How To Get Clients For a Cleaning Business (Detailed Guide)
Anybody who wants to get clients for a cleaning business knows it doesn’t just happen.
It doesn’t matter what cleaning services you sell or if you are starting a cleaning business. It doesn’t even matter what size your business is. The cold hard truth of it is if you want to make more money, you can’t compete with others in your market.
Because when you compete, what you’re really doing is mixing down at the lowest common denominator – the price. If you’re obscure in your market, your price, value and package doesn’t matter –…because you don’t stand out… and your prospects don’t know you.
However, when you dominate a market, when people know who you are, you can charge more, have more credibility and be more visible as an industry leader.
Before joining the cleaning industry, I was happy in my cushy sales and marketing position with a huge international 5 star hotel chain.
Travelling the world, big pay checks, great conditions, and customers who absolutely loved what I was marketing and selling – in fact, it never felt like I was selling anything to them – gorgeous hotels in fabulous locations – who wouldn’t want to do that!
A dream job.
So imagine that moment when my husband asked me to come and join him in our family business – an office cleaning business that, by the way, wasn’t doing particularly well.
I was torn. I loved my job, the people I worked with and all the great perks – but I knew that if we really wanted to enjoy financial freedom and success, the two of us joining forces would be the quickest route to achieving those goals.
So I jumped in and joined Nancy’s Cleaning Services, and it was a steep learning curve. I had to learn pretty fast how to sell something that nobody really wants to buy. I mean, let’s face it; it’s hard to get excited about purchasing a cleaning contract when all you want is a clean home or office…
So I had to learn how to sell something that’s not very social or sexy – no one goes into the bathroom at work and thinks “wow, this bathroom is clean, I’m going to post a pic on Instagram, send a tweet out and put an update on Facebook,” right?
So, coming up with unique ways to promote and position our business became my No.1 objective. And in the process of which I learnt 7 things.
Seven things which if you do them well will ensure that your business will continue to grow week after week, month after month and year after year.
I’ve called these steps my 7 Principles to success, and by doing these 7 things really well, I took our business from a struggling mess with no systems or processes. If a cleaning business that isn’t sexy, selling a service that no one really wants to buy can do it, then I assure you, this system will work for you too.
#1 Principle To Get Clients For a Cleaning Business
You have to find the right tribe. Let me be clear here – when it comes to attracting prospects to your business, you need to make sure
you’re getting your message to your ideal clients – your tribe. I can’t emphasize this point enough – you can’t be all things to all people. If you try to market to everyone, your product or service won’t really appeal to anyone – you need to be thinking in terms of targeting a niche that you can dominate.
Your ideal clients are a group of people or businesses who will give you the best return on your investment, they will be easy to work with, they’ll stay with you the longest, and they’ll spend the most with you over the longest period of time. They’ll also be happy to refer
your business or service to their friends and associates, and write you testimonials…
Doing your research is the fastest way to find out who’s a good fit for you and your business. Take a look at your existing clients – who pays on time, is pleasant to deal with, appreciates your service and efforts, and refers you to friends and colleagues.
Chances are, they are your ideal client and therefore your target market. Go talk to them! Ask them why they like doing business with you – what is it about your cleaning business that they like, what are the ‘wants’ that you are fulfilling for them?
Imagine what your business and revenues would look like if you knew how to attract more customers like that?
Then compare them to other clients you currently do business with – perhaps they are difficult, maybe even punishing, to work with – they always want the lowest price, then pay you late, they’re always complaining or sending things back, and they’re never satisfied no matter what you do or say? Working with clients like that is a huge drain on any cleaning business and likely costing you a lot of money.
Remember that the reason a client is going to do business with you is to satisfy some want or need they have. Your product or service must solve some problem in their lives. If you find out what their needs and wants are, and then fill them better than anyone else, you will dominate your market.
#2 Principle To Get More Clients For a Cleaning Business
Identify their “Hot Buttons”
If you want success – you have to get attention! Once you’ve figured out who your ideal client is, then you need to create your marketing messages around their ‘hot buttons.’
Hot buttons are the problems, frustrations and concerns that matter most to people as they consider doing business with you – so what problem are you trying to solve?
For example, in the case of my cleaning business, the hot buttons for our ideal clients are – consistency, reliability, security, and high attention to detail. So, our marketing is created around providing solutions to those problems.
Remember, to be significant and to dominate in your market, you’ve got to be unique and different – and then focus attention on those differences by showing your prospects why they’re important to them – using social media is an awesome way to get this started, as well as landing pages, websites, webinars, etc.
#3 Principle To Get More Clients For a Cleaning Business
– Lead Generation and Capture –
This Power Principle is critical to your success. Once you’ve identified who you want in your tribe, and what their hot buttons are, with highly-targeted marketing you’ll begin to attract more prospects. The next step then, is how do you capture your leads?
Lead generation is complex – I’d need a whole book to write fully on this subject; however, there are some very successful strategies for lead-gen such as offering a free report, free webinars, etc. in return for a name and email address. The lead generation tool will typically be something which will be of interest to your target audience, and this will appear on your website:
- Facebook page.
- landing pages.
- advertisements etc.
This strategy works irrespective of whether your prospect is ready to buy right now or not, because it gives you an opportunity to build a relationship with them, to get that prospect to know, like and trust you, and to build value in the eyes of the prospect, by providing them with helpful information or insights on your product or service.
#4 Principle To Get More Clients For a Cleaning Business
– Automation leads to Domination –
If you don’t already use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) in your business, now is the time to change. One of my favorite tools is Infusionsoft.
In order to grow a business which is scalable, you need to leverage your time. In the early days with Nancy’s Maid Services we didn’t leverage our time well at all.
Here’s an example:
when we won a new client, I’d type up the new contract, put a welcome kit together, type up the label for the envelope, drive to the post office and stand in line to mail the package – it would take me roughly an hour to do all that. Then, I’d hope the client would sign and return it to me. If they didn’t, I’d have to go through all of that again. Not a good use of my time, and not very predictable results.
Today, when a client says ‘yes’, I can literally do all of that in a few minutes – with no visit to the post office. The whole process is automated from start to finish;
I’m using automation to leverage my time so I get time back into my day to get on with other things. You may not be ready for automation in your cleaning business just yet, but at the very minimum, having a standard, repeatable process for every step of your sales process is critical to your growth and success.
#5 Principle To Get Clients For a Cleaning Business
– The Personal Touches-
I love receiving packages in the mail. I don’t know why this excites me, but the fact is, receiving something unexpectedly is, well, fun. I recently purchased a book online through an author’s website – a fairly standard transaction that is, until the book arrived two days later, hand- addressed.
When I opened the package, the book was beautifully gift wrapped, with ribbon, and a hand written card from the author, telling me that she hoped I’d enjoy reading it (which I did).
Now, she could have had a fulfillment house ship it to me, and I still would have been happy with the book, but chances are I wouldn’t have been sharing this story with you now.
You see, that personalized interaction left an impression on me – she cared that I purchased her book, and she made an effort to make sure it would be enjoyable to not only read, but to receive. So the point here is, it’s all about the customer experience.\
How can you show your clients and customers that you care about them and their business and in the process, win a raving fan?
It could be something as simple as a hand written thank you card, remembering when their birthday is, or seeing an article you think they’d enjoy reading, cutting it out and sending it to them. What’s important is that you’re thinking about them – small gestures like these resonate, and they won’t cost you the earth to do.
#6 Principle To Get More Clients For a Cleaning Business
-How to up sell and get referrals and testimonials-
Success loves preparation.
So if you’ve followed the Principles, you will have attracted your ideal client, your tribe, who will know, like and trust your company, and you’ll be fulfilling their needs and wants, their ‘hot buttons,’ adding value and keeping in contact using personal touches along the way.
When you’re doing all of this, your clients will want more from you. At this point, you should be offering choices to them that will enhance your cleaning services.
The obvious extras are things like:
- carpet cleaning.
- upholstery cleaning.
- window cleaning
But have you thought outside of the box on this? Depending on your workforce, perhaps you could add car detailing – so while you’re at your client’s home, you could also clean their car. That’s 2 services, for 1 visit which = economies of scale, and a very happy homeowner. Or, if your business has a small upholstery cleaning machine.
Example: “while I’m here Mrs Jones, I noticed you had a stain on your couch, would you like me to remove it”
Now these extra services don’t all have to be provided by you. In fact, you’ll often make an easier profit when you are the co-ordinator of the service.
Here’s another example:
Your team clean a client’s home, notice a stain on the carpet, but your business doesn’t own a carpet cleaning machine, however you know a great carpet cleaner in your town who could do the work.
So, in this situation, you’ll need to have a trusted group of complementary service providers you can use torefer business to. This is known as an Affiliate network – where you refer to them for a flat fee per converted lead or a flat percentage of the work invoiced. So, you’ve helped your client by providing an outstanding customer experience, you’ve connected with another complementary business who can help you out in the future, and you’ve made some margin on the side (without having to use your workforce)….
Not bad.. If you’re working more in the commercial cleaning/janitorial industry, then your up sells and extras might be a little more like providing their on-site consumable items such as toilet paper, hand towel and soap. Or, when you’re in there doing a site visit, you notice they need something (did someone spill toner ink from the printer again?)
Instead of a customer site quality visit costing you money, it can quite literally, make you money. Customer site visits need to fulfill 2 roles.
The first is the obvious need to check quality of cleaning, and making sure your team are signing in and out and your client is happy. The second is a fact finding mission. What can you see (that they either can’t see or are too busy to do anything about?)..
Remember we talked about the Customer Experience a little earlier. Well how’s this for a great customer experience?
“Thanks for allowing me to walk around and do my quality visit – I was very happy with what I found, however, did you realise you have a large coffee stain on the carpet in the CEO’s office – it looks really bad when you walk in. Would you like me to get that cleaned up for you at
It will only be around $xxx, and we can just put that on next month’s invoice for you and the bosses office will look great after we’ve finished..?
What do you think they’ll say to that?
-Let’s do it.
Boom. You just made another sale and satisfied your client. Listen to what your customers say, and when you hear (or see) something that is a pain, frustration or concern for them, think about how you can use these new ‘hot buttons’ to up sell your services and add value to your
relationship with your client… it’s a beautiful thing, and it will increase your bottom
The greatest compliment you can get from a Customer or Client is when they refer you to others. Referrals are a big part of building your cleaning business and it’s important to have some strategies in place to make this process work for both your client and the person they referred to you.
Have you ever given a referral and heard nothing? I have and it sucks…
You wouldn’t rush to give another would you? Recognition is essential when you receive a referral – thank the person who sent the referral your way (I like to send a personalized card with cookies). You should also contact the person they’ve referred you to as soon
as possible, and set up a time to meet, or a discovery call as soon as you can.
Remember that referral business has a much lower customer acquisition cost, so you can afford to spend more time with them to educate and inform them.
One little thing I like to do is send out a Tweet to thank them for their time and interest – if your client or customer is a business owner, they’ll appreciate the mention.
If you think it will work with your tribe, perhaps a financial incentive would be a great way to get referrals – this could be in the form of gift cards or vouchers that both referrer and referee are given if the deal goes through (you will need to check with each company’s policy on this, as some organisations don’t allow these type of schemes).
Remember, referrals are something that you should be asking for on an on-going basis. If you don’t ask for them, you’ll rarely get them….
The best time to ask for a referral is after something really great has happened – for example, if you started a new cleaning job, called to follow up the next day and the client tells you how happy they are, that’s a great time to ask for a referral.
If they can’t think of anyone at that moment in time, then suggest they write you a testimonial instead – a few lines on how much they like dealing with your company, or the fantastic changes they’ve experienced since switching to your company – that will add credibility for your business when seen in marketing materials and on your website, and help you dominate your market.
Last Principle On How To Get Clients For a Cleaning Business:
Have you heard the saying that knowledge = power? It’s really only half true, because it’s the application of knowledge that gives you the real power – the steps that you take on a consisted.