Commercial Carpet Cleaning, Part 4

How to Beat the
Wintertime Blues Part 4

They said "Yes" so, now what?

1. Proceed to the logistics: Now that you have the client’s “yes,” either verbal or implied, quickly fill out your Job Profile form. Suggest that the customer and you take a quick tour of the job. This process does several things:

a. Shows the customer you have your act together: Even if this is your very first-ever commercial account you surely don’t want the customer to know it. Instead, give the impression that this is just a routine transaction where you now need the job data to fulfill your end of the agreement.

b. Clears up any misunderstandings: Now is the time to resolve any possible problems. As you walk through the job, pre-qualify potential problem areas and note them on the Job Profile form.

c. Meet your new contacts: Hopefully, the D/M will introduce you to the company employees you will be coordinating with. Be sure to exchange business cards with them or at least write down their name and contact information. Remember that some of these employees may view you as a threat. So make nice …

2. Get the key: I know the common opinion is a lot of businesses won't give you a key, but it never hurts to ask. (If you have to schedule the job and meet someone to open up you lose all scheduling flexibility. Even worse, every cleaning becomes a huge hassle for the customer. If you are an irritation to the client, you will not keep the account long-term. Instead, your goal is to “blend into the woodwork” and never put your services into question. You can’t achieve this without having open access to the building.

Get the key by asking leading questions. As you go through the Job Profile form, you will ask questions that subtly set the stage for the fact your people will be working in the building alone. "What lights should be left on?" "Who should we call if there is an emergency?" "Any special security arrangements I should be aware of?" Then as you finish up, just casually say, "Oh, and I'll need a key." At this point, you will hear:

a. “OK.” Wonderful. Mission accomplished!

b. "Uh, I'll need to get you a copy." Your reply: "You know, I was just on the way to our locksmith to get copies for some other new accounts," show them some loose, tagged keys in your pocket. "If you will loan me your copy, I'll return it to you within the hour." Be sure to give them a signed, pre-printed receipt for their original key. Note: If it is a “Do not duplicate” key many locksmiths will make copies for you if the manager just scrawls out signed permission on anything with the business letterhead.

c. "I'm not sure we want copies of our key out." Your reply: "I understand your concern, Bill. Many of my long-term commercial accounts felt that way when we started. For example, we clean (mention several established businesses you clean for), and they have all found that it is much more efficient and saves the salary of an employee if we have after-hours access to the building. Of course, if you want to come down yourself and help out, I could use a good assistant ..." (Much laughter here.) If you are dealing with the owner here, it's amazing how many will go along with this.

d. They say: "It is against our company policy to give out keys." At this point, you can either give in or explain that that is fine, but you can't give the discounted price unless you have a key. See what happens. At the very worst, you can always fall back …

e. Negotiate for the future: If you are willing to take the account in the beginning without a key, at least negotiate for access after you have proven yourself. “OK, Bill, I’ll give your way an honest try just so you can get to know us. But let me propose something. You try our services out for three months. Get to know our people. And then, I’d like permission to bring up this access issue again and see if we can work something out.

3. Get the contract signed: Assuming your D/M has stayed with you for all the above five steps, it is a foregone conclusion you have the job. So now casually mention, “Finally, here is the paperwork detailing our agreement.” Review it with them, showing where you have modified it based on their concerns/ comments. Give them their copy, shake hands, and get out!

Once you have the key, the contract, the permission, and a date to start, spending more time with the client can become a liability to you and irritation to them!

4. Never stop selling: Many carpet cleaners make the big mistake of getting complacent. After signing up a few nice commercial accounts, they slack off on their Dedicated Sales Morning routine and quit growing their commercial division. However, your goal should be to get at least enough business accounts to keep a full-time commercial route crew busy. (Remember, as soon as possible, you want to move those bad commercial hours over to someone other than you!)

Follow the steps detailed in “Beating the Wintertime Blues,” and you will no longer live in fear of ice, snow, and sleet. (Or lack of cash flow for whatever reason!) Instead, the regular profit that your commercial contracts provide will let you look forward to wintertime. All your new profits will let you jet off to Aspen to really get into the snow scene, or if you naturally hate wintertime, go someplace warm like Hawaii! Either choice is better than dreading the calendar!

"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday."

Napoleon Hill

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