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By Harrell Kerkhoff, Maintenance Sales News Editor

No matter the business, no matter the industry, 2020 has been a trying year for most company owners, employees and clients. The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on the year, and many questions remain about 2021. Despite current hardships being felt by many people and companies involved in the jan/san industry, the good news is, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the blow, while also preparing for the post-COVID-19 world.

Jim Pancero

In a recent presentation, sales expert Jim Pancero, of Jim Pancero Inc. (www.pancero.com), discussed two realities to selling today — no matter the industry.

First, it’s going to take some time before the effects of COVID-19 finally wear off; and secondly, selling and buying today are currently going through a strong cultural shift. He recommended that business owners work hard at stabilizing their companies over the long haul, and to identify ways to stay in business through the next 12 months.

“In the early days (of the pandemic), many people were saying, ‘By fall, things will be back to normal,’” Pancero said. “Well, that’s not the current concensus. The question now asked is, ‘Will life ever get back to normal?’ My response is, ‘yes.’ If you visit history, the global 1918 flu pandemic (which lasted into 1920) was followed by the Roaring Twenties — a period of great economic prosperity.

“After the current pandemic finally subsides, there is a good chance life will come back strong. However, the question remains, ‘What do we do in the meantime?’ The reality is, this pandemic is going to continue for awhile.” 

Pancero noted as well certain cultural changes that have taken place, related to overall business, since the pandemic’s onset. For one, more business people are using advanced technology to communicate.

“As a sales person, if I were to say one year ago, ‘Let’s set up a Zoom call,’ you probably would have thought, ‘Is he too cheap to get on an airplane and see me?’” Pancero said. “Today, everybody has been pushed and forced into understanding, and becoming comfortable, with Zoom or other forms of online communication.” 

Pancero said such changes in communication are here to stay, even after the pandemic.

“Every time there has been a change in technology, as it pertains to the selling process, that change never reverts back to the old ways. A lot of people are calling the recent change, ‘Virtual Selling,’” Pancero said. “The big question is, how are you, as a business owner or sales manager, embracing change and new technology? It’s important to adjust and adapt.”


Despite life’s coronavirus-related challenges, there is hope. To make that point, Pancero quoted his friend W Mitchell (www.wmitchell.com), who was severely burned in a motorcycle accident and paralyzed in a plane crash. Despite such major setbacks that would have stopped many people, Mitchell has become a successful keynote speaker, author and business person. His well-known quote is: “It’s not what happens to you ... it’s what you do about it.”

“Life is really tough right now for many of us. If you run a company, however, my question is, ‘What are you going to do about it?’” Pancero asked. “I have three suggestions.”

■ No. 1 — Get stable for the long haul: “A reality check is in order. This (pandemic) isn’t going to be corrected overnight. Therefore, what is your financial plan to survive over the next 12 months?” he said. “Have a plan in place for stability.”

■ No. 2 — It’s time to sell your way out of this: “How many economic recessions have you been through? I started my business in 1982 during a recession, and I think there have been six or seven recessions since then (the early 1980s). It seems that every six to eight years the economy slows. The question is, ‘What do you do about it?’” Pancero said. “For most people running a company, the first thing they do when the economy starts to slow down is to kill their costs. That is fine. The problem is, they usually don’t do anything else. Instead, they hibernate. The better option is to sell your way out of the problem. It’s important to be proactive.

“If you employ one or more people to sell, he/she should be calling on current and potential clients all of the time, and having conversations. However, if you do not have a salesperson, right now I believe you should at least be spending 30 percent of your time calling on customers, having conversations and selling.”

Calling on people during hard times is often an evolving process, he added. Questions that can be asked, in chronological order, include:
• Are you OK? How can I help?;
• How can I help complete outstanding orders and contracts?;
• What do we (the caller’s company) need to look like to be competitive moving forward?;
• What kind of products/services will you need when things turn around and open up?; and,
• Business is starting to open up, can I tell you how we can safely handle your business?

Pancero explained that each customer and industry may be going through a different phase of recovery. However, for business owners and sales managers, it’s important to understand what type of questions are best to ask during unprecedented times.

“Above all else, it’s important to develop a strong dialogue with people,” he said.

■ No. 3 — Conduct customer research: For those company owners/salespeople who have qualms about contacting specific customers during today’s uncertainties, a good way to reach such people is through “customer research,” according to Pancero.

“One of the best outreach programs is to call on customers and prospects and say, ‘I’m doing research to better understand what my company needs to do to be more competitive and helpful,’” Pancero said.

Five research questions can follow. They are:

• What are the greatest changes your buyers want and expect from you, and your company?

“By starting off with asking current or potential clients a question about what their own customers want, you will likely see where their mental state is at the moment, and what steps they see must be taken to satisfy customers,” Pancero said. “If they are going to have to do more for customers, they may express added sympathy for your efforts as well.”

• What changes have you made as a company, and what are you doing differently, to better support customers during the pandemic?

Pancero said he would caution salespeople from being “too pushy” during the current economic climate brought on by the pandemic. It’s better to stick to research-related questions.

• What is it going to take for any of us to gain a competitive edge in this new marketplace?

According to Pancero, the idea behind that type of question is to get a better feel for the differentiating factors that will allow future business activities to succeed.

• Before the virus — what do you most wish we (the caller’s company) would have done differently while selling to, and supporting, you?

“That is asked to see if there are certains things you, and your company, can improve on once the pandemic subsides,” Pancero said.

• Moving forward, what can we do in the future to become a better partner for you, and a better supporter of your business?

“The main idea to asking such research questions is to build dialogue with current, and potential, customers,” Pancero said. “Notice that with those questions, there is no pitching of products or specials. You are just trying to understand and listen — finding out what people want for the future.”

Pancero stressed the importance of listening during the selling process.

“There is an old saying, ‘You have two ears and one mouth, use them in the appropriate percentages,’” he said. “Another good quote is, ‘People are not going to care about what you have to say until they know you care about them.’”

One of the best ways to lower resistance during a sales process is to demonstrate essential listening skills, Pancero added. It’s also important to allow current and potential customers to have the last word during a conversation — something that is hard for some salespeople to do, but shows proper respect.

He also noted companies that deliver a sense of “cleanliness” and “safety” when it comes to their products and services can gain a competitive edge in today’s COVID-19 environment. It’s therefore important to convey that message to the public, such as posting a video on a company website showing how to properly use sanitizers and disinfectants.

“Your goal should be that of providing the lowest risk possible (to coronavirus exposure), while still fulfilling a customer’s expectations and requirements,” Pancero said. “(The focus on cleanliness and safety) is a hot button in today’s selling process, and needs to be incorporated in what you say, and do, as a company.”

He added that focus opens the conversation about “value versus price,” along with “critical differentiators” a company can provide for the benefit of a client.

Tork Provides Hygiene Resources, Tools, And Solutions For Businesses As They Begin To Welcome Customers And Operate In A New Environment

Tork, an Essity brand, is offering the tools and information businesses need to help secure the new hygiene standard. The new website, with the message, “Secure the new hygiene standard,” is a one-stop resource hub businesses can use as they develop a reopening plan and update hygiene procedures. Resources include a free, downloadable Back to Business Toolkit to help businesses operate under a new normal and help people feel safe.

With extensive global experience in professional hygiene, Tork is supporting businesses with the knowledge and expertise needed to meet — and exceed — increased hygiene expectations. With 81 percent of global respondents in a recent survey saying they expect public restrooms will provide a safer hygiene environment now than before the COVID-19 crisis, hygiene procedures have never been more important.

“This period has been challenging for businesses — those businesses that remained open, as well as businesses that operated in diminished capacity, waiting for safer times. Hygiene standards and customers’ hygiene expectations have increased, and hygiene practices will be scrutinized more than ever before as businesses begin to reopen their doors and welcome back employees and customers,” said Don Lewis, president of Professional Hygiene at Essity. “Tork is offering guidance and insights based on decades of experience and the latest recommendations from global public health organizations to help keep facilities hygienic, and support our customers as they navigate a challenging, new environment and secure the new hygiene standard.”

New Resources For Businesses Include:

• A free, customizable Back to Business Toolkit loaded with signage and checklists that can be used as a part of a reopening plan;

• A white paper, infographics and educational videos that detail how hygienic solutions, such as paper towels, skincare, tissues, and napkin systems help contribute to a cleaner and safer facility; and

• Tork product recommendations to help businesses secure the new hygiene standard.

Visitors to the site can also continue to access the Safe at Work toolkits that were created earlier this year, which contain valuable tips, guides, and product information for a variety of businesses, including offices, higher education, manufacturing, healthcare, restaurants, and others.

To download the free materials and to learn more about how Tork is supporting businesses to secure the new hygiene standard, visit www.torkusa.com/safeatwork.

The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers worldwide ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries.

“Our products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissues, soap, napkins and wipers, but also software solutions for data-driven cleaning. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader that supports customers to think ahead so they're always ready for business. Tork is a global brand of Essity and a committed partner to customers in over 110 countries.”

To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, visit www.torkusa.com.

Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company.

“We improve people's well-being through our products and services. Sales are conducted in approximately 150 countries under the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and other strong brands, such as JOBST, Leukoplast, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo, Vinda and Zewa. Essity has about 46,000 employees. Net sales in 2019 amounted to approximately $13.5 billion. The headquarters is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and Essity is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Essity breaks down barriers for improved well-being and contributes to a healthy, sustainable and circular society.”

More information is available at www.essity.com.

From Nexstep
What Is Clean In The Era Of COVID-19

Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing play an important role in reducing the spread
of coronavirus in public areas. According to the CDC, COVID-19 can stay on some
surfaces for hours or even days. 1

Regular cleaning is required to limit the transmission of the disease in commercial
and public spaces.

Cleaning dislodges and removes dirt and microbes from surfaces. While cleaning does
not always kill germs, it reduces the spread of infection by reducing the bacteria levels
on surfaces. 2

Disinfecting involves the use of chemicals to kill germs and bacteria. While this does
not always remove the germs, it reduces the spread of infection by killing germs on
surfaces after cleaning, and it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. 3

Sanitizing reduces the number of germs on a surface, through the use of either cleaning
or disinfecting. By reducing the amount of bacteria to a safe level, sanitizing plays an
essential role in limiting the spread of infection. 4

1 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html
2 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html
3 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html
4 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm

How To Clean

Nexstep Clean Daily

Follow these tips for an effective clean:


Start with Low-Touch Surfaces
To prevent spreading microbes and infections, wipe down low-touch areas first before moving on to high-touch surfaces.

Clean & Disinfect
High-Touch Areas Daily

Cleaning and disinfecting commonly
touched areas will prevent the bacteria from living on the surface and stop the
spreading of the bacteria.

Nexstep Clean Daily

Nexstep Start High Clean High Areas and Work Down
Bacteria and contaminants removed from
high areas often fall to lower surfaces, so
make sure to clean high surfaces first.
Clean in One Direction
To prevent recontaminating previously cleaned surfaces, clean in one direction. Circular wiping risks spreading contaminants and infections over surfaces. While cleaning a floor, use a “figure 8” motion to prevent the recontamination of previously cleaned floor surfaces.

Nexstep Clean Daily

How To Clean A Floor
Germs and bacteria on the floor easily spread throughout a facility or public space.
Cleaning and disinfecting the floor is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19.

1. Using a dust mop or broom, remove all dirt and large debris from the floor.
2. For wet mopping, remove the previously used mop head
and attach a freshly laundered mop head to the handle.
3. Following the guidelines and specific chemical instructions,
fill the mop bucket with a new cleaning solution.
4. While cleaning the floor, use a “figure 8” motion to prevent
the recontamination of previously cleaned floor surfaces.

Tools For Cleaning In The Era Of COVID-19
“With more emphasis on cleaning than ever before, O-Cedar Commercial® remains
dedicated to provide the most effective tools to clean, disinfect and sanitize. We are committed to supplying the best-quality, innovative cleaning solutions with a brand name
that instills the confidence users are seeking during this trying time.

“By offering a better surface cleaning, microfiber products play an essential role in limiting
the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. Compared to traditional cotton cleaning products, microfiber products more effectively remove microbes and bacteria from surfaces. Microfiber provides effective cleaning and reduces the need to use stringent chemicals – which makes our environment healthier and safer. Microfiber uses less water than traditional materials, is highly launderable, eliminates waste, reduces chemical use, and reduces cross-contamination,” said Nexstep.

Nexstep Clean Daily

MaxiPlus® Microfiber Loop-End Mops

Nexstep Clean Daily

MaxiPlus® Microfiber Pads

Nexstep Clean Daily

MaxiPlus® Microfiber Loop-End Pads

Nexstep Clean Daily

MaxiPlus® Microfiber Cloths

Nexstep Clean Daily

MaxiPlus® All-In-One Cleaning System

Nexstep Clean Daily

Microfiber Charging Bucket

Nexstep Clean Daily

MaxiPlus® Microfiber Duster

Nexstep Clean Daily

360° Duster

Nexstep Clean Daily

Extendable 360° Duster

Nexstep Clean Daily

Traditional Wet Mops & Accessories

To see more of Nexstep’s line of products, visit

Nexstep Commercial Products is the
exclusive licensee of O-Cedar®.

Nyco Products Adds New Gel Hand Sanitizer To Hand Care Line

Nyco Products Company has added Alco-Gel Plus Hand Sanitizer to its line of hand care products for schools, restaurants, health care facilities and office buildings.

“Nyco Alco-Gel Plus Hand Sanitizer is an alcohol-based gel sanitizer that kills 99.99 percent of common germs on hands that can cause illness. It meets both Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for hand sanitizers. Alco-Gel Plus evaporates quickly, leaving no sticky residue on hands, and has a light citrus fragrance,” said the company.

According to the CDC’s Hand Hygiene Recommendations for health care workers, hand sanitizers with 60-90 percent alcohol are a, “simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens and infections in health care settings.”

Brendan Cavanagh, vice president of sales at Nyco, said, “With hand sanitizers currently in such high demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re pleased to be able to now offer this item to our distributor customers. It’s been flying out the door.”

Alco-Gel Plus Hand Sanitizer is currently available in 4 x 1 gallon cases that include two pumps for convenient dispensing in each case. For additional details, Nyco customer service can be reached at 800-752-4754.

Nyco Products Company is a privately-owned manufacturer of high-performance national cleaning brands and distributor private branded chemicals used in the foodservice, sanitary maintenance, industrial, institutional and other specialty cleaning markets.

Visit nycoproducts.com for more information.

From WizKid
Prevent Viral Shedding In Fighting COVID With The Splash Hog

“A newly released study confirms the transmission of COVID-19 through urine. Referred to as “viral shedding,” traces of contaminated urine become aerosolized and inhaled, allowing the disease to infect others in the restroom. The place this is most likely to happen is around the urinal,” according to a press release.

“This new information means the management of urine in a restroom is now more critical than ever. Previously moisture management was focused on preventing odors and stains in a restroom, and now it has moved to another level by protecting a user’s health. For facility managers, building service contractors, and janitorial staff, the game has been taken to another level.”

According to WizKid, “The major problem is solved by keeping the urine in the urinal, and the Splash Hog Vertical Urinal Screen does just that. It is the only urinal screen on the market that goes up the back wall to stop splashback where guys actually aim. We recently produced a video that shows just how effective it is at preventing splashback, and you can see it is highly effective at keeping urine where it belongs, in the urinal.

“Secondly, for any urine that does happen to escape or for any other floor surfaces that collect moisture and become sources of foul odors and bacteria, the line of WizKid Antimicrobial Mats offers a solution for managing moisture that may escape any urinal or toilet in the restroom. The line of mats features an industry-best antimicrobial treatment that is certified to kill 99 percent of germ microbes, slowing the spread of bacteria and stopping the development of odors.”

For more information on WizKid products, visit wizkidmat.com.

Brady Acquires Fitch Co.

Raymond Kirsner and Lynne Kirsner

Brady, a full-line janitorial supply, equipment and food service distributor, has acquired the Fitch Co. in Baltimore, MD.

Fitch Co.’s history began in 1898, serving the Mid-Atlantic region. In the mid-1980s, Lynne and Raymond Kirsner took ownership of the long-standing company, and continued to expand its service offerings and product selection. They will continue to oversee all transitions.

In 2016, Brady opened a branch in Capitol Heights, MD. General Manager Radley Olsen is working closely with the Kirsners, and the entire Fitch Co. team, to optimize Brady’s presence in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., territories.

“Continued expansion in this market is very exciting,” said Travis Brady, president and CEO of Brady. “We have found great opportunity in this area and look forward to the experience of the Fitch Co. team to further our mutual success.”

Brady’s operation includes a workforce of more than 500 employees in 24 locations throughout Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah including its original Las Vegas, NV, headquarters.

For more information, visit bradyindustries.com.

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