Why “making a cheerleader” is so profitable…

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by Tom Watson on October 3, 2012

Your phone rings, you answer it, you set an appointment to bid it and if you do everything just right you get the job too.

Most people would view that as a success. I must admit it is to an extent, but it doesn’t have to end there.

I’ll give you a real life example of how we took this scenario a little farther (profiting along the way) by simply providing some “extra customer care” to go along with some easy to use customer follow-up methods.

It all began with an inquiry through our website (if you don’t have a site I suggest you get one ASAP). The caller had a home he was about to purchase and he needed the carpets cleaned.

Now I know… this is a carpet cleaning request and not a commercial cleaning or house cleaning call BUT the principle is EXACTLY the same (it wouldn’t matter what business this story is about, business IS business).

Anyway… the potential customer needed the carpets cleaned the next day. Though I’m not fond of last-minute changes to the schedule, I gave my word we would fit him in.

Hint: Making the customer the FOCUS by finding a way to SQUEEZE him in to an already packed day was a POWERFUL way to let him know I own the company that can solve his problem!

But that’s not all… the next morning he calls and cancels due to some issue with the house (a problem arose and he would not be able to “close” on the property for an undisclosed amount of time).

Did I freak out that he cancelled, explaining how I jumped through a bunch of hoops to find a way to fit him in. OF COURSE NOT! Remember… my job is to make his life EASIER, not burden him with guilt over the situation.

Instead I gave him my cell, and indicated if anything changed to just give me a call and we would get it done. Again… I went BEYOND the call of duty by giving my cell number out.

Constantly going beyond the call of duty gets noticed by the potential customer you know! You may think they don’t take notice, but they do (as you’ll soon see).

After that call I thought the deal was dead. A lot of work for nothing! BUT, about an hour later he called back, the closing was “back on” and he needed us once again. What a turn of events!

Needless to say the carpet cleaning went off without a hitch. We showed up on-time, did what was asked in an extremely efficient way and collected our payment as well (about $450.00 bucks!).

He was thrilled and so were we. Everyone was a winner!

Many companies would have never made that sale. They would have tried to get the customer to CONFORM to their schedule, which would have never worked in this scenario. So by being the company that made the customer the focus, we got the sale (and a very satisfied customer).

But we didn’t stop there. The next day, as is our custom, we mailed out a “Thank You” letter to the customer. This is noting more than a little card we handwrite indicating how “thankful” we were to SERVE THEM.

This is another “touch” you should be adding to your service. When you go out of your way to THANK the customer for choosing YOU, it sends a powerful message to them. Besides, odds are your competition, whoever they are, ARE NOT taking the time to do this.

Now lets fast forward 3 weeks.

We get a call from a customer who wants carpet cleaning. Like we always do, we ask where did you hear about us? (you need to be asking that question too, as that’s how you measure your performance in different ways).

Guess where this customer heard about us? That’s kind of obvious now, the last customer I just spoke of! Turns out this caller was good friends with the guy I went out of my way for.

The real benefit to this type of situation for me is that this referral is PRE-SOLD on me. His buddy already told him about how I pulled through for him, doing a great job in the process.

Now this guy doesn’t need to be sold, I really just have to bid (no “convincing” this guy I’m good, his buddy vouched for me). So I make the date for the cleaning, we do a great job and he’s happy too (another couple hundred in the bank for me).

But there’s more (yes, it get’s better). It turns out this guy also owns a business, and SURPRISE, he needs carpet cleaning over there too! More money going straight to my wallet.

You would have to think that the story ends there. But I’m not done!

This customer then REFERS me to one of his employees. Guess what, I got that job too! What is the moral of this story? I made a cheerleader out of that first customer!

I would have never made it to the next few jobs (and the money they brought in) without going out of my way to begin with. That’s why this post is one you need to take to heart. Needless to say…

I recommend you use the same attack plan in your business.

  1. Go out of your way for the customer.
  2. Make them the FOCUS.
  3. Then make sure you follow-up with a nice little thank you card.

This approach goes a long way towards making you different from your competition. And as we all know, you want to be different! Blending in with the woodwork doesn’t pay the bills! It never has and it never will!

UPDATE 11-18-2012: Shortly after publishing this post guess what happened? YES… another job came my way. To make a long story short, one of the referrals above referred me to his best buddy. Another happy customer that never would have happened if I didn’t make that first customers a cheerleader!

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to our RSS feed. If you are looking for a blueprint that will show you how to start a cleaning business, then check out my Cleaning Business Start Up Guides. If you are badly in need of a first class website then take a look at my Cleaning Business Websites.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 earl miller October 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

what the best way start a buiness

2 Tom Watson October 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Hi Earl!

In a nutshell… pick one that fit’s YOU, educate yourself on the topic (books and or courses) THEN slowly start chipping away EACH day. That’s all I ever did! I went from NOTHING to extremely successful and I KNOW others can do the same. The WHOLE key is just following in the foot-steps of those who have had success before you. Don’t re-invent the wheel!

3 Jordie Mann November 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

Tom! Congratulations and thanks for the awesome article… great ideas! And when you send your thank-you card, do you create it online using your own handwriting & signature and does the card have a copy of your logo in it? If not, then I recommend you send a card on me by following this link…

http://www.sendoutcards.com/82519

Good luck! Oh and if you like sending out your cards this way (through the USPS), joining is super easy and most greeting cards only cost about .93 plus postage! Super Savings! (You keep more money this way!)

Jordie 😉

4 Tom Watson November 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Hi Jordie!

I always did them the old fashioned way, but your service does fill a need because many folks may lack the time and or discipline to do it themselves.

5 Ashley April 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

do you charge for not cancelling an appt. in a certain amount of time? or anything along those lines. i see that on some websites, the latest one i saw was outrageous in FEEs for a client not doing this or that. & her word play came off rude, and a turn-off. Not even stating that understanding that emergencies happen sometimes, no breaks from this lady. It made me feel like, if i were a potential, that she was all about herself, and im going be sorry if i mess up her schedueling, cause if i need to cancel, she HAS to know or I have to PAY UP cause i shoudlve called within time frame cause now its MY FAULT that she may loose a chance to fill the spot.

is cancellation fees a good idea, if worded in a respectable way? or nu-nesscary?

she also had things like, “no check; no clean.” if payment was presented prior to clean (as in they arent home,or its a rented etc) then they WONT clean & you as the client will be charged just like a cancellation fee…

“Due to our flexible and every changing schedule, it is difficult to commit to an exact arrival time. We service homes between 9am and 5pm – last home is scheduled by 3pm arrival. Even if you normally have an afternoon cleaning there may be times that we need to clean your home in the morning instead. We will make every effort to accommodate your needs.
You may reschedule, skip, add, or cancel any of your cleanings. We do ask for a 24 hour notice for any of these actions. We have other clients and without notice it interferes with their cleaning. Please be courteous and call, text, or email. WITHOUT a 12-hour notice you will be charged $20 cancellation fee, payable at next scheduled cleaning.
If you are a bi-weekly customer and you skip 1 (one) scheduled cleaning you will be required to pay an additional $10 fee at your next scheduled visit.
If you are a weekly customer and you skip 2 scheduled cleanings, you will be required to pay an initial cleaning fee again of $10.
We have a “No Check/No Clean” policy. Payment is expected at time of service. If no payment is left for us when we arrive, we will be unable to clean and you will be charged a $20 cancellation fee. Any check returned from your bank unpaid wll be charged $30, payable at your next visit. You will also be unable to pay by check in the future.
We need to be able to work freely. Please be advised that if we are subject to distrations that effect our ability to work we reserve the right to charge for our extra time spent in your home.
Items of extreme value, monetary or sentimental, should be dusted and cleaned by the owner
Although we are professionals, we are not miracle workers. Sometimes we are called in too late to correct damage that is already done, or Items may take a couple of cleanings to look their best. We will work with you.
We do NOT offer refunds on any services. We will however return at our expense to correct the problem if it is reported by the end of that same business day. Online Rates Quotes are on valid for 30 days. After 30 days, please resubmit a quote request.”

okay, so above is her “policies” on her website. (notice the spelling mistakes, they are ALL over the website which just shows laziness, carelessness to double check for mistakes.. which i wouldnt ever call her for that reason solely. I think websites, emails, that are intended for professional services, and trying to advertise themselves are either.. scams or unprofessional, like i said.

-to clarify. i’m not trying to contradict myself, something like this that is not me selling my services, i am not going to make ‘picture perfect. – (haha)

but maybe you could do an article if you don’t already have one, on advice for policies, and FAQs. Also, looking for some good advice on becoming confident in pricing. I haven’t gotten much into writing ‘bids’ but for residential, i’ve done estimates via phone, email even though i try to push for in-home estimates. but at the end when it comes down to pricing. i get nervous that i will lose that potential client by coming off desperate, and possibly uneducated on my line of work by being too cheap. or loosing money by being too cheap,
working little to no profit.
upsetting them by approaching them with new prices, cause the cleaning took 20x longer,
prior to the cleaning i see the property day of scheduled cleaned, let them know that this was not what i expected, needs re-priced.
then possibly loosing that income for the day, or they don’t wish to continue then get bad word on how i changed it up.
or intially being too expensive,
either i am pricing wrong cause i am unclear of some knowledge or i am not getting the vision of how thorough, impeccable, in-depth, professional we are. that we have that ‘wow’ factor they need in their cleaning services.
sooo any advice on keeping all the work i did to get them intrigued, and interested to get to the closing point, the price.

I mean I can sell my a** off all day, with confidence. especially when i’m in person. i’m relatable, and can have them in love with how i can speak their thoughts on what they expect and surprise a potential client w/ how much farther i show/explain that i will be going than others.
but, ESPECIALLY in person. i get nervous, and can go blank in my head in pricing it, and making it so they are content with it. and my nerves probably show.. so please help!
i do understand how to price things, i feel like i have a good idea on not being over-priced or under… but i get so nervous, cause even if my prices are dead-on with what the job entails, … i feel like when i get nervous, that i just price on the vibes they give off. by things that hinted how they could feel about pricing prior, or how they are acting when i start talking about how long the total man hours, and breakdown of cleaning. rather than what i really felt i should price, especially when i’m in need of work! so any advice you can throw out there in an article or email me… anything!

btw, i came across this site, reasearching cold calling. you have a wealth of information in these article blogs, and i’ve been addicted for the past couple hours reading through, gaining more knowledge! Your wealth of knowledge from years of experience is really benefitial to someone like me, in their first year. and oh, had this first year has been a wild one. a lot of tough lessons learned just on my own. but anyways i’ll stop freaking out, and ranting on.

Thank You, in advance for your time that you may take out to focus on answering my questions.
-Ashley

6 Tom Watson April 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi Ashley! Ok.. you got some questions…

1 – No.. no charging for cancellations! That just annoys people beyond belief and besides, they won’t pay it (or they will find another cleaner).

2 – No check – no clean is also a bad idea.

3 – I like the idea of a “policy and procedure” type post. That actually is a VERY good idea!

4 – Bidding / confidence…. that comes with experience, and we all start out just like you feel. It’s normal! Anyway… don’t bid sight unseen (nothing good comes from that). When you do go in person, just THINK carefully HOW LONG will I be here (then apply an hourly rate like 20, 25 or 30 an hour). PS… you will bid some jobs bad, that is LIFE, you learn from those mistakes (again, I made a lot of dumb mistakes, but that is all part of the process).

5 – Getting nervous…. BEST ADVICE I have is to remember you are not selling rocket boosters to NASA (that would be complicated right?). No… you are ONLY convincing someone that you are NORMAL, TRUSTWORTH, AND ABLE TO CLEAN THEIR HOME. That is IT!!! BE YOU!!! Be Ashley!! Of course we all have some nervousness in the beginning, but that will go away as you gain experience.

6 – On a side note… as to the “vibes” people send. You have two options… 1 – Ignore them and just price your job (after all, you may not want EVERY job, you only want the PROFITABLE ones). OR OPTION 2… when people give you the “vibe”, just ask them “what is your budget?”. That will allow you to tell them WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THAT PRICE. See how that questions FLIPS it around to your benefit?

Hope this helps Ashley! Touch base if you need me!

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