It’s usually about the money—and the budget—but not always.
The commercial buildings you target as clients for your cleaning service, whether small offices or large, multi-story facilities, are managed by professionals who make decisions the same way you do. A variety of sales triggers influence them to choose a specific company.
Depending on the building you are targeting, you are selling to anyone from a receptionist who has influence on who gets the job, to a full-time facility manager with years of cleaning management experience who will run you through the figurative ringer until it hurts.
How you approach them varies greatly, but remember they are not only potential clients, they are consumers as well, and have similar daily concerns about issues just like you do.
While there are many successful methods to selling cleaning services to the commercial sector, here are three that should be top-of-mind when attempting to land new business.
Define Your Target
How you approach a small one-floor office building, such as a doctor’s office, will vary greatly to how you approach a 50-story facility that may host a Fortune 500-type company.
While the receptionist in the doctor’s office may be a great way to start, and you most likely want to spend some time with that person in your selling process, it won’t be that way with the larger facility. There, you need to get past what we typically coin the “gatekeeper.”
Understanding who you are selling to is vital. For smaller potential clients, your approach may be more personable, touching on the human element of decision making. For the larger potential clients, it may be more about the numbers, the budget, and the schedule and process of working that particular job so you take stress off the facility managers and be their problem solver.
While a nice box of candy or some give-away gimmick for the receptionist at the doctor’s office may get you face-time with a decision maker, you won’t get far trying that tactic with the hardened and savvy gatekeeper in the 50-story facility. It’s her job to protect her people, and protect she will. You are better off being honest and asking for her help in getting in the door.
Selling your services outside the traditional marketing or cold-call systems will get you great results, if done properly.
Networking is a tried-and-proven method for earning valuable face time with decision makers. Whether this is at a community meeting or—even more valuable—a structured networking program such as a local chapter with Business Network International, discussing what you can do for potential clients outside the pressure-cooker of an official sales call can work wonders.
Be prepared. It’s amazing how many times a business owner or marketing professional for a cleaning service will give you a blank stare when you ask for a business card.
Know what you are going to say when selling your services—but don’t just sell. Be engaging, be social. No one likes to be “sold to” so don’t do that. Be a provider of what they need, and even better, a consultant. If you get your potential client to view you as a consultant or information source, you are in.
Sell the Team
You might think the best way to sell your services is by explaining how good you are and how no one cleans as well as your company does. Here’s the problem: Every cleaning company says that. You need to be different.
When you get the face time you need to sell your company to a client, concentrate on who will be doing the work. Talk about how great your workers are, how they will treat the property under their care with respect, and how they respond to suggestions and complaints.
To seal the deal, mention another facility you clean and ask your potential client to reach out to the facility manager there and ask about your staff. Be sure to ask permission from your current client and get their buy-in to do this as a favor for you. Most people want to help others, when asked. It’s human nature. Just as it’s natural to want to do your best at promoting the benefits of your cleaning service to potential clients.