The Six Reasons People Clean

November 19, 2007
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A big mistake cleaners make is not realizing that people clean for more reasons than “appearance.” And even if you realize it, you probably aren’t using that knowledge to your full advantage.

Understanding the emotional reasons people clean, rather than just the physical reasons, and using them in your sales and marketing can get you higher prices, set you apart from other cleaners and make you a lot of money.

In your marketing, have messages relating to the six reasons instead of just your services and what you do. For example, “Guaranteed Pet Odor Removal” obviously attracts those with odor problems. “How Healthy is Your Home?” appeals to the germ-conscious individual. If you do a newsletter – and you should – be sure to touch on each of the six reasons.

The way to use this valuable information in your sales presentation is to simply ask, “What prompted you to have cleaning done at this time?”

If the response is “company is coming,” then “events” is the primary reason. A good follow-up question would be, “When is the event?” Hopefully not tonight! If the carpet is really clean and they say something like, “I just want to feel like it is clean,” you know they are cleaning for health. I think you get the picture.

During the sales presentation, whether over the phone or on-site, you can relate each of your services and benefits to the reason they are cleaning. If they were told they need to maintain their carpet so it will last longer, and it is the primary reason for cleaning, use language consistent with that reason. For example, “Mrs. Jones, our 12-step cleaning program gets soil removed without damaging the carpet so that it will last a lot longer for you.”

Just the fact that you are listening to what they have to say will go a long way in building a relationship with the client. And when you take action – like being very careful what you touch and where you put your stuff when you have a client who is cleaning for “health” and is “germ aware” – using language relating to sanitizing will blow her away!

Reason No. 1: Events
An event could be mother-in-law coming into town, a party, graduation, a wedding or whatever. It could be the holidays are coming up, creating a sense of urgency that doesn’t exist otherwise.

Reason No. 2: Visible Soil
Another common reason for cleaning is there is some type of visible soiling. Whether it is a spot or a traffic area, or some other type of soiling, the primary reason is to remove the visible soil. We might also call this “appearance.”

Reason No. 3: Maintenance
Clients that clean to maintain the appearance and life of their floors and fabrics are the best. You are cleaning “clean” carpet, and there is not as much of an urgency factor. You should be very grateful for clients like this and those who trained them to think this way. A good example would be someone who is careful to maintain the warranty and get a long life out of the carpet. Perhaps when they bought the carpet, the salesperson did the right thing and told them how to maintain the floor.

In your marketing, be sure to educate your prospects and clients about the importance of maintenance. And I stress “in your marketing.” A lot of cleaners do a good job of telling a customer on the job site, but they do a poor job of having regular consistent marketing communications to get that valuable message out there. People have very little recall for the things you tell them. You must reinforce it with regular, aggressive education marketing.

Reason No. 4: Health
Some people just want to “feel” like their home is clean. Even though there may not be any visible soil, they know that something is lurking in the pile that is harmful. They understand there are invisible environmental soils present. This is something you want to educate your clients on as well.

Reason No. 5: Problem Solving
Occasionally something happens to a textile or floor that appears to be a defect or even soiling, but is actually a condition that can be corrected through professional cleaning. Usually carpet manufacturers will require service by a certified cleaning firm to see if the condition can be remedied before filing a claim. A good example of this would be “roll crush” on carpet. It can sometimes be corrected with hot-water extraction and grooming.

Reason No. 6: Odor Problems
And finally, pet odors, cooking odors, etc. create opportunities for us. Be sure to market your odor-removal services, and be sure to ask your clients whether their concern is the “odor, the spot or both” when it comes to pet spots. Be sure to address this in your marketing as well. One of our most powerful headlines of all time is “Free Pet Odor Removal.”

The way we clean urine spots often times removes the odor as well, so we put that in our marketing. After all, if we are solving a problem for free, shouldn’t we advertise it? You bet! Of course the “Free Pet Odor Removal” isn’t guaranteed, but will almost always knock the odor down to some degree.

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