The Mailbag Volume 5: Answering some common questions about the cleaning business…

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by Tom Watson on February 21, 2016

About a week ago I sent out an email for topics that people wanted me to discuss via the podcast or the weekly post on Sunday. The response was OVERWHELMING.

If I just covered two topics per week, it would have taken me well over a year to talk a little about each subject. So I’ll see how many I can tackle in one sitting. Ready? Let’s go!

I’ve made a few connections on LinkedIn with apartment managers and facility managers. Now what?

Having a connection is no good UNLESS YOU USE IT. I tried to solve that issue for you today by providing you a template that will guide you on breaking the ice, and hopefully start the relationship building process. If done just right, you should be able to drum up some business for your company.

Feel free to mold the following paragraph as you see fit. At the very least, it gives you a starting point that you can build from.

“I really appreciate the fact you allowed me the chance to connect with you on LinkedIn. I’ve met some wonderful people this way in the past. I’m touching base today because I see that you are a property manager over at (insert property here) and I was wondering if I could stop by and briefly take a look at your property and provide some pricing on cleaning services.

I ask because it’s likely that you may be paying more money for your cleaning services than ever before but getting less service, and if so, I can help. My company is laser focused on getting our clients the most bang for their buck in regards to the cleaning services we provide. Even if you are happy with your current provider, having a “back-up plan” in place is a good idea.

You never know when a company may go out of business or let service go downhill. Anyway, I have next (insert what you day have available AND make it roughly a week out to allow them time to fit you in) available if you would like to meet. I promise that I won’t waste a minute of your time. I appreciate you taking a moment to read this and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely, (insert your name),
(insert your company name).
(insert contact information)”

I plan on stopping in to businesses near me to promote my company. What do I say when walking in? And HOW do I get past the gatekeeper?

The odds are not good that you will just walk in the front door and be standing “face to face” with the person who is in charge of hiring the cleaning company. That only happened ONCE IN MY LIFE. The reality is that in almost all cases you will be staring the receptionist in the face. This is what tends to work best… You just walk in and say…

“Hi, I’m Bob Jones with Super Clean Inc, and I was wondering if you can help me. I was hoping to share some information about my cleaning company with the office manager (or use Facility Manager on larger buildings).

Is it possible YOU can pass this info along to them? (then extend your hand containing the info you have, such as an envelope containing a sales letter and business card with flyer). THANK YOU! I appreciate your assistance.”

THAT’S IT! Nice and simple. The nicer you are, and the more you RESPECT their time by being BRIEF, the GREATER the chance that your sales material gets in the right persons hands. Remember… when you are nice to others they tend to be nice to you.

FYI: Once in a GREAT WHILE, they may ask questions or offer to get the person in charge (but DO NOT EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN MUCH). If they do… GREAT… answer their questions. Most of the time however you are just “spreading the gospel”(which will result in calls down the road).

The key to this approach is you looking your best, and your sales letter and flyer being top-notch. Rinse and repeat this process until you are sick of it. It does work, but you need to do it regularly (at least one day a week for a few hours FOR AS LONG AS YOU ARE IN BUSINESS).

I just landed my first large cleaning account. I don’t want to lose them. What tips can you share that will help me keep them long-term?

The goal is to KEEP THEM HAPPY at all costs. They went through a lot of trouble to bring you on board, so you want to make them feel as though they made the right decision. This is the best advice I can provide…

1 – Be super-responsive: Go the extra mile at every chance and respond as fast as possible to issues as they arise. Be polite no matter what! Doing anything else will get you in trouble with the customers you worked so hard to obtain.

2 – Always keep your promises: Think carefully before you make any promise or commitment, then MAKE SURE you keep it. Always try to “over-deliver” on what you promise as that will drive home the fact they are getting good value from your company.

3 – Do your absolute best to resolve complaints: All companies get complaints from time to time. It’s how you deal with them that matters! Have empathy and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Don’t let the issue escalate! A complaint is an opportunity to salvage a valued relationship. Take advantage of it.

Do you recommend including copies of your business license, certifications, bond & insurance information in a proposal?

That is a good idea. It will do no harm to include that information in the proposal. It will help build credibility and trust with the potential client.

Can you be successful in commercial cleaning without cold calling?

YES! The reason is because your marketing efforts should be multifaceted to begin with. You don’t want to be a “one trick pony” and only be able to get business one way. To get the best results you should be using direct mail, networking, handing out flyers and visiting real estate offices.

On top of that make sure you use of all of your existing connections (family, friends and co-workers) to spread the word that you own a cleaning business. You need to do a little bit of everything to have success. Make up a weekly marketing calendar and set aside time each day to perform a specific task.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janelle February 21, 2016 at 10:42 am

I have a customer who is rarely completely satisfied with our cleanings. She always has a complaint about something. She was one of our first customers and said she keeps using our service because she likes me on s personal level. She is such a headache though! What is your advice on this situation?

2 Tom Watson February 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

Hi Janelle! That is a tough one. I’ve been there, and all I can say is… “Is the monthly check from this person worth the trouble?” I almost always just took the money and put up with the grief (I was a real glutton for punishment).

3 Raymon Samuel February 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm

On that form that you was going to send me? I never got it.

4 Tom Watson February 21, 2016 at 7:28 pm

I’m getting old. Remind me. What form was I going to send?

5 Ruben February 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Hi there Tom,

Sice I opened my cleaning business in November last year, I have only bid and cleaned apartments only.

Today I was offer to clean an office once a month, but not sure how to bid for it.

Can you give me some tips..

Thank you

6 Gerald Arnoult February 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Hi Tom

This is a topic you have already probably discussed. I found a small account that was interested in my cleaning service but won’t give out a key. I have decided if I don’t get a key it’s not worth it, it causes a scheduling problem, can’t be every were at the same time. This is my 2 cents.

7 Tom Watson February 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm

That is a HUGE question. It’s best to give me a call on that. I’ll point you in the right direction.

8 Tom Watson February 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Hi Gerald! I think I’ve covered that in the past, but it’s worth re-visiting. THANKS! (I agree… no key, no service)

9 Ruben February 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Whats the best number to reach out to you Tom.

Thank you

10 Tom Watson February 29, 2016 at 9:35 am

It’s on the contact me page.

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