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How To Get Prospects To Return Your Calls

This is a follow up to last week's post, 7 Reasons Cleaning Prospects Don't Return Your Calls.

How many times do you cold call a prospective customer, only to be connected to their voice mail? Do you leave a message? Many people will not leave messages because they never receive a call back (see last week's post).

So what’s the trick for getting them to call back? A good rule of thumb for leaving voice mail messages that get return calls is to:

  1. state your full name and company name and then get to the point quickly. 
  2. make a compelling statement that gets them thinking. Use words that describe how they might feel about their current cleaning service: frustrated, disappointed, irritated, annoyed, concerned, overwhelmed, unhappy, skeptical.

Here is an example:

Hi, this is John Smith with All-American Cleaning Company. We work with companies who are frustrated with their current cleaning service, or disappointed in the value they’re receiving for the money they’re spending. If this sounds familiar, please give me a call because I may have some solutions for you. My number is 555-123-1234. I look forward to talking with you.

Challenge yourself to create a list of problems that your customers want solved. Then use this list to create variations of the voice mail message above.

What tips do YOU have for getting your voice mail messages returned? Click on the Comments link below to post your replies.

7 Reasons Cleaning Prospects Don't Return Your Calls

Many building service contractors have given up on in-person cold calling  and have started doing more prospecting over the phone. But because people are so busy, it's sometimes difficult to actually talk to someone on the phone. Many choose not to leave a voicemail message, but some do.

If you DO leave messages, are you doing it in a way that gets people to call you back or are you doing it in a way that turns people off? Here are several reasons your cleaning prospects may not be returning your calls.

  1. You talked so fast they would have to re-play the message 5 times to get your name, company name and phone number so they just didn't bother.
  2. You only left your name and phone number. Most people won't return calls unless they get your complete name, company name, phone number and most importantly - the reason for the call.
  3. You didn't get to the point within the first 10 or 15 seconds. If you ramble on and don't get to the point quickly your message may be deleted before it plays all the way through.
  4. You gave a sales pitch and asked them to call you back if they're interested in your services. This one will NEVER get a call back!
  5. You continue to call with the same message asking them to call if interested. This will get you blacklisted. It may even prompt a call back just to ask you to stop calling!
  6. You decided to try an automated voicemail system where they pick up the phone and receive a recorded message. This ONLY works if they know the caller and would welcome what they have to offer (and even then, most people won't return these calls).
  7. You ask if you can speak to "the person" who handles the cleaning. You should already have this person's name. If not, then the purpose of your call should be to get this person's name and title instead of making a sales pitch to get them to call back.

Give some thought to how you leave business voicemail messages. If your calls aren't being returned, it could be a sign you're turning people off!

Do YOU ever leave voicemail messages and if so, do they return your calls? Post your reply by clicking on the Comments link below.

Should You Have Reciprocal Links On Your Cleaning Business Website?

If you pay attention to search engine optimization techniques, then you know that for years the experts have said that reciprocal links are useless. In fact some experts say that they could even be detrimental to your website.

Along time ago Google stopped placing value on reciprocal linking because people started abusing the practice. "I'll link to your site if you link to mine..."

Recently however, there has been a slight change, and you can now help your rankings with good quality, on-topic reciprocal links, as long as it adds value to your website visitors. The key is that the links must be on-topic.

Here are a couple examples. If you provide cleaning services but don't provide carpet cleaning services, you could add a page on your website for carpet cleaning. Then link to a carpet cleaning service you know and recommend them to your website visitors. They can do the same for you.

If you provide commercial cleaning services and get requests for residential cleaning services, you could swap links with a residential cleaning service.

A couple other tips to making this work to your benefit:

  1. Don't fill your website with too many reciprocal links. A good rule of thumb is to limit them to 10% of the links on your site.
  2. Don't put a lot of reciprocal links on your website all at once. Spread them out over time.

P.S. If you don't have a website yet or would like to increase the business to your existing website, check out

Should You Charge The Same For Cleaning If You Don't Get Project Work?

When we submit proposals for cleaning commercial accounts we always offer a full package, which includes services like carpet cleaning, hard floor care and window washing. One of the reasons we do this is because these add-on services (or project work as some call it), are specialized services that add a lot of profit to the bottom line.

When we submit these proposals, we know that we can be competitive because we're able to offer the general cleaning at a reduced price. That's because the profit from the project work offsets some of the loss of profit on the general cleaning.

These days, if you just offer general cleaning for commercial cleaning accounts, you may find it difficult to make a profit. That's because it's a very competitive market so you generally need to go in with lower prices; so the only way to make up for the loss of profit is to add additional profitable services.

If we have a prospect who doesn't want any additional services, we go in with a higher general cleaning price. We realize that we may not get the account because of this, but there's no point in taking on a new client who won't add to the bottom line.

Would you agree?  Please post your comments by clicking on the Comments link below.

Do You Think Up Solutions Under Pressure?

I can't tell you how many times cleaning business owners tell us about a situation they had with a customer where they had to think up a solution under pressure. In other words, they didn't know how to handle the situation or what to say, so they simply said whatever came to mind to solve the problem quickly.

What happens next is that the cleaning business owner says to himself, "I need to create a policy about that!" Here is an example -- a customer that continually asks for more services. To the customer it's just a small request that will only take a few minutes. But as these requests keep adding up, you can feel the profit draining from this account. If you're not prepared for this question, you might agree to do the extra service, but kick yourself for not being prepared with a better solution.

In this example, think about how you should respond to these repeated requests so you are prepared the next time this comes up. For example, you might say, "Yes, I'd be happy to do that for you. Just let me figure out how much time it will take and I'll come up with your new price." Then go get your calculator! (Even if you don't need the calculator, it gets the point across). If the customer was just trying to get free work out of you they'll probably say "never mind". But if it's a service they really want, they'll pay the extra amount.

In this situation, make it clear that this is a service that was not factored into your original price, but you'd be happy to accomodate them from now on at this new rate. This will usually put an end to the repeated requests for additional "free" service.

What other examples can you think of that have you coming up with solutions under pressure? Click on the Comments link below to post your thoughts.