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What Does Your 'First Impression Packaging' Reflect?

With the very first contact you make with the prospect for your services you are being evaluated via microscope. Make sure your prospects and clients will like what they see when they take a close-up look at your company.

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

I have several flagpoles on my property and this harsh winter weather has torn the flags to bits. So, I recently ordered three new flags in a package deal through The flags, of identical size and weight, were each from a different vendor; let's call them Contractor A, Contractor B and Contractor C.

As shown in the photo, the flags came in three distinctly different types of packaging. Contractor A's flag, which came in the small envelope on the left, was stuffed haphazardly into a container much too small for it. The bulging envelope was slightly torn and the product was lucky to arrive intact. Although the envelope appeared to have been printed via computer, it was done very poorly.

The envelope containing the flag that came from Contractor C, shown on the right side, was in a container much larger than required. It was also made of a nonrecyclable plastic material, which will make no points in our largely environmental region of the Pacific NW. My address was printed onto a stick-on computer label, which is fine; however the label was affixed quite crookedly.


By far best of the three in my opinion was Contractor B's envelope and packaging, which is the one in the center. S/he had shipped using a label from, which looked good and saved their company a few cents on postage. Plus, the envelope was correctly sized for the flag inside it. Contractor B's packaging made a much better impression than either of the other two.

The point of my example is to encourage all of you contractors out there to consider what the recipients of your brochure, proposal and other promotional materials have as an impression of your company. In this very competitive economic climate you need to make sure that every impression you make is a good one.

Beginning with your initial contact on through signing your agreement for services – and continuing on to your follow-up after the sale and in the months that follow – you need to be sure that each and every contact with your customer is one that builds your relationship up and not the opposite.

Are your logo and your business slogan on every piece of literature in your company? When you send an e-mail, no matter who in your company it comes from, does it come from an address in your domain name instead of originating from Gmail, Yahoo, MSN or other? When you transmit information about something seen on the client's property and it may result in new work for you, do you contact them via e-mail so you have documentation of their response?

Do you make it easy for someone to find your brochure by making it available via a prominent link on your website? Does your website list all your company affiliations, from your Chamber of Commerce to WorldSweeper? For that matter, do you have a website? Today, there is no question you are losing out on business if you do not have at least a one-page website.

Unless you could answer a resounding "Yes" to each of the questions above, I strongly encourage you to take steps to make some needed changes in your business. Today, there is less room than ever before for error, inefficiency or unprofessionalism. As a final example about the three contractors I began this article with, astonishingly none of them used the opportunity to include a business card or other marketing materials in the package. Even though I had made my purchase online, none of them supplied me with a website address or catalog.

The recent National Pavement Exposition is the first one I can remember where all of the sweeper manufacturers had something new to offer. For TYMCO it was their new single engine model 210h; Elgin previewed the coming modularization of their product line; Schwarze Industries unveiled an entirely new parking lot sweeper line; Stuart Amos showcased their new 6-yard regenerative air street sweeper and 5 yard mechanical machine; and, Nitehawk stressed the new hydraulic system in their Raptor line. All-in-all, quite the show.

Our NPE coverage, which will encompass several seminars and 13 product showcase videos, will debut March 14th and continue throughout the rest of the month.

As always, the articles in this issue are designed to help you find crucial insight for your business. My hope is you find they all help in one way or the other. If you have ideas about articles you'd like to see in the future, please let us know that, as well. Our goal is to write about what you want to read. And, if you have a sweeping-related need please contact us about it. We'll try to assist in any way we can.

I routinely reference articles and studies, provide information from my "Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business" manual and put contractors and city officials in touch with others who may have answers to their informational needs. By the same token, if you have a story you can provide, additional information on any of the topics we've covered – or need more details – please let me know. I'll be glad to help if at all possible.

By the way, if you don't have a listing yet in our Contractor Locator section, you are missing out on what is arguably the best advertising value in sweeping. At the same time, you'll be helping to keep online and active.

Good Sweeping!
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