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February 2011
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Cleaning Business Owners - Are You Asking Powerful Questions?

We often try to anticipate the questions our prospective clients will ask us. But how many people make a list of powerful questions to ask prospects? What if you turned the tables and asked them questions they've never been asked before?

Watch this video from Jeffrey Gitomer and tell us what you think by clicking on the Comments link below.

How Often Should I Send Marketing Materials To Cleaning Prospects?

I recently did a webinar for members of The Janitorial Store called Postcards, Mailers and Newsletters: Simple Strategies That Get Powerful Results . One of the questions asked during the webinar was, "how often should I contact prospects with mailers?"

First, let me stress that you do not need to continually send out the same postcard or letter every time you contact them. I recommend mixing it up a bit. One example is to send a series of different postcards, and another example is to mix it up with postcards, letters, self-mailers, flyers, brochures, etc.

How often should you send your mailers? If you're just getting started, I recommend sending the second mailer about 2 weeks after the first. That way it's not so far out that they'll completely forget about the first one. Send the third mailer about 4 weeks after the second, and every 6 weeks thereafter.

Once you've hit the 6 week schedule stick with it. If you send out your mailers more often than that, people may see you as bothersome. But when they see your mailers every 6 weeks, it's more of a gentle reminder that you're here, ready and available to serve their needs. If you send them less frequently, you'll be more "out of site, out of mind", so you may be wasting precious marketing dollars by not having a regular system in place for scheduling your mailings.

And a final tip: if you want the most bang for your buck with direct mail campaigns, be sure you're sending your materials to a TARGETED list and that you have a COMPELLING message with a great CALL TO ACTION. This is what will determine the success of your efforts.

For ideas on what to send prospects, be sure to check out, where you'll find customizable and personalized direct mail collateral created exclusively for the cleaning industry. (Get 10% off your first order by entering the code: myfirstcampaign)

Who Is Responsible For Sales In Your Home Cleaning Company?

If you asked an employee at your company what they do they'd probably say something like, "I clean homes", or "I do the bookkeeping", or "I answer the phones".

What if they responded, "I'm in sales and service"? Do you think your sales would increase? If everyone felt individually responsible for increasing sales, then you bet your sales would increase! So how do you get your employees to recognize sales opportunities that are right under their noses every day? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure they understand who your ideal client really is. Just because you clean homes doesn't mean you clean just ANY home! You may target certain neighborhoods, types of homes, or income levels. If your employees understand who your ideal client is, they're much more likely to recommend your company to the right person when opportunities arise.
  2. Make sure your employees know all the services you provide. If an employee sees a spot on a carpet, they should know that you provide carpet spotting services and should recommend it to the client.
  3. Make sure they know if you're currently offering any specials so they can let your clients know about this week's "window washing coupon".
  4. Customer service "Wow" moments. There are many ways to "wow" your clients. One idea is to get your office staff involved with service after the sale by sending your client a photo of themselves and thanking them for the opportunity to serve them every day. This creates loyalty from your clients, which means you can grow your business faster.
  5. Brainstorm ideas with your employees to come up with ways they can help increase sales with little effort. 
  6. Study other companies with a customer service oriented culture. Zappos is a great example because every employee feels a responsibility to increase sales by providing expert customer service.

Do you agree that everyone in your company is responsible for sales? Share your thoughts by clicking on the Comments link below.

Don't Lose A New Cleaning Account Before You've Started Cleaning!

Have you ever stolen away a cleaning account from a competitor? It can be a great feeling, working on a prospect for months and then finally getting the account! But you may also have experienced the let down of a phone call a couple days later from your "new client" expressing regret that they won't be able to work with you after all.

What happened? When they told their existing contractor that it was time for a change, their contractor counter-offered to keep the account. Of course the counter-offer included lots of promises like better service and more consistent cleaning, but it also offered a lower price, which the prospect simply couldn't ignore. After all, it's easier to keep the existing contractor at a lower price than it is to deal with making the transition to a new cleaning company.

In order to avoid this type of situation, it's best to deal with potential problems head on. If you know a long-time contractor is going to be terminated, ask the prospect, "When ABC Cleaning finds out you're making a change, they're probably going to do whatever they can to retain your business. How will you handle that?"

By addressing an issue you know is inevitable, you've got a much better chance of saving the account. It's better to bring it up while you're there, rather than waiting to see what happens. If they respond to the question by saying something like, "Well, I'd have to think about their offer", then you know you've got more work to do.

Have you ever had this happen to you? Share your ideas for dealing with this situation by clicking on the Comments link below.