I was on an interview recently, and asked what my top 3 Secrets To Grow Your Cleaning Business in 2017 were (you can checkout that interview I did with Joshua Latimer here) and I thought…hmmm
“That would make a great post for this week….”
because as we get into the year, the better equipped we are with information, the better our year will be right?
So, let’s start off with our customers… and making sales because..
..Sales are 100% of profit
But to get a sale, we have to attract a prospect, and then do a great job and turn them into customers, and then KEEP THEM (which is where a lot of cleaning businesses come undone.
Keeping customers can be HARD
Some customers aren’t shy at all about expressing their opinions. They know they’re paying for a cleaning service and they aren’t afraid to communicate exactly what they want and need.
But then there are others who may be hesitant, unconfident, or at least less forthright with you for dozens of reasons. But the hesitant ones could be the ideal customers, the loyal ones that want your services for years to come. They just need to confirm that you’re the right fit. To unlock this information, you need to know what they’re not saying.
Throughout my years in the cleaning industry, I’ve gathered up the most essential ways to reassure current and potential clients so that your business will be booming. And stay that way…
Here’s what you really need to know:
# 1. They’re dying to figure out how you’ll be different.
You know, different from the previous cleaning service that clearly didn’t work out (because otherwise they wouldn’t have called you). The way to not only reassure them but to actually stand out is by asking them this very simple question (learned from the indomitable Skip Miller)..
What’s causing you to change your cleaning service?
And then be quiet. This is their turn to speak! And, they’ll tell you all the things that they haven’t been happy about – which is valuable information for you, because these things are their ‘hot buttons’….
When you know your prospects ‘hot buttons’ you can tailor-make your proposal like a laser guided missile to it’s target – because you’re offering them targeted solutions to their (already existing) problems.
And no-one else will be doing that, (trust me, most cleaning business sales people just talk about themselves and their company incessantly) instead of talking about solutions to their prospects problems…
…Which is how you win your prospects’ trust..
And if you want to give them the ‘ol one-two punch’ then hit them with this next question (courtesy of the lovely Angela Brown Oberer…)
How will you know your home or office is really clean?
And guess what? This question will tell you EXACTLY the areas that they ‘see’… That is, the areas that are more visible to them than others.
Meaning (insert drumroll here…)
You can focus on those areas and know in advance, that your shiny new customer will see it, and appreciate it…..and stay with you longer..
It’s simple, but crucial for client retention.
# 2. They want to know how you hire and screen your employees.
What is DIFFERENT about your employees and team?
If you have a special “5 step on-boarding process” that includes some cool new ideas for bringing on efficient team members with a great eye for detail – shout it from the rooftops! (And if you don’t -2017 is the year you need to get your talent acquisition strategy as strong as your customer acquisition strategy).
Remember, your job is to be as DIFFERENT as you can from your competitors, otherwise, you’ll end up competing on price because your prospects won’t be able to make a clear distinction between your services and your competitors, so they’ll go with the lowest common denominator – THE PRICE
# 3. They want to know how long you’ve been in business (and whether you have the proper credentials).
Ok, truthfully????? They don’t care.
…..(insert a barrage of negative comments here… ) wait, wait, just hear me out first…
At the beginning of a new prospect relationship, this is simply not the most important thing to your prospect.
Because you’re not ‘there’ yet (and by ‘there’ I mean, on their mental short-list for the job).
They’re just checking you out… Just think of this as your first date… The time when you bring out “funny, charming you” who’s super interested in everything they have to say….
That my friends, is what a first date is all about…
Of course the whole licensed-bonded-insured thing is a great form of outward-facing credibility to the people who matter. How many years of experience your company has is also very telling. These clues speak to your legitimacy and trustworthiness.
And these things ARE important.
It’s just that going on and on about it at the first appointment is just going to bore your prospect to death because, THEY DON’T CARE YET..
But they will.
# 4. They want to know exactly what will be covered.
Whether you use a checklist, talk over problem areas or ask for a list of specifications, clients want reassurance that your team will do a much more thorough job than they’d do themselves if they had the time. That your team will take the time to tackle the areas that matter most (remember, this where you should be talking about those ‘hot buttons’). This should be part of the on-boarding process.
# 5 They want to know what happens if they’re less than pleased with the results.
Nooooooooo….. I just put that point in to mess with you!
Because you, the cleaning industry professional, are going to grow your cleaning business by beginning this relationship positioned as an expert. And you’re going to set your client’s expectations correctly right from the word go.
How would this sound in a real sales appointment? Something like this:
“John/Sarah, as a business, my team and I strive and work towards excellence, however, as with everything in life, it’s impossible to get a perfect score or 100/100 every single day.
Wouldn’t you agree John/Sarah?
So with that in mind, I’m going to be calling/emailing/dropping by on a weekly/monthly/quarterly basis and asking you – ‘are we meeting all of your needs’?
If you feel there’s even a small improvement that could be made, would you do me a favor?
Would you let me know before it becomes an issue so we can make any ‘course corrections’ needed, so you can have the service you signed up for, and my team and I can proudly call you our customer for many years to come?
Try this strategy… by getting your customers’ help right from the beginning, it sets up the whole shiny-new relationship on the right footing…
Because they’re worried about trusting you (they’ve been let down before, remember).
And you’re worried about asking them because you may be afraid those questions will open a can of worms. That’s always a possible outcome, but what’s more likely is that your team’s services will improve, you’ll learn a lot about what makes people lifelong customers AND your business will flourish because you weren’t afraid to ask.
So there you have it… how to grow your cleaning business by knowing what some of the thoughts are that are typically in the back of prospects’ and customers’ minds (but aren’t always addressed out of fear), AND knowing some of the right questions you can be asking to relax your prospect.
What do you think? I would love you to share some of your own experiences. Do you have another ‘top-secret’ question that your prospects ask? Leave me a message in the comments below and share your thoughts – I promise, I read and reply to every message..
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker
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Cleaning Marketer works exclusively with cleaning businesses to help them attract more prospects, make more sales, and keep their clients longer.
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