Ten Tips For Cold Calling In The Cleaning Business.

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by Suzanna Watson on September 10, 2010

As you guys and gals are well aware, I do my fair share of networking for our cleaning business.

On the whole, networking gets me many leads to follow up on.

Sometimes an event will yield very little, while other times I may get several leads to pursue. The ones I do get I usually follow up on by a phone call.

Once you get your feet wet making calls, you learn really fast how hard the tele-marketing business is. The outcomes are not always good. In fact, it can get downright ugly at times. With that said, you need to keep plugging along!

Consider my most recent attempt at making calls. The other day I made 10 phone calls to doctor and dentist offices (I received the names of the doctors and dentist from referrals).

I had a phone script all written and ready to use for this series of calls (which I thought was pretty good). My script was concise and to the point, or so I thought!

I started by stating the benefit of my phone call rather than trying to sell my services (after all, the whole point here it not to close a sale, just to generate some interest). Even though I did use the name of the person giving me the referral, I realized no one (on this list anyway) wanted to talk about their cleaning needs unless they already had a problem.

This was dis-heartning at best, but a little rejection will not slow me down! I will continue to reach out to as many leads and referrals as I can get. If the phone doesn’t work then I will send out a sales letter for them to read at their leisure. To be honest, I send them a sales letter no matter what they say on the phone because they may just hate to be bothered over the phone.

At the end of the day, just keep refining your message and learn from each set of calls. Don’t give up! Remember, it may take 100 phone calls to get one acceptance. It’s a numbers game and you must make a fair amount of calls to get some interest.

My approach has always been to make a series of 10 to 20 calls at one sitting (avoid making the calls on Monday and Fridays as people are too overwhelmed on Monday and looking forward to the weekend on Friday). You are able to really get into a groove this way, plus making 10 or 20 calls does not really take all that long.

Just think, in less than an hour you would be able to be really productive, and on a good day you maybe able to schedule a meeting or two which could result in landing an account. Trust me, the effort is worth it!

What keeps me motivated on these calls is the fact that much money can be make by landing an account. On a job that you profit $200.00 per month, you would have made a call that would put $2,400.00 in your pocket. On a job that nets $500.00 you put a cool $6,000 in your bank account in a year!  

Not bad for making a few calls huh?

Here are some tips on cold calling that will benefit you greatly. These cold calling tips are quite simple to implement (the best advice usually is!). Review the detailed description of each cold calling tip below the graphic.

Cold calling techniques for the cleaning business

# 1 Focus on the goal when cold calling.

Beginners tend to think that cold calling is about making the sale. It’s not about that at all. It’s about getting the chance to make the sale. Specifically, the purpose of a cold call is to set an appointment to make the pitch at a later date.

# 2 Research your markets and prospects.

You need to target your cold calling to the right audience. This means you may not use the same script for calling a doctors office as you would for calling a shipping company. This gives you a huge advantage of being able to talk about their business and their needs when you call them.

# 3 Prepare an opening statement for your cold call.

This lets you organize your thoughts before the call takes place. It also helps you avoid common mistakes in the cold call opening statement that would give the person you’re calling the chance to terminate the conversation. For instance, don’t ask, “Is this a good time to speak to you?” or “How are you doing today?”

Don’t read your opening statement into the phone, but use it as a framework to get the cold calling conversation off to a good start. Structure the call along these lines.


  • A greeting and an introduction.
  • A reference point (something about the prospect).
  • The benefits of your product or service.
  • A transition to a question or dialogue.

Consider this example:

“Good afternoon, Ms. Davis. This is Bob Smith with Green Clean Janitorial Service. I read in the local paper that you recently broke ground for a new office complex. We specialize in commercial cleaning services that will allow you to reduce in-house maintenance costs and improve the overall appearance of your facility. I’d like to ask a few questions to determine whether one of our programs might meet your needs.'”

# 4 Prepare a cold calling script for the remainder of your cold call.

Work on laying out the benefits of your service and the reasons your prospect should buy. Write out any possible objections and your answer to them. Without this cold calling script, it’s too easy to leave something out or let the conversation wander.

Remember, it’s not that you’ll be reading your script word for word when you call, but that you’ve prepared the framework of the cold call in advance.

# 5 Ask for an appointment at a specific time when cold calling.

How you ask is very important!

This way works: “Would Wednesday at 11 a.m. be a good time to meet?”

This way does not, as it just invites a big fat NO: “Can I meet with you to discuss this next week?”

# 6 The gatekeepers are your allies not your foes.

Be pleasant to whoever picks up the phone when cold calling. Work on strategies to get the gatekeeper on your side. Sometimes asking, “I wonder if you could help me?” act like magic words!

These magic words help you get the information you need, such as the name of the right person to talk to or when the best time to contact the prospect is. Learning the names of gatekeepers and being friendly when cold calling helps and is a good business practice.

 # 7 Send your prospect a small unique promotional item.

This paves the way for success. It also helps you break the ice and stand out from your competitors. We send magnets, which are great because no one seems to ever throw away a nice refrigerator magnet. Simply add it to your direct mail piece and send out a week or two before calling. When you call, they may say, “Oh yeah….you were the one that sent me that…”

# 8  Do your cold calling early in the morning, if possible.

That’s the best time to reach the decision maker directly, and for most people, the time that they’re most energized and willing to entertain offers.

# 9  Be persistent when cold calling.

Here is a little know fact. Eighty percent of new sales are made after the fifth contact, yet the majority of sales people give up after the second contact. This means you need to keep forging ahead!

# 10 Practice, practice, practice.

Though cold calling may never be the joy of your life, you can get better at it. The more you practice cold calling, the more effective a sales weapon it will be. So get your script and your call list together and reach for the phone. The people who want to do business with you are out there! You just have to let them know about you first.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lindsey January 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I will definitely be putting your tips to the test. Thanks!

2 Tom Watson January 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Hi Lindsey!

You will be just fine, just keep at it as you’ll get better over time.

3 K.Danage January 31, 2012 at 3:44 am

This really helped me! Tomorrow will be our first day cold calling… Burrr! Heehee

4 Tom Watson January 31, 2012 at 7:20 am

Good luck!

5 jaider osorno April 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm

very helpful info.
i will be trying this tomorrow
what website like servicemagic.com are good or do you recomend
i am tire of paying so much money for leads w/ wrong information? please help

6 Tom Watson April 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I have heard similar issues from others about lead generation services, and that’s one reason why I don’t use them. I’m a big fan of creating my own leads through the use of flyers and other handouts placed in the areas I would like to service. It’s much cheaper plus I control the areas / region I work in.

7 hariom singh July 11, 2012 at 11:39 am

i want to know how cold calling is done for bank account

8 Tom Watson July 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hi Hariom!

I’m not sure I understand that question. If you can clarify it, I’ll be glad to help!

9 Susanah Asemota August 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Thank you for all your tips you made avaliable suzzana they are all so inspiring.I will act on some of them, and look forward to great success

10 Suzanna Watson August 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Hi! You are so welcome. Let me know how you make out.

11 Cold Calling Tips December 22, 2012 at 12:00 am

Thank you!

12 Rupwinder December 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi! Having read your tips, I’m a lot clearer on how I need to tackle those dreaded calls! Great page guys, thank you for sharing!

13 Tom Watson December 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Thanks! Good luck with it.

14 sales mastery February 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I think everything wrote was very logical. But, think about this, suppose you typed a catchier
title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, however suppose you added a headline that makes people desire more? I mean Ten Tips For Cold Calling In The Cleaning Business. is kinda boring. You could peek at Yahoo’s home
page and note how they create article headlines to grab people to click.
You might add a video or a pic or two to get people interested
about what you’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might bring your blog a little livelier.

15 Tom Watson February 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Hi! Can’t find fault with what you said. Just keep in mind that the post was written in the VERY BEGINNING of my site. Didn’t know then what I know now. I do thank you for the constructive advice though!

16 Brian May 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Tom,

Wanted to thank you for this post. Some of it I already knew, but some of it I picked up fresh from you. It’s great to learn new things and share experiences… especially in the harsh world of cold calling. We all have to stick together!

If you have anymore advice, please post it. I set the blog to inform me of new posts. Also, I will be beginning a campaign today to promote (and hopefully sell a little bit) of a green cleaning product I represent. I will put some of your tips to work for me for sure!

Thanks again!

17 Tom Watson May 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

Thanks Brian! I agree, we go farther by sharing what we know between us. Good luck with your efforts!

18 Shradha R June 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

This is excellent advice as I have been dreading the cold calls and feel ineffective most of the time. Additionally, I was wondering about the letter you mentioned. What sort of information do you put in it?

19 Tom Watson June 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Hi Shradha! I think I was referring to a sales ltter. I did a post on that (it includes a free download). Check it out here… http://www.cleaning-4-profit.com/2012/10/09/creating-a-sales-letter-for-your-cleaning-business/

20 Paul June 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hi Tom,

Do you have any particular cold calling script for calling Dentist’s and Doctor’s office?

21 Tom Watson June 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hi Paul! I would just slightly modify the example I used in the post, then EXPERIMENT to see what works best.

22 Messias Carvalho September 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for all your information. Some of it I also had to learn the hard way. Its a matter of trial and error. You cant be discouraged when a few people say no,eventually one will say yes. Just remember to back up your cleaning service to match your phone manner. Most people know how to talk the talk, but cant clean. I know for a fact because its those offices I canvas most. Its also a matter of being patient and waiting for the opportunity to prove yourself to potential clients. In this industry you have to remember that its the quality of your hard work, and not your phone manner that will keep your customers happy. Good luck to everyone…..

23 Tom Watson September 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Hi Messias! You are very right. If you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. THANKS for commenting!

24 James Renfro November 18, 2014 at 11:53 am


I have been all over the internet looking for tips to the trade….within a few minutes of reading your information I am ready to start calling.


25 Tom Watson November 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Hi James! I’m happy you found us here! Touch base if you need anything.

26 Anne Si February 1, 2015 at 3:52 am

Dear Tom, I’m glad to have found this post. I’ve started my home cleaning business a month ago and i’ve not close any account. As i’m not from the sales background, i find it very difficult to break the ice for the initial 20 seconds conversation. What more for cold calling when both parties doesn’t meet their eyes. Could you advice on this? Many thanks.

27 Tom Watson February 1, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Hi Anne! You will have to fight though that. I’m not terribly outgoing on the whole (I’m pretty shy in my personal life), but when it comes to business I OPEN UP. At the end of the day it’s part of the job description. I just BLURT OUT… “Hi, I’m Tom Watson with TC WATSON CLEANING. I own a cleaning service here in town and if you ever need anything, just give me a call”. Then I hand them my card. That’s enough to break the ice.

28 Wayne garcia March 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm

I love the site and podcasts! You are inspirational. I am a one man band cleaning company, with one good size account and lots of house closure clean outs. I will
Use these cold calling tips and try my best. Nothing to lose.
Do you actually clean yourself? What area are you based in?
Greetings from Oslo Norway!

29 Tom Watson March 14, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Hi Wayne! I missed your comment because it went to spam. Sorry about that!! I do have my own company, we clean commercial, do carpet cleaning and VCT floor care. I don’t clean myself, except for some carpet cleaning from time to time. I LOVE the fact you are from Norway… very cool! I’m in USA.

30 Daniel K I December 12, 2015 at 9:28 am

Worth every second i spent reading it. Kudos…..

31 Boaz April 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Thanks for the help with prospecting carpet cleaning clients. This information has been helpful.

32 Straight To The Source May 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

I was wondering if you could email me personally so I can ask you something regarding cold calling in a way but I didn’t want to post it because I didn’t want anyone to read it wrong or get the wrong idea of what I’d be asking.


Please and thank you..

33 Tom Watson May 29, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Just go to the contact me page and ask me there. I’ll get it.

34 Keshia July 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Hi Tom! Thanks for the information. Do you leave a voicemail if you do not reach anybody or do you just callback. I have been calling and then following up with a letter. Or is it best to send out letter first and then call. Thanks for your time.

35 Tom Watson July 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

Hi Keshia! Calling and leaving a voicemail is fine. If they are not there, there isn’t much you can do about it. Remember, it’s a NUMBERS GAME. Call as many as possible. Also, don’t forget to use the other ways to get customers… networking, handing out flyers, direct mail, telling family and friends to spread the word for you too also works.

36 Raffi September 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Thank you for your time. we need more people like you

37 Joanna horton February 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks, this does help me with cold calling.

38 Ernest Attah March 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

found this article very useful

39 Nick Ralph May 6, 2017 at 6:42 am

Superb advice that is also very practical. I am working on NOT feeling rejected when there is a “No Thanks!”. Best Regards, Nick Ralph, New Business Developer, from a Commercial Cleaning Company ‘across the water’ in the UK.

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