Many times, we are asked: “How do we establish a good repeat and referral customer base to keep business growing year after year?” Every professional cleaner in his or her heart believes they offer the best services, but truthfully it is your customers who will determine that fact. Over 30 years ago, I decided I must motivate myself and my customers to help me succeed in this fantastic business. I began writing down a step-by-step daily routine that we still use today to generate an on-going customer base that has greatly added to our success..
Step 1: All trucks, equipment, and uniforms/work cloths are nice and clean. An ample amount of chemicals, brochures, flyers, referral cards, door hangers, magnetic business cards, free giveaway spot & stain remover bottles, resale pet cleaner/deodorizer, suckers for the children, pet treats for the dogs & cats, etc. are all neatly stored for easy access.
* First impression means so much towards your business and your success.
Step 2: When entering each worksite politely introduce yourself and your company name. Do this with a handshake and a nice smile.
* This will create a friendly atmosphere toward your customer, and will also show a professional image every customer deserves.
Step 3: Politely ask your customer to walk you through the worksite and gather information on all areas that must be cleaned. Always ask your customer if there are any areas that need special attention, and you will treat these areas properly.
* This step offers your customer a little power and authority to explain their needs. It also will ease any tension your customer might of felt. This customer now realizes you are concerned about his/her needs, and you are ready to solve their problems.
Step 4: Now that we have all the information and know what needs to be cleaned, ask the customer if you can both sit by the kitchen table to make out the invoice for the exact price. At this time, hand out your brochure/flyer that gives information about your company and explains all the different services you offer. Let your customer know about any specials you are running. Then, ask your customer if you may place a magnetic business card on the refrigerator as a reminder in case of emergencies.
As you make out the invoice, never hard sell any services to your customer. Always make the customer feel at ease. Let them make their own decisions. After discussing any add-ons, present the total bill to the customer for approval. At this time, give the customer the opportunity to pay in cash, check, or by credit card. After their decision, have the customer sign the invoice to be paid when the job is completed.
* Sitting down with your customer at the kitchen table gives you the opportunity to have eye contact with your customer. You are able to place your brochures and flyers in front of them and explain the information. The kitchen table is actually a comfort zone. Lastly, accepting credit cards as a form of payment sometimes has the tendency to allow the customer to purchase more cleaning add-ons.
Step 5: Notify your customer you will begin bringing in your equipment and supplies to start cleaning. At this time, let your customer know you will be more than happy to give them a free estimate on any other services they may be interested in, after you finish with the job.
* This suggestion, many times, raises their curiosity.
Step 6: Once you begin cleaning for a while, always give your customer the opportunity to see the difference. Ask your customer if they would like to see the before and after results. Take pride in the quality of work you offer!
* Many customers just don’t realize how dirty their furnishings really are. This before and after result will put a vision in your customers mind that will make them think about other furnishings that probably need cleaning.
Step 7: After your cleaning job is finished, never pack your equipment away until you have asked your customer to inspect your work. Walk through the worksite with your customer and make sure they are completely satisfied. If a customer questions an area, touch it up immediately!
* Satisfied customers always become repeat customers. They also generate referral business.
Step 8: Clean & Pack away your equipment. You now have a completely satisfied customer. Approach your customer with a free bottle of Spot Remover and a bottle of Pet Cleaner/Deodorizer for resale (if they have pets). Take a moment and explain these products. Give your customer 10 referral cards, and explain the details how they will receive gift certificates for every referral that purchases your services. Show your appreciation to your customer by giving her a thank you card with a $5.00 gift certificate inside for future cleaning or to give to a friend. You are now ready to be paid for a great job done!
* Your customer truly appreciates their free bottle of spot remover. They also love the idea of Free Refills for a Year on Pet N’ Fresh Plus (See our website). Your customer also has an incentive to pass out your referral cards by receiving gift certificates for each referral. The thank you card with a gift certificate is an extra bonus for future cleaning. Your professional image has been proven to your customer!
Step 9: Before leaving the worksite, take a few minutes and pass out your door hangers to 25 to 30 neighbors. We pass out 2 types of door hangers per house:
1) A door hanger explaining about our company and the many services we offer.
2) A door hanger explaining that we have just cleaned their neighbors home.
* If you average 4 to 5 jobs a day, you will pass out between 100 to 150 door hangers a day, 5 day work week: 500-750 a week. This will definitely help get the message out for future customers.
Step 10: When all jobs are completed for the day, make sure the trucks are cleaned, equipment inspected, and supplies are added for the next day.
* Keeping yourself organized at the end of the day eliminates the hassle the following morning.
Step 11: If you have an answering machine, make sure you return any messages. Then, spend 1 to 2 hours every day to address postcards for direct mailings and to keep your customers’ reminder cards up to date.
* Sending out 250 to 300 postcards a week will drastically make a difference in customer sales.
Step 12: Choose your proper quitting time. Relax and put your business on hold. Tomorrow is always another day!
* Keeping consistent office hours gives you the ability to run your business more efficiently.
Special Note: Being motivated yourself makes it much easier to motivate your customers. Using the proper marketing tools will promote greater success. Perhaps it’s time to follow a daily step-by-step routine to generate your repeat and referral customer base.