the week to later in the week by reminding them Wednesday and Thursday night for Thursday and Friday pick-ups. This will level our your van and allow you to handle more volume per van.

one#2: Create A Category Of “ONE” In Your Market – Grant Carson in sunny California has created a “Category of One” in his market for his delivery business. How does he do it? Whenever he gets a call for a pick-up (and it could be Sunday afternoon), he goes and gets it. If someone calls early and they need it back the same day, one of Grant’s people take care of it.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “This guy is losing money hand over fist by having his employees go out on these missions.”

Or you can look at it like Grant does. Each time his dry cleaning delivery company does something like this, he creates a “WOW” experience. His customers know that if they’re in a pinch, “Super Grant” will come to the rescue.

Guess what happens when one of these “Super Grant” recipients gets asked about what dry cleaners they use? That’s right. They go on and on about Grant’s dry cleaning pick-up and delivery service. Grant gets tons of referrals and very rarely loses customers.

He looks at these out-of-the-ordinary pick-ups as opportunities to create a SUPER CUSTOMER. That super-customer will recommend his delivery service until the cows come home. Wouldn’t you? I would. I’m getting excited just writing about this and I wanna use his service.

David Whitehurst in Birmingham, AL has a popcorn machine in the lobby of his 3 stores. He’s created a fun atmosphere in each of his stores. He sends out the “hand-written” thank you notes I told you about and he also has a monthly newsletter. In his newsletter, his dog Champ gives out positive and inspirational advice. People come in all the time asking about Champ.

David and Grant have created a “Category of One” in their markets. No one else can compete with them at their level; therefore they get all the customers.

What can you do to create a “Category of One?”

#3: Respond To All Customer Inquiries With SPEED – you cannot underestimate the power of “Speed.” Amazon has taken over the world with their 2-day free shipping and in some markets, same day shipping. Nothing like ordering something online and getting it the same or next day. Sometimes it’s faster than if you were to go to the store yourself or it seems like it.respond.with.speed

Member Stephen Moore is a “SPEED FREAK”. When a new customer signs up on his website for his delivery service (and lots do), he gets a text. What does he do? He calls them immediately and arranges for a pick-up within the hour. His new customers are amazed at how fast his delivery company handles this. Stephen handles all new customers. This way it gives his a change to give them the right impression right off the bat.

And along with that first pick-up, Stephen leaves his Welcome Kit, which includes lots of goodies along with his newsletter.

And when his dry cleaner gets calls, they handle all inquiries with speed being paramount.

You don’t want your customers going anywhere else. I hope you take some of these ideas and put them to work in your dry cleaning business.

Go to it!

 Call 888-661-1992 to set up a FREE 30-minute consult with me about your routes and/or your counter business or anything you’d like to talk about in your dry cleaning business.

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How To Find Success In The Dry Cleaning Business

Sat, Apr 9, 2016

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First of all, let’s define success.

What is your definition of success?

What is your definition of success?

I think success is all about lifestyle. There are those that make lots of money, but they are stuck with the golden handcuffs of working for someone else. You and I work for ourselves. We don’t answer to anybody or anyone. We can take off anytime we want without asking a soul.

It’s been 36 years since I’ve asked for vacation time. I can’t fathom asking my boss for time off. I was thinking about that this morning while I was driving to Starbucks to write this article.

I’m coming from three months of snow-birding in Sarasota, FL. I just left my daughter’s home in Charlotte, NC where I spend the last 10 days hanging with 2 year-old granddaughter.

This is all possible because of this great business that you and I are in. If you’re doing this dry cleaning business thing right, you don’t have to be in your plant every day all day. You can visit instead.

My most successful members including David Whitehurst of Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, AL, work from an office in their home. When David became a member (client) of mine in 2007, he had his office in his plant. He told me that his days were spent putting out one fire after another and he was very frustrated.

I told him about Peter Drucker’s book, “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide To Getting The Right Things Done.” I live by and remember only one thing in that book: “Eight hours of interrupted time and equal to one hour of uninterrupted time.”

If you’re in your plant you WILL be interrupted all day long and you will ONLY get one hour of real work done that day. When you go on vacation, things seem to run smoothly without you, don’t they? So, make believe you’re on vacation all time—that’s what I do.

How do you do that?

First of all, get your office out of your plant into your home. It’s tough to do it cold turkey, so start by getting to your plant by noon each day. Get someone else to turn on the boiler if you do. Stay at home at start working ON your business and not IN your business. That four hours you spend at home will yield 32 hours of interrupted time. It would normally take you four days to accomplish that. You will NEVER get a lifestyle if you have to be (or think you have to be) in your plant 24/7. It will never happen.

The next skill you’ve got to master is delegation. Your job is not to spot, press, work the front counter (only a little bit if you enjoy it and only after all the marketing work is done), or fix your machines. If you’re doing all or some of this, you won’t have any kind of lifestyle at all. You’ll be a slave to your business.

You should not be doing $10/hour work. You should be doing $50/hour work and up. If you can hire someone to get something done in your dry cleaning business, that’s what you should do. You’re doing your dry cleaner no good working 60-80 hours per week. You become very inefficient after about 50 hours.

Imagine getting up, getting some coffee and walking to your home office. No traffic. No employees. No interruptions (unless you’ve got some kids). Just you and your computer. Imagine all the work you can get done. Imagine visiting your plant (or plants) and your drop stores. Imagine everything running smoothly without you having to be in your plant.

This can be your reality. This can be normal for you. And once you get there, you’ll never want to go back, I promise.

So what do you do with these newfound uninterrupted hours of your day?

You work on getting MORE CUSTOMERS!

Your primary job is as your dry cleaner’s CMO, which is its Chief Marketing Officer.

You’re job is to figure out how to get and keep customers for your counter and your routes.

That’s where the money (and lifestyle) is!

And that’s where I come in. I can show you how to get counter and route customers.

Gone are the days where you put up a plant and drop stores and the customers come strolling in. Some show up, but not like in the old days. There is way too much competition from all the discounters, franchises and every Tom, Dick and Harry thinking that the dry cleaning business is easy. It’s not easy.

I’ve started 33 businesses. It’s just as difficult as the other 32 I started. Business is business is business.

Your focus should be on marketing. You should be spending 80% of your time on marketing your dry cleaners. That’s what is going to make the difference in your business and your lifestyle.

My book can get you started: DryCleaningBook.com

I sincerely hope that you take this advice seriously. This is not a joke. These simple ideas can get you the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. They’ve done it for me, for David Whitehurst and many more of my members.

Go to it!

Call 888-661-1992 to set up a FREE 30-minute consult with me about your routes and/or your counter business or anything you’d like to talk about in your dry cleaning business.

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Find Out The ONLY 2 Ways To Build A Concentrated Residential Route!

Mon, Mar 14, 2016

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There are many, many ways to get route customers. There’s your website, PPC, blogging, flyers, mailers, referral programs, your van, coupons, converting at the counter, newspaper, radio, TV, Cable, door hangers, telemarketing (in some parts of the country), newsletter, celebrity endorsement, ValPak (shared mailings), EDDM, new mover mailers, sell a coupon book, fundraising, postcards, post-it’s, bag drops and door knocking.

All of the above methods will get you route customers if done correctly, the last two—bag dropping and door knocking—will give you the concentrated residential route you’ve always dreamed of.

The bag I used for bag dropping.

The bag I used for bag dropping.

Lets talk about bag dropping first: I’m not talking about dropping off a bag and then following up with a knock at their door (that’s door knocking), I’m talking about dropping off one of your printed garment bags with a sales letter and order form attached. And then following up with a post-it note 3 or 4 times to get a bunch of customers and the majority of your bags back. That’s a PURE bag drop and the kind that I teach.

When I started my dry cleaning delivery business back in 1996, I got my first 300+ customers by knocking on doors. All you need to get started is a good presentation and the intestinal fortitude to go out and face rejection.

During the early afternoon, I would find the retirees and the people that didn’t do much dry cleaning too. But my best candidates where the homes where no one was home. I suspected that both spouses were working and they both used dry cleaning and that’s why no one was home.

At night from about 5:30-8:30 would be my prime door knocking time. I didn’t want to waste it on prospects that didn’t do any dry cleaning, so I weeded them out during the afternoon. My job at night was to go knock on the “not home’s” from that afternoon.

I would get 3-5 news customers every night using this method. My record was 28 new customers in one week. Most weeks I would get 15+ new route customers. I’d go out Monday through Thursday. I tried going out on Saturday’s without much success. Most of them were out running their kids around to sporting events.

And then I discovered bag drops. I was tired of going out at night and missing time with my kids, so I stared experimenting with bag drops. I didn’t want to go out and knock on doors and wanted to come up with something that would get me concentrated route customers like door knocking did.

It was a bigger chore to figure out than I thought. It took me 18 months of trial and error to get it to a point that was very profitable.

I ended up with a 4-page sales letter and an order form with testimonials on the back.

I tried doing the bag drops with plastic bags. I tried it with counter bags with no printing—the ones you could buy cheap. I tried following up with letters sent through the post office. I tried “percentage off” offers. I tried “dollar off” offers. I tried FREE dry cleaning offers. I tried dropping in all kinds of neighborhoods. All of this took me 18 months to figure out.

After 18 months I was consistently getting 5 brand new route customers with every 100 bags I dropped. I used garment bags with my logo and followed up with post-it notes and ended up getting 70% of my bags back.

A $10 FREE Dry Cleaning offer worked better than 50% off and it also worked better than $50 in free dry cleaning. I tried a bunch of percentage off offers and tried giving $50 dollars, $40 dollars, $30 dollars and $20 dollars off. $10 worked the best. Go figure!

I tried 17 different headlines on my bag drop letter before I found the “Holy Grail” of bag drop headlines. It was a lot of work. I almost gave up several times even through I came from a direct response advertising background. It was the hardest direct response nut I’ve ever had to crack.

So there you have it…THE TWO BEST WAYS TO GET CONCENTRATED RESIDENTIAL ROUTE CUSTOMERS!!

Do one. Do both. Do something now! I can help.

I’d love your comments below.

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Are You A Salesperson? If Not, You Should Decide To Become One. Your Dry Cleaner Is Depending On It!

Thu, Jan 14, 2016

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...to being a salesperson!

…to being a salesperson!

Like it or not, you’re in the business of selling. All business sell something. If you don’t like selling, or think it’s a necessary evil, you’re not going to reach your dry cleaner’s full potential.

If you’re on the fence, you’ve got to look at selling differently. This is how I look at it: First of all, I wouldn’t sell anything that I wouldn’t sell to my mother. My mother is the litmus test. I would never sell “crap”. I would never sell something that I wouldn’t use myself.

I’ve sold lots of products and services in my business (33 businesses and counting and the last one being a dry cleaner) career. As I look back, the products I was not to fond of, I didn’t sell much of. You must have a belief that your product or service is really going to help the person you’re selling it to or you won’t sell much of it.

Selling is the foundation of your dry cleaning business. You could be the greatest dry cleaner in the world, but without selling it, you wouldn’t have much of a business. You might not realize it, but you’re selling in the way you set up your plant’s counter area. Is it inviting? Does it welcome people? Are you using the wall space for sharing information on all that your business does? Are you using that space to introduce yourself and your team? Is your counter area clean? Are your CSR’s (I like to call them Customer Sales Reps instead of Customer Service Reps) friendly and do they smile? How do they answer the phone? Is that scripted? Can they make decisions on refunds? Can they decide what to do when you lose a garment and you damage one? Do your CSR’s sell your other services? Do they convert counter customers to your route?

This is all part of the sales process and it’s just the beginning.

Does your delivery van invite prospects to call you? This is what the back of my van looks like. My USP (Unique van-backSelling Proposition) says, “FREE Pick-Up & Next Day Delivery”, and then says, “Call 234-4400 to find out more.”

My van is standing at a light or a stop sign and the car behind is reading this. If they’re interested, they get on their mobile phone and call. And when they call, they get a scripted recorded message from me on how my delivery service works. And I give them an incentive to get signed up because I offer them $10 in free dry cleaning just to try it out my delivery service with no strings attached.

I don’t have the phone number go to a live person on purpose because the scripted message from me is delivered the same way each and every time. They get a feel of who I am (the owner) and what my dry cleaner is all about.

So when I talk about you becoming a salesperson, I’m not talking about the stereotypical car salesman that none of us want to be like. I’m talking about becoming aware of all the parts of your business that you should be creating sales messages in.

You should come up with an offer that permeates everything you do. My “offer” is:

$10 In FREE Dry Cleaning Just To Try Us Out. No Strings Attached. No Rabbit Coming Out Of The Hat. No Hidden Agenda. Just A No Risk Way To See If You’ll Like Us.

I change it up to keep it exciting, but the message is always “free dry cleaning to try me out.” I’m taking all the risk away and making it very easy for my prospect to say YES!

Your website should be selling everything you have to offer. Every page should have your phone number and also your offer of free dry cleaning.

If you really believe in what you’re doing, selling should come as a natural by product. You’ve got to believe deep down in your heart that your dry cleaner should be the cleaner of choice for all the people in your market.

When you walk into businesses, notice what they do to get you to buy more. Also notice those that are not inviting—maybe you’re doing some of those things. Start to make a conscious effort to notice those parts of your dry cleaning business that need selling to be incorporated.

Take one of these ideas this week and put it into use. Your dry cleaner deserves it!

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