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The quote is complete and the keys to their office are in my hand… yet when I walked in the door the first thing the office manager said was “We are getting a few other quotes this week.”
In 2014, when I started using technology in my commercial cleaning business, this was the norm. In fact, it happened enough times that I had to step back and assess (and now share) what was going on.
What I discovered is simple, repeatable, and is all tied to having conversations that are not focused on cleaning and supplies. It may sound crazy, but let me outline why spending more than 15–20% of the conversation talking about the supplies and methods you use to clean an office is actually detrimental to winning the contract.
Stop talking about cleaning!
The cleaning industry may be interesting to us, but sadly it isn’t of interest to our clients. I conducted research on 30+ of my clients and discovered major trends that solidified my process when quoting a new space.
Most of the people have hired another cleaning company in the past and have received quotes from multiple cleaning companies. This is a massive benefit because the potential client has heard the same conversations many times about each cleaning company having the best cleaners, cleaning methods, greenest supplies, and of course the best retention of cleaners and clients. Everyone says the same thing and this causes the message to lose credibility with the client. So, I didn’t focus my time here during the quote.
On top of this, it became clear that many of the office managers felt they knew what was required to clean their own office (often times comparisons were made to cleaning their own home). They simply wanted a company they trusted to consistently complete the tasks. So why bore them with a conversation around cleaning methods and supplies?
Reframe the conversation and the industry
Many sales people in the commercial cleaning industry are already on to these insights. They aim for relationship building and try to build connections through personal hobbies/interests. If you are able to quickly find a connection, it can help build trust, but it will come back to haunt you when negotiating price. The fact that you both have kids who play soccer does not position you well for negotiations, and can actually cause them to feel entitled to a discount because you now have things in common.
The way to make an impact on this prospective client is by sharing something that 1) resonates with their goal of hiring a cleaning company they can trust, and 2) is something they have not heard of before. I did this by showing them the technology that we created for our own cleaning company.
First, I ask them what problems they ran into with previous cleaning companies. The answers were always the same: quality issues, cleaners didn’t show up, supplies ran out, high turnover resulted in inconsistent cleaning, etc. Armed with this information, I showed them why my company was different: we use technology that allows cleaners to check in with GPS, we can send messages and report problems in any language and have the app translate it back to english, etc.
Once they smiled and expressed excitement (again, they are normally bored from conversations about cleaning,) the entire meeting shifts and it becomes far more enjoyable for both of us. It is like a sense of relief comes over them because they trust that my use of technology was the key to their problem. At this point, they run with the conversation and fill in the gaps about how all of the problems of the past would not have surfaced if the other companies used technology.
In this survey, it shows that 96% of business owners are influenced by the use of technology in a cleaning company when making a decision to buy.
Your sales efforts become a chain reaction
By avoiding the same conversation as every other cleaning company and shifting their expectations of the janitorial industry, it makes every conversation they have with your competitors boring, generic, and leaves them with a feeling that something is missing!
They can no longer compare apples to apples and this gives you leverage in negotiating price. In fact, when I was selling commercial cleaning services and clients pushed back I would ask if they had more trust in a company that manages with pen and paper or one that uses technology? They always agreed that less headaches for them was always worth more money.
The proof that your company is different
Technology is in everyone’s daily lives from reading the newspaper, ordering a taxi, booking a flight, or video calling people on the other side of the world. Simply showing them that your company is keeping up allows you to blow past all the other companies that are using pen and paper.
Are you able/ready to position your next quote like this or are your competitors reading this and deciding what category you fall under?
Want more great sales tips? Check out our Reframe Janitorial Workshops.