You’ve started your drug-testing business. That means you either bought a franchise or an existing business, or you created your business from scratch.
You’ve done your due diligence by determining what your startup costs are. You’ve researched the marketplace and have written a business plan. You’ve received the training you need to do your job, have your supplies, and have at least one employee on board to work the business with you.
Take a deep breath, and take all this in. You’ve done a lot. But don’t sit around for too long. You’ve got a business to get off the ground.
You need steady clients to form a foundation for your business. You can take the random clients that might come into your business or call you to come to them (if you are a mobile business as well). But your main income will come from your regular repeat clients.
The good news is that there are many opportunities to find clients. People need drug-testing services for a variety of reasons; such as pre-employment, return-to-work, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, and random. Between 55 percent and 68 percent of small businesses drug test their employees, according to Quest Diagnostics.
So get out your business plan, and study the part where you researched the marketplace to determine whether there were customers in your area. You might have a general idea that there are, but now’s the time to make a list of potential customers. You’ll need to make sales calls to let them know about your business and how it can benefit their business.
It is important for your new drug testing business to establish who your customers will be, what products and services you are offerings, what are your prices and how will you promote your business. Do you have your lab and MRO accounts set up?
PRACTICE YOUR SALES PITCH
Once you know which businesses you will call on, practice your sales spiel with your business partner, spouse or friend. You’ll need to have an “elevator speech” to generate interest in your business. This type of speech should take no more than 30 seconds (about the time of an average elevator ride) to explain your business—what you do, what problem you solve, how you differ from your competition, and why the person you’re speaking with should be interested.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Shark Tank, you know that the business presenters do what it takes to make their presentation interesting. You don’t need props, but you do need to be careful not to bore people. Stating a statistic can work.
Maybe your elevator speech will include information on how many small businesses use a drug-testing service (between 55 percent and 68 percent) or that the positivity rate for drug tests is on the rise, which suggests that illicit drug use is becoming more common. You may want to include the words safety and healthy employees in your elevator speech.
It’s important to keep your elevator speech close to 30 seconds. You can say something memorable during that time, but if you go on much longer than that, you’ll probably lose, maybe even alienate your audience. Once you’ve generated interest, you can go into more detail about your business and how you could work with this potential client.
If there is no interest now, perhaps there will be in the future, so make sure you leave your business card that you’ve made up for just these occasions.
First impressions count, do not try to sell an individual you have just met your full line of drug testing services and products.
Besides cold-calling clients based on the list you’ve made, start networking. Join the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). You’ll get a discount to attend the annual conference, and you’ll get tools to help you market your business, including being listed in DATIA’s online directory.
You also might wish to join your local chamber of commerce. This is another avenue for you to meet your fellow small-business owners. Use the services offered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help you grow your business.
Contact the drug-testing laboratories and the third-party administrators (TPAs) in your area. A TPA usually works directly with employers. Some TPAs might be full-service shops, but others might not collect specimens, which is where you would come in. Let the labs and TPAs know about your business and what you do. You might land a contract working for them, almost like a subcontractor, to collect specimens for the clients they work with.
Now that you have a whole host of potential (and maybe even current) clients, you’ll need a system to stay organized. Consider using a customer relationship management system (CRM).
This database technology can help you manage your customer relations throughout the entire customer life cycle. It will help you stay organized regarding your sales, and a CRM system can help you with customer service and technical support. The recommended system of Joe Reilly & Associates Inc, consultants for the drug-testing industry, is Act! But there are many CRM systems to choose from.
Here’s an example of what a CRM system can do for you: Say you met with a potential client who requested that you get back with them in six months. Using your CRM system, you could input this potential client’s information—including what you already discussed—and then be alerted when it’s time to make the follow-up call.
Joe Reilly & Associates Can Take Your Business to the Next Level
Joe Reilly & Associates Inc can give you the specialized training you’ll need to get started in the drug-testing business.
Joe Reilly has been in the business since 1993. He has served for nine years on the Board of Directors of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) and as Chairman of the Board for four of those years.
Joe is a recognized national expert in the drug-testing field who has assisted hundreds of employers and drug-testing companies by providing expert training and consulting. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business grow. Call 321-622-2020 or email [email protected].