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Building Your Cleaning Business Brand: Expert Strategies for Success with John Wiley

In today’s competitive business landscape, standing out and building a strong, recognizable brand is essential for the success of any cleaning business. As a business owner, it’s crucial to understand the significance of branding, positioning, and effective marketing strategies in order to create a compelling brand identity that resonates with your target audience. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore expert insights and strategies shared by industry leaders to help you elevate your cleaning business brand and achieve long-term success.

The Power of Branding and Positioning in Marketing

When it comes to building a successful cleaning business, the power of branding and positioning cannot be overstated. Your brand is more than just a logo or a business name; it’s the overall perception of your company in the minds of your customers. In our conversation with industry leaders, the importance of effectively branding and positioning your business to differentiate yourself from the competition becomes evident. John Wiley, an expert in vehicle graphics and branding, emphasizes the significance of creating a brand that stands out in a conservative market.

Expert Insights on Branding and Positioning

Incorporating insights from industry experts can provide valuable guidance on branding and positioning for cleaning businesses. John Wiley, with his extensive experience in vehicle graphics, shares his journey from pinstriping cars to developing a specialized business focused solely on fleet vehicle graphics. His transition from Dream Street Graphics to the bold and provocative brand, “Don’t Drive Naked,” highlights the importance of refining and simplifying your brand message for maximum impact.

Strategically positioning your business as an expert in the cleaning industry requires a clear understanding of your local community and target audience. Wiley’s advice on specializing and standing out as an expert in your field aligns with the need for cleaning businesses to establish themselves as leaders in their respective markets. By honing in on a specific niche and communicating your expertise effectively, you can elevate your brand and resonate with potential customers.

The Realities of Starting and Growing a Cleaning Business

While building a strong brand is essential, it’s equally important to recognize the challenges and realities of starting and growing a cleaning business. Both John Wiley and John Clendenning shed light on the sacrifices and determination required to succeed in the industry. From the high failure rate of small businesses to the constant pursuit of success, their insights offer a realistic perspective on the journey of entrepreneurship.

Navigating the Challenges of Entrepreneurship

Starting a cleaning business often comes with its own set of challenges, including long hours, financial constraints, and the need to stand out in a competitive market. John Clendenning’s experience in growing his cleaning and restoration company provides valuable insights into the practical aspects of running a successful business. His emphasis on learning how to run a business, particularly in terms of marketing and building long-term systems, underscores the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in entrepreneurship.

Expert Strategies for Effective Marketing and Brand Differentiation

In a competitive industry such as cleaning, effective marketing and brand differentiation are crucial for success. John Clendenning and John Wiley share practical strategies to help cleaning businesses carve out a unique position in the market and attract the right customers.

Differentiation Through Brand Messaging and Target Market Focus

The significance of brand messaging and targeting a specific market segment cannot be overlooked. Clendenning and Wiley emphasize the importance of crafting a compelling founder story, a unique sales proposition, and a risk reversal guarantee to set your business apart. Identifying and targeting influencers and strategic partners, as discussed by the industry leaders, plays a critical role in reaching ideal customers and building lasting relationships within the community. By focusing on a specific target market and dominating a smaller geographical area, cleaning businesses can position themselves as specialists and command higher prices.

Engaging Influencers and Building Strong Customer Relationships

Engaging influencers and building enduring customer relationships are pivotal in establishing a strong brand presence. Both John Clendenning and John Wiley illustrate the power of reciprocity in influencing people’s behavior, emphasizing the need to offer exceptional customer experiences and meaningful gifts. By strategically leveraging limited resources and forming strategic partnerships, cleaning businesses can differentiate themselves and thrive in a competitive market.

FAQ: Your Branding, Marketing, and Business Growth Questions Answered

1. What role does branding play in the success of a cleaning business?
Branding plays a fundamental role in shaping the perception of a cleaning business, establishing trust with customers, and differentiating the business from competitors. A strong brand identity contributes to long-term success and customer loyalty.
2. How can cleaning businesses effectively position themselves in the market?
Effective positioning involves specializing in a specific niche, crafting a compelling brand message, and targeting a defined market segment. By communicating expertise and unique value propositions, cleaning businesses can establish themselves as leaders in the industry.
3. What are the key challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the cleaning industry?
Entrepreneurs in the cleaning industry often encounter challenges such as long hours, financial constraints, and the need to navigate a highly competitive market. Overcoming these challenges requires determination, continuous learning, and a strategic approach to brand differentiation.
4. How can cleaning businesses engage influencers and build strong customer relationships?
Engaging influencers and building strong customer relationships involves offering exceptional experiences, meaningful gifts, and forming strategic partnerships. By leveraging these strategies, cleaning businesses can create a compelling brand presence and attract loyal customers.
5. What strategies can cleaning businesses implement to stand out in a competitive market?
Cleaning businesses can differentiate themselves by focusing on brand messaging, targeting specific market segments, and identifying strategic partners. By offering unique sales propositions and exceptional customer experiences, businesses can carve out a distinct position in the market.
6. How can entrepreneurs effectively navigate the realities of starting and growing a cleaning business?
Effectively navigating the realities of entrepreneurship involves learning how to run a business, particularly in terms of marketing, brand differentiation, and long-term system building. Embracing continuous learning, determination, and effective marketing strategies are essential for sustainable business growth.

Conclusion: Elevating Your Cleaning Business Brand for Long-Term Success

Building a successful cleaning business requires strategic branding, effective marketing, and a deep understanding of your target audience. By incorporating expert insights and leveraging proven strategies, cleaning businesses can elevate their brand, differentiate themselves in the market, and build lasting customer relationships. Embracing continuous learning, determination, and a strategic approach to brand differentiation are essential for long-term success in the cleaning industry.

You will learn:


Business Building and Branding


Challenges and Sacrifices of Running a Business


Marketing Strategies and Customer Engagement


Lessons for Service Business Owners

Audio Transcript:

John Wiley [00:00:00]:
But you were mentioning some things about branding and how everything you do has to support that brand and that brand should represent a position. So you decide right away. I’ve met so many carpet cleaners in my life. So how are you going to be successful? Oh, I’m going to cut everybody’s prices. I’m going to take it off and you’re like, oh God, I don’t even know if I got the heart to tell him. And yeah, you’re going to win the race to the bottom, probably first.

John Clendenning [00:00:30]:
Hey, welcome to another edition of the Carpet Cleaner Success podcast. Your host John clandenning here. Back for another exciting episode. We’re going to make it exciting because I got my good friend John Wiley on the call today. So John Wiley runs an amazing business called don’t drive naked.

John Clendenning [00:01:20]:
I’ve known him for well over, we figure, 20 years. Hey, there we go. There’s the branding. Yeah, I did a presentation at a franchise network years ago and he took me out for a steak dinner that night and picked my brain and I picked his brain and we’ve been picking each other’s brain ever since. So we’re going to have a good conversation. Welcome, John. Thanks so much for hopping on. How are things?

John Wiley [00:01:41]:
Thank you. I’m doing great today.

John Clendenning [00:01:43]:
That’s good. So tell us a little bit for the listeners about the business. Don’t drive naked. Originally dream street graphics when I first met you. But what’s your history? Where did you come from? What do you do and why do you do it?

John Wiley [00:01:58]:
Well, first of all, I want to ask you something. How long have we been friends? How long ago was that?

John Clendenning [00:02:05]:
I’m thinking 2002 is my guess.

John Wiley [00:02:08]:
Yeah. I remember going to Canada for the carpet cleaner convention and you were a speaker and you just blew me away. I was sitting there listening to you and I’m like, this is so deep and that’s fascinating to me and you’ve always been a fascinating character. In fact, whenever I talk to you, I take about two to three pages of notes every time because I know I won’t remember or absorb all of it. But yeah, I started in 1982 pinstriping cars on the dealership lots for a company called Trim Line, and that was a three M brand, and three m owned.

John Clendenning [00:02:47]:

John Wiley [00:02:47]:
They licensed that brand out. So I kind of fell, just asked backwards into it. So I worked on dealership lots, and I would do rivet on body side moldings, custom pinstripes. And I figured out pretty quickly that I could do $12 pinstripes all day, or I could sell them a customized graphic package just for their dealership for a couple of $100. So I really pushed the bigger graphics and the bigger trim packages and things, but I did it all on the lot, like crawling around fault and concrete on my knees, and my knees are hurting today, as a matter of fact. But I figured out after a couple of decades of that, that I was going to have to grow my business to the point where I had the ability to hire a designer that’s better than me and installers that are better than me and everybody in this building is what I want. They’re all better than me at every single thing they do.

John Clendenning [00:03:49]:
Yeah. Well, tell us about that then. Now fast forward eighty s, ninety s, two thousand s. There’s been iterations. You’re opening up your fourth location in Indianapolis. We were talking about that recently, and you’ve got the team and all that kind of stuff. What does the business look like now? You only do vehicle graphics. I think that’s really exciting and interesting as well.

John Clendenning [00:04:11]:
A lot of people just do signs, and they think that everything is everything but the vehicle graphics. Niching down is a very important part of what we’ll talk about, but also why you’ve chosen that. So kind of talk about don’t drive naked right now, and the team and the growth and the plans and all of that.

John Wiley [00:04:29]:
You’re right. We did start as Dream street graphics in 1995, and I knew that I had been around vehicle graphics for a long time, so I knew how to install the three m vinyl. And for eight years, from 88 to 95, I was selling these sign systems, which are CAD cAM systems, where we could design and vector, and we could actually cut like a letter out in vinyl. We were so fascinated with that.

John Clendenning [00:04:59]:
Remember those days?

John Wiley [00:05:00]:
I wound up selling equipment and traveling all over the United States. I did about 150 systems all over the place.

John Clendenning [00:05:07]:

John Wiley [00:05:08]:
From 88 to 95. So once you hit a saturation point, it was like everybody had something. And I knew there was a good opportunity in fleet vehicle graphics. So that’s what I originally wanted to be, but I didn’t really know how to be that.

John Clendenning [00:05:29]:

John Wiley [00:05:29]:
I was, what, 70% of all business owners are technician who started a business. And I even ran three different divisions where I got to see a PNL for all three divisions on whether I was doing well or not, were they profitable or not. Mostly they weren’t. But when I started my business, I still didn’t know anything about business. I thought that, man, I got it all. I got this history, years of this history, and I’ve sold this equipment, et cetera, and traveled, and I still didn’t know anything. And when I look back at some of the decisions I made in that first year, they’re ridiculously stupid, terrible decisions. But when you’re starting out.

John Wiley [00:06:16]:
I started out with no money out of an apartment. And the problem is you don’t know anybody that can help. You don’t even know who to ask. I sure didn’t know you back in those days, and I made a lot of mistakes because of it. So I started networking about 20 years ago, going to networking events to grow my business. And I got so tired of people saying, you know, you got to work smarter than harder. Yeah. Is that it?

John Clendenning [00:06:46]:
Yeah. There’s the big answer.

John Wiley [00:06:49]:
Work smarter, not harder. Anyway, I would just look at them and go, but what if you’re dumber? And they’ll stand there and they’ll kind of look at you like, are you starting a fight? So I don’t let it go too far. And I said, well, I’ve made so many dumb mistakes, I feel like I should write a book called what if you’re dumber?

John Clendenning [00:07:14]:
There you go.

John Wiley [00:07:15]:
And it wouldn’t be an illustrious book and real technical. It’d just be like all the mistakes we make that are real typical to small business owners. Getting started and this and the lack of proper funding for marketing is why almost all small businesses don’t make it.

John Clendenning [00:07:34]:
Yeah, the number is staggering. It’s like 80% in the first five years, 95% by year ten that found it didn’t make it to year ten.

John Wiley [00:07:42]:
That’s like, what’s interesting, when you make it to year five, you don’t feel like you are successful. And I’m at year 29, and I still don’t feel successful. It’s like you don’t ever feel like you’ll be at the top of that mountain. You’re always working harder. And yes, you do try to get smarter. But certain things I don’t like in life are like gambling, because they control the ODs. If I get smarter, the more I learn and learn and learn and learn. I’m increasing the Ods of banking on myself or betting on myself.

John Clendenning [00:08:19]:

John Wiley [00:08:20]:
And I would rather take those ODs because I have control over those ODs. I can either be dumber or smarter.

John Clendenning [00:08:26]:
Yeah. And one thing that I think you’ve been really smart at is, and we’ll kind of focus the conversation around the branding a little bit as well, is the transition of the brand really, from my perspective, came out of the fact that you were edgy in a bit of a Bible belt. So you took the graphics and the whole concept of not driving naked, put the naked out front, because that’s the edgy term. So now you’re standing out, you’re doing billboards, you got the side of the building, you’ve got people picketing the shop years ago and stuff like that, because you were pushing the envelope. Not again, suggestively, not overtly, but you were pushing it and getting notoriety, which actually elevated your brand. Like, you cut through the people that cared too much about it. They don’t need to be your customers anyways. You picked your ideal customer by going, you know what? I like your edgy brand, and I like the fact that you’re pushing back and stuff like that.

John Clendenning [00:09:25]:
And that became a huge brand message in your marketplace, that eventually you’ve just transitioned the whole brand to be that name.

John Wiley [00:09:32]:
But when you go from Dream street graphics, that period of time to don’t drive naked, that’s all those experimental years. Now, I started as fleet vehicle graphics, and then I started thinking I was a marketing guy, and I had this list of customers. I could sell more things to the same customers. And I lived and died in that hell. Not 95, but around the year 2007, at the end of that, in November, when banks were failing and all the news was bad about financial, that’s when I decided to strip everything away again, just be the thing I started. And so dream street graphics, without really knowing what I was going to be, Dream street graphics was sort of an umbrella name. When I realized, I only want to do fleet graphics, then, well, I already had the idea for don’t drive naked for seven years. I was sitting on it.

John Wiley [00:10:25]:
Okay, I wanted to change, but that created an opportunity for me to change everything all at once.

John Clendenning [00:10:33]:

John Wiley [00:10:33]:
Opportunity is called we’re screwed anyway, so let’s just do this.

John Clendenning [00:10:38]:
Yeah. And that’s the fact that, again, there’s a lot of people that just kind of. Again, I talked to a lot of blue collar cleaners owning homeless service, cleaning businesses of some sort, carpet cleaning, made service, stuff like that. And there’s a lot of them that just kind of sit on their hands a little bit. Don’t try, don’t experiment, don’t reach out, don’t call. People aren’t the ones knocking on doors. 510 15 businesses a week and that kind of thing. They’re kind of hoping for something else.

John Clendenning [00:11:07]:
They don’t really build a good brand. I talked to some that do, but I’m sure you’ve seen all of that with all of the clients that you’ve dealt with. With the ones that kind of get the idea that their brand has to be different. It’s okay to reinvent it and expand upon it, but you’ve got to understand that you have a brand, not just a business name, but a brand that stands for something. And I’ve always thought of you as sort of that brand visibility brand expert because you work so tightly with these businesses. Some of them are telling, no, no, I just want letters on the side of my trucks. And the other ones are going, hey, John, what do we do? How do we stand out in the marketplace? So what is it? What is crucial about establishing a strong local presence in your mind? Again, from the stuff that you’ve done for your own brand and for the clients you’ve helped, not just the vehicle graphics, but the actual just in the community, like standing out and becoming noteworthy?

John Wiley [00:12:07]:
That’s a good question. The first thing you have to do is figure out what you’re going to specialize. I read, I found a couple of authors that really helped me turn the corner, so to speak. One was e myth by Michael Gerber, because I fit into that category of a technician that started a business. So once you’re in business, you’d better have a really strong, simple, quick message that people can absorb and they can digest it. And then I also read a book about sticky marketing. Like duct tape Sticky, whatever your name is, your brand is, and what you do has to be sticky. And a lot of that you do visually.

John Wiley [00:12:54]:
There’s a company that I follow, and I’m friends with the owner, and he does a lot of brand building for small service companies, which is my market as well. But we really don’t do the initial branding. Like we’re going to check to make sure you can actually use the name you have and how far do you want to expand, et cetera. But when you think about locally, you’re going to have to become known as the expert in what you do. And a lot of people start a service business when they’re starting a new business because if we know how to do something or if we’re good at knowing how to do things, we can do that in our minds. We can do that for less upfront.

John Clendenning [00:13:39]:
Money without that thought. Again, Michael Gerber E Myth without the thought of realizing, hey, if I’m a mechanic and I start an auto shop, the last thing I should be doing is repairing cars, because maybe I have to right now, but in a year from now, I better have mechanics working for me. Now I have to learn how to be a business owner and a marketer and an advertiser and an HR and hire all that kind of stuff. All of a sudden, I’m no longer a mechanic. Yeah.

John Wiley [00:14:05]:
And so I see this in all service businesses, and I come from carpet cleaning in the 70s, okay. It’s almost like raw carpet cleaners. It doesn’t even matter to a point what the product is. If you talk to anybody in a service company, they all have the same problems. It’s just a different product.

John Clendenning [00:14:27]:

John Wiley [00:14:28]:
So whatever we’ve gone through, pretty much everybody else has, too, if they’ve made it long enough. And you have to learn how to deal with those problems. But I think when people ask me, they say, what advice would you give me? I want to start my own business. And I said, okay, tell me why.

John Clendenning [00:14:53]:

John Wiley [00:14:54]:
And that always catches them. And see, that was me, too. It would have caught me, too. But now I know to ask the question, why start your own business? And they’ll think about it, and they’ll be kind of sheepish about it every time they’ll come back to, well, I feel like I can make more money. Okay, based on what? Well, I work for the guy. I work for the man, and I’m working so hard that he makes all the money. I said, okay, I get that you believe that, and it doesn’t mean it’s not true or that it is true, but you will fail.

John Clendenning [00:15:29]:

John Wiley [00:15:30]:
If that’s your why, I can already tell you right now, don’t do it. Just try to work for a better company that pays you really well, good benefits, and you’re a good technician. Work for a great company and make all the money you can make, because people that are good at a technical skill will never really be out of work. So bounce around till you find the perfect fit for you, but you won’t make it. In small business, the why can’t be tethered to the financial benefit because you will work 80 hours and get paid for 40.

John Clendenning [00:16:01]:
Yeah, if you’re lucky, get paid for 40. Maybe get paid for money.

John Wiley [00:16:04]:
Second question I ask them is, what are you willing to sacrifice? And they’re like, well, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m talking about all your weekends, holidays, evenings, late nights. That extra work you’re putting in is going to be at the sacrifice of your own personal life. And if you got a wife and kids, that’s really tough on them, and everybody will be supportive for three months. But after a while, it starts to grate, it starts to wear on everyone. And you start thinking about, man, I’m making less money. I never see my kids and a lot of people, and I’m not just trying to speak in generalizations here, but this is where a lot of relationships break up.

John Clendenning [00:16:46]:

John Wiley [00:16:47]:
It goes on for years, and they’re just like, this is never. I remember my ex wife a long time ago, and I was working on my apartment, and she would walk in and say, that’s it. I want all of this sold off, shut down. I want you go get a real job, or we’re through.

John Clendenning [00:17:09]:
Yeah. And I think that’s a common statement many business owners hear is sort of because you’re plugging away at it. And again, you better be reading the books like the Emyth and all of them. There’s hundreds of books that listen to them on audio. If you’re not a reader, as I always say, you’re driving around. If you’re a service business, there’s times you’re out and about. You’ve now got, as Dan Kennedy called it, a mobile university. You better be listening to stuff because, yeah, your family and your friends and everybody’s going to go, what the heck are you doing? Well, you better have a reason, as you said, a reason why you better have a foundation.

John Clendenning [00:17:45]:
Like, what are you training to do differently? In my area, before I sold my final brick and mortar business, the carpet cleaning one that I’d started 30 years ago, in between everything else, there was 70 other carpet cleaners showing up just in Google maps. There was more than 70 in the yellow Pages. Back when there was yellow pages. Why us? Why did we become number one? Why do people choose us at a higher price? Well, I had to answer that question. If you don’t answer that question, you’re a commodity.

John Wiley [00:18:13]:
Why should I use you?

John Clendenning [00:18:15]:
Yeah. And then your founder story becomes a big part of it. The founder story is, oh, because I want more money. That’s not a founder story. It’s like, my children had allergies. I hired a carpet cleaner, and he’d. Plus this and this. And I solved the problem and realized he’d missed a few things and I really wanted to do a better job or whatever.

John Clendenning [00:18:32]:
There’s always a reason. Tell your founder story. Have your unique sales proposition, as they call it, and all these have your risk reversal guarantee, and then have your brand messaging. If you get those four figured out, your marketing becomes easier, your service delivery becomes easier, your follow up communication becomes easier, who you hire becomes easier, because you’ve built what your foundation is. Right?

John Wiley [00:18:59]:
Love it. Like I said, I always feel like I should be taking notes when I’m talking to you. I will just say this for any audience you’re ever going to have in the future. You’re a very brilliant person, and you have this capacity of thinking outside of any kind of norms and being brilliant. I think you’re super creative about how to get there. But I would always read anything you write. I’d always listen to anything you have to say. And it’s good reminders, too.

John Wiley [00:19:30]:
Every time I talk to you, I start to think about stuff I really could be working harder on.

John Clendenning [00:19:35]:
Yeah, again, thank you. I appreciate that, brother, as always. That’s the reason why we do these podcasts as well, is to try and get people to think at a different level, because you’ve really got to kind of open yourself up to, why did I even start this business? Which is a great segue to that.

John Wiley [00:19:53]:
One question you mentioned about how do you become that leader in the community? Well, you’ve got a message you’re going to have to spread everywhere you can. So you’re going to want to be a part of as many things as you can be. But one of the temptations, let’s see, I’m in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I talked to a lot of service people. One of the temptations is to think, well, whole city is my market. That’s not true. I say, well, what do you do? Carpet cleaning. What’s your target market? Anybody with carpet? Oh, no, it’s not. And what do you mean? I said, so would you love to specialize in house trailers that the carpet is so dirty, it’s black and there’s almost no square footage.

John Wiley [00:20:42]:
It’s just all right down the middle. Do you love doing those? Oh, no, I won’t even take them. Okay, then everything’s not your market. Now. In a bigger area, you don’t want to approach the entire area. You want to think in terms of what you can afford to dominate. If you can’t dominate, then don’t worry about it. So let’s say me and you want to start a carpet cleaning business and we live on the southeast side of a city.

John Wiley [00:21:07]:
Well, then we’re going to start within that five mile radius. And you and I, I’m sure, would even take neighborhoods and dominate one neighborhood at a time. Because when you see the whole field as your territory, you’re going to wear yourself to death down to there’s nothing left. Your mileage, your gasoline and your time of travel. So when we in the carpet cleaning business, we do what’s called the five around, let them know that you’re in the neighborhood and you just clean carpets and your neighbor is really happy. Well, you would want to start from as tight a nucleus as possible, unless you have the funding. What would you even think funding would need to even go after a whole city like this? Million?

John Clendenning [00:21:55]:
Yeah. Seriously.

John Wiley [00:21:57]:
Have the funding to go after the whole city. So you want to stay close to home, pick the nicer neighborhoods and start to dominate something small. That could mean stripping things away.

John Clendenning [00:22:09]:

John Wiley [00:22:12]:
You might be great at spraying the sides of houses and getting the mold off. And you may be great at cleaning dryer vents and all these different things. You’re going to have to strip it all away to one thing. Every company can only own one word or one position. You’re going to want to focus on that. Anything else, you can put in a brochure. But your message has to be, and your website, et cetera. One thing, one focus, one product, because that’s what qualifies you to be a specialist.

John Wiley [00:22:41]:
And everybody loves buying from the specialist.

John Clendenning [00:22:43]:
Yeah, your prices get higher as well.

John Wiley [00:22:46]:
So when you say, how do I make a territory small enough that I can dominate it? Well, that’s going to be geographical. It’s going to be in the services that you offer. What other things? I don’t even know. You could probably add to that list.

John Clendenning [00:22:58]:
Well, I think, again, it relates to your business because you’re having that strategic thought right now. If you’re talking to a plumber, an electrician, a construction company, whatever, you know that the ones that have figured out that they only do luxury renovations on a home, they have a different branding that they want you to put on the side of their vehicles. And that branding matches their business card, their letterhead, their website, their social media. If they’re smart, there is a brand coherence that talks to one ideal customer avatar. And they’re not the ones that are going after doing renovations for businesses. They’re not the ones taking the hair salon and overhauling the hair salon or the coffee shop and doing that because they are a luxury home renovation contractor. Or if you got a plumber, you can have the plumbers that do everybody, but you can also have the plumbers that work with great technicians in the residential environment or ones that work commercially or in factories and industry. Well, a plumber that works with factories and industry, their van, their graphics, their website should really showcase.

John Clendenning [00:24:13]:
That is their ideal customer avatar. They want to put in sprinkler systems. They want to work that kind of idea. They go into factories and do the work. That’s a totally different look and feel than a company that is actually trying to get into your home and have technicians that are courteous inside the home. Not just the blue collar guys that can swear, like the truckers that they meet kind of idea, but the ones that are polite to Mr. And Mrs. Jones in the home and pet the babies or pet the dogs and kiss the babies and all that kind of stuff.

John Clendenning [00:24:43]:
That avatar, that customer ideal target market, tells them who they should go and talk to as well. Like, you’re great at this when you set up booths and give away swag, the naked swag and all that kind of stuff. Because, you know, your client avatar, you’ve gotten to the point where, which shocked me when it first came up was, you know, you don’t even want to do retail. Like, there’s a whole business around wrapping cars and tricking your ride out and all that kind of stuff. But it’s a pain in the butt as well, because your ideal target is people with a commercial business, ideally with fleets, with multiple vehicles that need the whole fleet upgraded from time to time, you know? Exactly. You’ve dumbed it right down. There are signed shops that do everybody. There are vehicle wrap shops all over Indianapolis, and then there’s you that goes, no, we actually know how to do the commercial fleet market better than anyone else.

John Wiley [00:25:37]:
Yeah, that’s from necessity, though. You’ll make decisions if you can’t make them when you’re out of your comfort zone, if you can’t do it, it’ll push you all the way down until you’re in the corner and you have to do it. When you just mentioned that retail versus commercial, I tell my own customer, I’ve been telling them that for 30 years, that it’s hard to be in both worlds. And then what did I do? Not listen to a thing. I grew the brand for both things. That is two completely different business models, and we all know it. B to B and B to C, only different. And I stopped doing retail that goes under the umbrella book of what if you’re dumber? That is a dumb move on my part, but I still did it anyway.

John Wiley [00:26:25]:
I even knew better and I did it.

John Clendenning [00:26:27]:
But how many people in your industry do it? If you look at it, it’s a lot of them. Try and do both. Yeah. And really, you just said again, the gold right there is between what you figured out on your business, who you work with best, what you know best, and why they should use you as a specialty operator in that. No different than the carpet cleaner that shouldn’t be doing pressure washing, because I talk to them all the time. What do you do? Well, here’s the 30 services I do. I’m now into hardwood floor cleaning, and it’s like you’re one guy in a band and you’re not in a town of like 10,000 people where you have to be every trick pony in the business. I always say that if you’re in a small area, work on going wide, but maybe start acquiring and buying out the other businesses and run them as separate brands.

John Clendenning [00:27:15]:
Like, we owned a made service business, but it wasn’t under the carpet cleaning brand. We owned a duct cleaning service. It was originally under the carpet cleaning brand, and it never got more than ten or 15% of revenue. We carved it out, ran it entirely separately, understood it was a different clientele. There’s a little bit of overlap, but there’s a different mindset, different clientele, and we just cross promoted ourselves with ourselves, but ran it as a separate brand, and next thing you know, it becomes, within a year or two, a standalone company that has its own clientele, its own crew, its own staff. And it’s not just sort of like, again, as always, I always say the ugly stepchild is coming along, going, this is just the little thing that we do on the side. No, it became its own thing. So if you’re in a small area, go wide, maybe even own the janitorial supply store, buy it out when the old guy’s ready to retire, stuff like that.

John Clendenning [00:28:05]:
But if you’re in an average size or larger market, go deep on what you’re good at and go deep on that. Hiring people. You’re never going to hire a technician that can do all of the services you want to do. Again, no different than you. You’re going to hire installers that are really good at installing the sides of vans and Q vans and trucks and all of that kind of stuff. When all of a sudden a guy comes in with his motorcycle and you’re having to deal with this sort of like this tiny little Mickey Mouse job and these guys that are just good at doing amazing work in a totally different scale.

John Wiley [00:28:43]:
Absolutely. When you talked about drilling deep, I’ll just add to that horizontal growth versus vertical. And you can teach a class on this. But I just want to mention that horizontal is when you start adding all those things. And that’s called brand extension. Let’s say Snickers decides they’re going to have an almond with dark chocolate and peanut butter inside. And they call it Snickers Snickerdoodle or whatever. That’s brand extension.

John Wiley [00:29:13]:
And it destroys the original brand. And they were doing that many years ago, and now they’re not doing it. They’re Snickers. And it’s a little one or it’s a big one or it’s an ICE cream or whatever. And they stayed true to it because once you make this different candy bar, it ain’t Snickers anymore. It shouldn’t even have the word on it. But corporations, big corporations, also make the same mistake. They think that they can leverage the brand and just add more revenue, and they never respect the fact that they’re destroying the original brand.

John Wiley [00:29:43]:
It takes five to seven years, but they will do it. They’ll tear it down, and then it’s all got to get rebuilt. And then I read a book called Focus by Alice, and out of that whole book, there’s one thing that stands in mind. When you go vertical, you’re looking for opportunities to sell the same product or to the same avatar, like you say, which I love that way of phrasing it. He said that a lot of entrepreneurial thinkers believe that if they don’t take advantage of these horizontal aspects, that they’re missing out on opportunities. And he said, I promise you, I guarantee you, if you only look vertically, there’s so many different opportunities you haven’t actually acknowledged yet or you haven’t been able to see them. And he said, you’ll have plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities in that vertical shaft. Just go deeper.

John Wiley [00:30:37]:
And, you know, when I read that, I thought, okay, I sell graphics to HVAC people. Can I tell you how many there are in a city? I bought a list one time. I said, you’re kidding me. There’s only 400?

John Clendenning [00:30:48]:

John Wiley [00:30:48]:
I thought, thousands of them and there’s only 400. Okay, then I’ll test myself. I challenge myself. Do you know who those 400 people are?

John Clendenning [00:30:56]:

John Wiley [00:30:57]:
Where every single one of them buys their graphics and which competitor they use. Oh, hell no. But I’m going to go after all these other industries too. Well, then strip those away and focus on the thing. It’s just sort of like the neighborhood marketing. You’re stripping it away till it’s a small enough thing you can dominate. If I had done that back in 2007, I would be so much so way out rich and successful because I would have just started with HVAC people. Hey, I only do work for people like you, HVAC home Services.

John Wiley [00:31:34]:
And then I would have added a home service at a time until I got it out to where I can make a living or whatever.

John Clendenning [00:31:39]:
Yeah, and now you’re creating case studies.

John Wiley [00:31:41]:
Because you show backwards and strip things away. We don’t do boats, we don’t do anything retail, we don’t do racing, and we don’t focus on semi trailers. Can I do them? Sure. But you get in a semi trailer market, it’s a whole different group of people, different world, and I got no business being in it. So then you come back. So what we all need to be able to do at some point is clearly define what our market actually is. Then when we know what it is, then we can figure out how to dominate it. If we can’t dominate all of it, then we need to dominate one part of town of it.

John Clendenning [00:32:15]:
Yeah. And the other thing that comes out of that, which is a really good direction to go into, is you think. So there is the dream 100 Chet Holmes book. And really Russell Brunson made with his expert secrets traffic, one of the two of them, one of his secret series talking about the dream 100 influencers. Right. So if you know who your target client is, your target avatar, you also know who also collects that person in their world. So, for example, what you’re talking about with the HVAC companies? Well, who else sells to HVAC companies? So now you can have a conversation and a referral partnership with the supply house that supplies the HVAC supplies, have that do a branding class that people can come into and learn from for free. And now you’ve got a captive audience in carpet cleaning.

John Clendenning [00:33:12]:
If you know the area of town and the ideal customer and their income level, they live in certain pockets around town. If you also notice, there are certain real estate agents, there are certain interior designers, there are certain made companies and landscaping companies and all that also work in those areas of town. So you can go after the same customer, or you can forge a relationship with these aggregators of your clientele and create that relationship. So how much of your marketing should be after the new customer and how much of your marketing and time and effort as a business owner should be going after the influencers and the strategic partners that can get you in front of one to many more of those ideal customers because they already have their ear, they already have their trust, and now you get the endorsed trust. So we used to do that to earn a ton of that.

John Wiley [00:34:08]:
Yeah, you’d have to earn it. And then another thing, too, to remember is if you’re trying to get that person, you’re building a relationship with them. The best way for them to give you referrals is you start getting them referrals first.

John Clendenning [00:34:22]:
Yeah, for sure.

John Wiley [00:34:23]:
Because most people, unless they’re psychopaths or sociopaths, most people believe in it and still have a sense of.

John Clendenning [00:34:30]:

John Wiley [00:34:31]:
And sense of fairness means, well, hey, this guy over here has been sending me some leads and he’s looking for this kind of business. And they’re going to actively want to do the same thing for you to help.

John Clendenning [00:34:43]:
Yeah. Robert Cialdini in the book influence calls that the law of reciprocity is that if you give somebody something, they want to give it back. And they tell a funny story about the Harry Krishners at the LA airport. And decades ago, seventy s, I guess it was. And they were a bunch of shaved headed hippies that were losing money. They were going broke and starving. And then they started handing out flowers. And everybody that walked by, they handed them a flower, and people felt they just walk over and hand them a flower.

John Clendenning [00:35:17]:
And next thing you know, their donations went through the roof. They started making millions. Interestingly enough, the little caveat to that story is they also had one person set up, they had garbages set up about 20 paces away. And one person would go and grab the flowers out of the garbages because people would grab the flower, donate and go, I don’t need the flower, and throw it out. And they go back and grab the flowers and hand them out again. They actually made a business model out of it. But it is power of reciprocity.

John Wiley [00:35:44]:
You walk into a car dealership and the first thing they’re going to do is say, walk back here with me in would you like a cup of coffee? And then they’ll start dropping quarters or whatever in the coke machine. I want to buy you a Coke. Or however they say it, I hate that because it is, nothing is harder than to walk away from the deal from somebody just bought you a coke.

John Clendenning [00:36:07]:
Yeah, but they know, again, they’ve learned a little. But think of that in your own business. Like, again, anybody listening to this call, think of ways that when you arrive at a customer’s home, how can you bring them a gift? Right? So one of my good friends, Sean Barrett, used to run a great carpet cleaning company. At the end of his street, he had a flower shop. So he would actually get yellow roses spray painted with the name of his business. His technicians, if they had three jobs that day, would grab three roses. Four jobs, four roses, whatever, and put them in the van beside him and hand those out. We, every Saturday job we did, we’d call the customer on the way over and say, can we bring you a coffee? I’m stopping anyways.

John Clendenning [00:36:45]:
What can I get you? Right? And those things, when you come back to do a reclean, the customer maybe wasn’t happy. You better be bringing a gift. We called it our recipe for recovery. We would bring them a gift basket with a little dip chiller and a bunch of stuff in it, maybe about five, $7 from the dollar store built up. But it’s like with a little picture of a dog with a big sad face on it. I’m so sorry, ma’am, that we had to come back. I’m here to solve the problem. Anything you can think of in reciprocity as part of your marketing.

John Wiley [00:37:15]:
Yeah, that’s brilliant.

John Clendenning [00:37:16]:
So how do you reach out to these interior designers and these real estate agents and carpet stores? You take them out for lunch, you meet them, you chat them, you take them out for lunch, you offer to clean their house for free. Let me give you $400 worth of cleaning. You don’t know me yet. I want to show you my unique program. Have a different way of cleaning. Have a client experience that you have crafted and worked through. Rolling out your red carpet, putting your booties on, whatever it is, all of those things, and show it off to this person. Have your risk reversal guarantee.

John Clendenning [00:37:47]:
So if they refer you, they know full well that if the customer they referred isn’t happy, they’re not only going to get the cleaning done again, they’re going to also get their money back if they’re still not happy and you’re willing to pay for anybody else who can get it cleaner, like, you’ve got a 200% money back guarantee. Of course you should refer us, but don’t even refer us till I clean your own home. I want to get to know you. I want to take you out for lunch. Then I want to come to your home and clean it. I want you. And then you can try us out on one of your best customers. I want to go through this process so that you feel comfortable that we’re the company you should refer.

John Clendenning [00:38:19]:
I want to start building, building that relationship and have that planned. Right.

John Wiley [00:38:24]:
You can tell people that, but they still have to take the effort to do it.

John Clendenning [00:38:28]:
They have to. Yeah, you have to have a plan.

John Wiley [00:38:30]:
All of those ideas are so brilliant, but you could tell them to do it, but the effort still has to be made to do it. And that decides. That’s all about how bad do they want to win. And when you’re doing the things that you just suggested, you have no competition. No, no one else is doing that. I guarantee you, if you’re a person and you got 500 carpet cleaners in the city, you’re the only one doing all of that.

John Clendenning [00:38:56]:
Well, I largely out of necessity, as you said, you don’t know what you don’t know. And again, anybody who knows my story is, like, I started in a town of 30,000 people that I had just moved to because my sister and brother in law owned a computer store, and I rented the broom closet. I didn’t know anybody. I just started. And back in the day, 1995, so the yellow pages were the only way. There was no Internet back then, so I started in May. It didn’t come out till next March. So I’m on my own.

John Clendenning [00:39:23]:
And realized after the first month, well, yay. Friends and family are exhausted because I don’t know any. And I made $500, $600 my first month. By the end of the first year, I had made $100,000 in sales. The end of the first year, 1995, town of 30,000 people. And the other cleaner in town was the son of the founder of the business, and he was a local hockey hero, and everybody knew him. And they ran the restoration and cleaning company in a small town, and I was shy. I had never done presentations.

John Clendenning [00:39:53]:
I skipped out of school. So I played a game with myself. I put on the shirt and tie. I went up and down the street. I handed out stuff like the main street. I met the owners of the shoe stores and the printing shops and all that kind of stuff, who still, when I sold the business 27 years later, they weren’t just the clients anymore. Their kids were the clients. The stores they owned were still the clients because they had met me.

John Clendenning [00:40:20]:
We’d done great stuff. They’d said, oh, by the way, you should join the chamber. Oh, by the way, you should join the bed and Breakfast association. On and on and on. And then you walk in the door of the hotels in town, because it was a bit of a theater town a little bit in the summer, and enough times just showing up. Hey, got any spots and stains I can take out? Got an area you want me to do that the other guy didn’t maybe get to or didn’t do? Well, I’d like to be your number two and you just keep showing up till eventually. I remember the daughter of the owner, Diane Drummond, just took a liking to this young kid showing up to do the stuff and gave me a little bit of cleaning to do. And next thing you know, I’m cleaning $5,000 worth of hotel hallways.

John Clendenning [00:40:59]:
And she’s promoting me to her mother, who owns property all over town and is the head of the hotel association of the town and stuff like that. If you didn’t show up the first time, you didn’t get any of what’s going to happen after. If you showed up in a pair of jeans and a t shirt and your tongue of your shoes hanging out and your hat on backwards, you wouldn’t have got it anyways. Even if you’re amazing person, you got to show up. Well, you got to show up branded. They look out the door, they’ve got to see the van that matches the same conversation you’re having. The side of my van said home of the 200% money back guarantee. Right.

John Clendenning [00:41:37]:
It was the vinyl graphics we got from you and got installed over here. Hundreds and hundreds of miles, 1000 miles away, whatever we are. Because it was like, yeah, we need all vehicles to represent. If we’re going after residential, we better have homes and kids and dogs and all that on the van because that tells the story in the neighborhood and the messaging. If we were going after mostly commercial, our van should show commercial buildings on it, right? It really should. It should be part of the branding. But you do have to put yourself out there, deliver an experience, wear the uniforms, all of that kind of stuff, and really decide that you’re going to run a well intentioned company. And then we’re all lazy fuckers, know, sorry to swear people, but we’re lazy as we need to be and can be.

John Clendenning [00:42:30]:
So can you make it easier to do it right than to do it wrong? I didn’t like phoning people and booking time to have a lunch, so Heather, I just gave her the list and go, hey, here’s the real estate agents. Hey, here’s the interior designers. Hey, here’s all the carpet stores. Book me like, call four or five a week and at least get me one booking a week between my normal appointments. I’ll take them up for lunch on Thursday this week, Wednesday next week, whatever I’ve got some time and try and get somebody to sit across from me at the restaurant on the right.

John Wiley [00:42:59]:

John Clendenning [00:42:59]:
And because if I was left up to me to do know, maybe I’d get a bunch of no’s or whatever. Heather just checks it off a list and she goes back and calls the list again. And she goes back and calls the list again. So anyways, you got to think of those terms as well. How can you make it easier to do it right than to do it wrong?

John Wiley [00:43:18]:
Because you’ve got, like that too, April, and you have to have that opposite personality to make it complementary and complete the whole picture. It really does make a difference. But you were mentioning some things about branding and how everything you do has to support that brand and that brand should represent a position. So you decide right away. I’ve met so many carpet cleaners in my life. So how are you going to be successful? Oh, I’m going to cut everybody’s prices. I’m going to take it off. And you’re like, oh, God, I don’t even know if I got the heart to tell him, you’re going to win the race to the bottom, probably first.

John Wiley [00:44:01]:
You’re probably going to come in first. So when you start walking through these decisions, they’re like little forks in the road. Well, we used to call them dusters back in the day. You get $1,000 day and they’re the houses that are like the house on the hill. You go in and they look clean. You’re like, why am I even here cleaning? But they want it cleaned and so you do it anyway. Do we want $1,000 days with one job or $1,000 days with two jobs? I know so many people that would have to figure out how to do six or seven or eight jobs in one day, real long days, to get to that $1,000.

John Clendenning [00:44:42]:
And they’re killing themselves and their equipment and their technicians.

John Wiley [00:44:46]:
So I’m a firm believer. In what position do you want to own in the mind? I believe that marketing is war and that part of the reason why I love it so much, because I like winning and I take the losses right on the chin. Right. You don’t always win, but sometimes you do, and it feels good because you’re getting better at it. Marketing is war. Every single battle of that war takes place in the mind of the prospect. And you have to own a word or a position or something in their mind because that’s the only way they’re going to remember you or get used to you. Or whatever.

John Wiley [00:45:24]:
It’s like all the things that you said, you bought a position in that first lady’s mind by showing up all the time that wasn’t free because it still cost you to show up every time.

John Clendenning [00:45:36]:

John Wiley [00:45:37]:
And a lot of us that start a service business, we don’t have startup capital. And so what I see a lot of times is, for some reason, I’m going to pick on the guys, but it’s almost always the guy that decides, man, I’m going to start a carpet cleaning business, and we’re going to make this much money. Their wife is wanting to be supported, but she’s thinking like, oh, yeah, you got this great big, we’re going to attack. We’re going to go that direction, but tell me how that’s going to happen. And as guys, we’re like, well, it’s just going to happen. But a lot of the wives are like, well, can we think this through? Because what he’s risking belongs to both of them. And that’s almost always going to be home equity or cashed in 401 or some kind of retirement plan, because his idea is so foolproof that we’re going to take all of this money. I never can forget this one carpet cleaner that came into the shop, and I knew he had done all that.

John Wiley [00:46:42]:
A lot of the wives are like, they work, too, and they’re, like, trying to be supportive, but they really want to know what’s at the end of this rainbow of yours. And I don’t mean to sound sexist, but it just seems like the ones that want to go cling crap out of carpets and be a plumber or an HVAC person. So I’m definitely not trying to sound sexist here, but we don’t listen to our spouses enough, probably, because we just know it’s going to work and we’re going to throw everything we have into it. I asked him what he’s going to do for marketing, and he said that he had spent his last $3,000 on Bow pack. And you know what broke my heart when he said that. It hurt when he said that, because I knew how fucked he was going to be because six months later, he was selling his equipment, selling the van, and getting the graphics taken off that.

John Clendenning [00:47:35]:
I just put, because he’s putting all his eggs in one basket, hoping for that one thing to hit. I’ve had people go to me, John, back in the mid 2000s, even when a kind of word got around a little bit that, hey, this guy hasn’t been in the truck since he was 26 years old, 27 years old, two years in the truck, fucking out in a franchise network at the time, because I didn’t rely on the franchise to market. A lot of people get into a franchise lazy. Hey, they’re going to do all the marketing for me or provide all the material. They must have got this figured out. At the end of the day, people buy from people. I learned quickly I had to be the people they bought from. Right kind of idea.

John Clendenning [00:48:12]:
And I didn’t want to be the guy in the truck and also trying to run the business at the same time. So I had to get busy enough to put a guy in the truck, still make enough money to put a second guy in a second truck, and grow out of that town of 30,000 people and all that kind of stuff. So the word started getting around a little bit that in circles that, hey, John’s got something on the go here that he’s figured out, and I get the call all the time. John, what flyer are you using that’s working? What yellow page ad are you using that’s working? What’s that thing that you and I’m going, if I could find a flyer, a flyer, or a yellow page ad or whatever, that’s going to generate me 1020, 30, 50 inquiries a month, and I’m going to sell all of them because they just love me. It’s so good. You find that for me? I haven’t found that yet, but I can start telling you the 30 things that we’ve got locked in place, including scripts to answer every single phone call, because we sucked at booking. So we started tracking booking rates and got better and better and better at scripts, learned a little bit about script writing and neuro linguistic programming and influence, and went all of a sudden, oh, my gosh, we’re now even Sheila in the office at the time before Heather, she’s now booking not at 50%, but at 70%, just by changing the words coming out of her mouth and the order in which we talk to people and stuff like that, and how we start following up with them and then how we market our database. So again, those people with the off white carpets, the off white upholstery, the off white dog living up at top of the hill that you go, why am I even here? To clean.

John Clendenning [00:49:40]:
Interestingly enough, you send them the right message, they will clean three or four times a year. The person who needs to clean three or four times a year, lucky if you see them once every two years.

John Wiley [00:49:50]:
That’s right. And they’re really dirty when you get back in there.

John Clendenning [00:49:53]:
They’re really dirty when you get back in there for a deal and looking for a deal.

John Wiley [00:49:57]:
There’s difference between acquisition customers. I’ve talked to people that have been in the carpet cleaning business for a couple of decades, and they’ll tell me they do everything about pack. And I’m like, okay, tell me how that works. Well, what would happen if you got out of it? I can’t get out of it. Why is that? Because my customers find me there.

John Clendenning [00:50:21]:
Your customers?

John Wiley [00:50:23]:
You don’t want your customers finding a carpet cleaner. Even you in the Valpac, you don’t want that. And that’s where you were so good at leaving things behind as gifts, because you don’t want them to get you confused with another person, mailing them, calling.

John Clendenning [00:50:40]:
Them, leaving stuff behind, having the fridge magnet on the fridge, all this money.

John Wiley [00:50:45]:
To get them, and you got to work to keep them.

John Clendenning [00:50:48]:
Oh, you do? Yeah. And the better, you’re in front of them again, your van drives past in the neighborhood, if it’s a white van with a magnet on the side of it. And I’ve talked to guys going, well, when I can finally afford it, I’m going to get the van wrapped. And I’m going, well, the next three jobs you do that get you the first couple of $1,000 in, that’s when you’re getting your van wrapped, because that van is going to generate you the next 10,000, $20,000 in the next coming month or two alone. Without it, you’re always behind the eight ball. You’re in the right neighborhood, and people look out the window, they see the van. It’s like, oh, that’s the.

John Wiley [00:51:24]:
I’ve had so many funny conversations about the magnet. Like, let’s say they’re real estate. And they say, well, I’ve been thinking about getting a wrap on my car and everything, but I don’t know if I really want to. I said, what are you using now? A magnet. Okay. Why a magnet? Why a magnet? Well, because I don’t really want to be representing my company when I go out to eat. You’d think that people wouldn’t notice you’re a real estate agent at a restaurant.

John Clendenning [00:51:51]:

John Wiley [00:51:51]:
And then I asked them, like, you, sure you just don’t want to take it off when you’re sitting in front of a strip club or something.

John Clendenning [00:51:56]:

John Wiley [00:51:57]:
That’s a joke.

John Clendenning [00:51:58]:
Yeah, but what is that? Yeah, you should be representing your company when you’re out having, I mean, if you’re the carpet cleaner. And you can say, hey, is the manager around? Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, this food is great, by the way, who cleans your carpets? Right?

John Wiley [00:52:10]:

John Clendenning [00:52:10]:
If you’re in business, you got to be a little bold.

John Wiley [00:52:12]:
So it’s like conversations just blow me away. Being in business has just been this really wonderful journey. And I’ve actually had that conversation several times. Make it look like you’re just giving that business a try.

John Clendenning [00:52:30]:
Yeah, exactly. You’ve got to be all in. You’ve got to be willing to learn. You’ve got to be willing to take some Tylenol or Advil and sit down and go through some training exercises on business building, not on the cleaning is the cleaning. That’s easy. You can train almost anybody to do the service. You can go to an IRCC event and within a weekend learn the service. Go practice at home and your friends and family.

John Clendenning [00:52:55]:
You now know it. You’ve got to run a business every single day. And you’ve got to learn how to be a business owner and think through the marketing of the business, because you don’t get a customer until this whole, oh, I just get all my customers from word of mouth and stuff like that. I get it. I’ve never seen a business grow beyond one or two vehicles all word of mouth. And there’s still been some learning about uniforms and branding and stuff like that that they’re discounting, that they’ve actually done a bit of. Now, if you can take that and run with that, you can be ten years in business, 15 years in business. Like a good friend of mine, Vance, who works maybe 5 hours a month on his business and the rest of it is run by systems and operations.

John Clendenning [00:53:40]:
And he’s gone off to do something else and makes the full time income from his business, plus a second business. He could go golfing if he wanted. He could retire and hire a manager, whatever. But again, you can build systems to run your business where you just need to watch the systems and again, be the voice and the face of the company. You can grow to that point, but you can’t do that just by hoping a prayer.

John Wiley [00:54:06]:
When we talk about people starting a business, they should definitely talk to me and you. It’d be a five minute conversation, I promise. But I have been wrap forums and things and people say, well, I’m struggling and I need to learn more about marketing and can you offer me suggestions? I said, yeah, and I’ve learned to shorten this conversation. Yeah, there’s these three or four books that really help me and they’re like, oh. Then I learned to ask a question first. Do you read books?

John Clendenning [00:54:37]:
Yes. That’s a good question.

John Wiley [00:54:38]:
Even on in audio. And they say, no, my question to you is, have you ever seen somebody make it in business that cannot teach themselves via audiobook or a book?

John Clendenning [00:54:52]:
Not at all. In fact, anybody who’s successful in business, you ask, what are you reading right now? And they’ve got a list. Oh, I just finished this. It was great. And I’ve got this one on weight.

John Wiley [00:55:02]:
And they say, well, I don’t read books. You’re screwed.

John Clendenning [00:55:05]:
Yes. Where’s the info coming from? How are you going to know otherwise, right.

John Wiley [00:55:10]:
Did you decide to get this business because you’re a felon?

John Clendenning [00:55:13]:

John Wiley [00:55:14]:
How many people, you ever wonder that, you know that when you start a carpet cleaning business, let’s say, or a wrap business, and you show up and you selling your stuff and I can do this and that. Here’s how much. Nobody does a background check on you.

John Clendenning [00:55:28]:
Yeah, exactly.

John Wiley [00:55:29]:
So it dawned on me the other day that I wonder how many people, like, I’m talking to these people and I’m like, man, something just never adds up. And it dawned on me that a lot of times people can start a service business because they are unhirable on paper. They can’t get a job. Now, I’m not saying they don’t deserve a second chance or whatever, but some of them aren’t good influences in any business.

John Clendenning [00:55:54]:
Yeah. There’s a bit of self discovery and self reflection there. Yeah.

John Wiley [00:56:00]:
You’re going to have to learn how to learn. And that’s the one thing I get and I tell my kids is when you’re trying to get good grades in high school. Yeah. You’re not going to use 99% of that crap, honestly, but you have exercised your brain to the point where your brain is good at learning. You’re learning how to learn, and that’s the habit we got to get into because we just can’t make it with what we know.

John Clendenning [00:56:27]:
No, you’ve got.

John Wiley [00:56:28]:
No, the new yellow pages is Google. Well, everybody buys ad space on Google and then what does it just happen?

John Clendenning [00:56:37]:
The new Google is AI. Like, AI is going to take over Google search within the next two to three years. Again, my industry has to go, okay, what’s next? Right? So I’m fascinated by that.

John Wiley [00:56:49]:
I’ve always looked, I didn’t even know.

John Clendenning [00:56:55]:
Yeah, there’s always a next you’ve got to keep an eye out for. You’re either going to be the lagger or you’re going to be the leader. And it’s probably better to be the leader because you’re going to be ahead of the crowd, moving your business forward faster than anyone else.

John Wiley [00:57:09]:
It’s harder to do as you get older, too. I’m getting ready to turn 63, and I can’t do the all nighters like I did hundreds of all nighters. Growing the business. I bet you did, too.

John Clendenning [00:57:20]:

John Wiley [00:57:21]:
So everything that we’re learning now, I really get tired. By evening time. I’m tired.

John Clendenning [00:57:29]:
Yep. So hopefully by this, yeah. You’re hiring people that are ahead of that and going, hey, by the way, John or John, this is what’s coming next. What do you think? Well, here’s what we should aim at. You’ve got young team members, full know piss and vinegar, as they say. Keep you up on that. So I think this is a good place to wrap it up. We’re at the top of the hour.

John Clendenning [00:57:49]:
I’d like to keep it in there. What would you say? I always like to kind of end the call. This was a great conversation around a lot of business topics and kind of went in all different ways. And I can’t wait to hear what the crowd thinks about the listeners. Definitely put in the comments. Wherever you’re watching or hearing this, your thoughts on this and any insights that anything that maybe triggered or sparked as well. Love to read those. But what would be a final piece of advice to the listeners who are running or looking to start a service business? Doesn’t have to be carpet clean, but just they’re looking to start a business.

John Clendenning [00:58:21]:
What would be sort of a final piece of advice encapsulating a lot of the years of wisdom that you’ve got that we just talked about that we’d say gives them a direction.

John Wiley [00:58:34]:
Boy, that’s a loaded question. All I could think of is be good or be good at it. That’s not advice at all. If you focus on being the best at your technical trade, that definitely will not help you succeed. You could be mediocre and be the best marketer, and you will go so much further. You have to realize that the most important job you do isn’t what you do, it is marketing. The most important job you do is marketing. It doesn’t matter what your technical skill, you, if you could divide and emeth will teach you this.

John Wiley [00:59:15]:
If you read books by Michael Gerber, you have to think of your business as departments because you have to learn what a business is. I wasn’t a business person. I thought I was, but I really wasn’t I was a technician. They didn’t know anything about being in business. Marketing. If you look at that as one of the jobs in your business, that’s the most important job. So if you think that you’re going to don’t waste time trying to spend six months searching out which is the best van Mount unit or which is the best tools to use, you can overemphasize that stuff. Just start with something good, be good at it.

John Wiley [00:59:54]:
But you’re going to have to learn marketing best because here’s my piece of advice. There is no reality. There is only your perception of reality.

John Clendenning [01:00:05]:
Very good.

John Wiley [01:00:05]:
First thing you want to understand is there’s no reality. And your prospects and customers, there is no reality there either. There is only the perception of reality. So it doesn’t matter if you’re the best, but you better be good at selling yourself as being the best in their perception. It is all a perception game.

John Clendenning [01:00:25]:
Brilliant. No, again, exactly where your entire journey and history have gotten to. That is a really succinct point to kind of end it. And I am going to tell everybody I did not preempt this, even though I always say that you are a marketer of your services first and foremost. And I try and drill that home. I have not had this conversation with John today to say, hey, by the way, make sure you say that.

John Wiley [01:00:49]:
That was literally, you’re very brilliant. I’m so proud that you chose to be my friend. I’m very proud that for your audience, I do use a lot of John’s services because I do try to do as much as I can myself. But there are some things you’re going to have to farm out to him because you can’t be good at those things. He’s years ahead of you and the things that you cannot become proficient at. Now, you need to hire that service out, but things you can do yourself are going to be all the basics that will require you not to be lazy. Mail, postcards, mail something. Mail, a handwritten note.

John Wiley [01:01:27]:
Go to networking events. Go knock door to door. Well, I’m really shy. I don’t want to go door to door. Do you have a lot of money? No. Well, I don’t know what to tell you, but there’s so many things that I have enjoyed learning and I do learn from John, but I still hire him to do a lot of things for me. Like right now, you’re managing my pay per click, my website, my Google, all kinds of stuff because I will never catch up to you. And there’s all these other things I still have to do.

John Wiley [01:01:57]:
So you’re not going to be able to do it all. So figure out what you can do. Hire the rest of it out. But, yeah, you and I have been friends for over two decades, and I feel like, and this is another piece of advice, but you know who your friend is. When you can text them anytime, day or night, and if you’re in trouble, they would answer the phone, or they would answer if they’re able to do it. A lot of people say, well, who’s willing to pick up the phone on the other end? That’s your real relationships. And I just really am proud that, not just to know you, but I’m proud that we’re friends.

John Clendenning [01:02:37]:
I appreciate that by extension, because I look ditto, man. Absolutely the same. So appreciate it. I thank you so much. Hopefully everybody got a bunch out of this I definitely want to hear. And I will share all the comments back with you as well. But thanks for jumping on today and I really appreciate it.

John Wiley [01:02:56]:
Thank you.

John Clendenning [01:02:57]:
Bye, everybody.

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