- THE MAGAZINE
Have you ever held a job where you get a call from the boss and he says in a gruff voice, “Please come to my office.” Most of us get just a little afraid in these situations. Will he yell at me? Did I mess up? Or worse, is he going to fire me?! Most of the time, he just wants to tell you that you're doing a good job, but does have something he wants you to improve on.
That is me today – you are doing a good job but I want you to come into my office (imaginary as it may be), sit down and listen because I’m going to help change your life. I’m going to make it easier and put an additional $10,000, $50,000 or maybe even $100,000 into your pocket over the next 12 months. I normally talk to you about gadgets, but nothing I have ever talked about is as effective at helping your business as the two concepts below.
Let me explain how giving personalized spot removers to your customers, along with offering carpet and fabric protector, can really take your business to a higher level. We employed both of these strategies and grew from a part-time cleaner with a portable extractor to a four-truck operation in a few short years (nothing compared to what is out there now, but pretty good for little ole’ Utah). At the time we sold our carpet cleaning business, we were doing over $500,000 a year in carpet and fabric protector applications.
The Give Away Spotter
Among all the tools you deploy to market and retain customers, there is one that stands out as what I believe to be the most effective, inexpensive and simple. Yet, you may not be deploying it for some reason or another. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so I want to help you with an easy business building concept.
Here is a simple outline of why you should give your customer a spotter bottle with your company information printed on the label:
- Your customer often forgets your company name soon after the job is done. Give them something they will use that is valuable and has your name on it and they will not forget you. The customized spotter fills this need perfectly.
You will clean their carpets more often.
- When your spotter is of high quality, the customer will love it. They will find reasons to have you come back and clean, just so they can get more spotter!
- When they take out a carpet spot, it will leave a clean spot and they will notice how dirty the overall carpet is. There is your name and number on the bottle and they will call you.
- You are giving extra value. If you would like to build strong repeat customers, give them more value than they pay for. The spotter will be an unexpected bonus for them that they will really appreciate.
- These spotters also work very well on most clothes and upholstery. If they start using it as a laundry pre-spot, be prepared to supply them extra quantities.
- The spotter easily leads into other maintenance cleaning products you could offer your customer. Perhaps you have cleaned their tile and grout or refurbished their hardwood floor and they have asked, “Now what should I use to clean it?” Professionals are now discovering extra income potential in making these additional products available to their customers.
Should I Sell it or Give it Away?
Let me answer that question by reflecting on my own experience. My brother and I were in the carpet cleaning business just a couple of years when we decided to implement a carpet protector program to offer our customers. We felt like this excellent protector warranted charging a high price. In order to get this high price we had to give extra value, so we offered a one-year warranty with the application of the protector.
The warranty stated that if the customer had a spot or spill, which they could not remove, then we would come out and remove it at no charge. Of course we did not want them using just any old cleaner from under the kitchen sink, so we bottled a professional spotter with our name on it and gave it to them when they purchased the protector application.
This was a very effective and lucrative program. The offer of the free spotter helped to sell protector and, of course, they now had the spotter with our name and number on it so they would know who to call.
To our surprise and delight, the spotter started to become the draw for having cleaning done. Our customers would talk about the spotter as much as they did our cleaning service and neighbors would call to have carpets cleaned but not before making sure the spotter would come with it.
So my answer to whether it’s better to sell it or give it away? It doesn’t really matter - just make sure that every customer has a bottle when the job is finished. Some use it as a bonus gift if they buy protector or reach a certain volume of work. Some offer it in the beginning for $10.95 a bottle, but end up giving it to the customer as a “thank you.” Others stick to their guns and sell it only. Just make sure your customer gets a bottle.
I know cleaners who have received referrals resulting in thousands of dollars worth of work because of one bottle of spotter given to a regular customer. I hope you’re taking advantage of this simple and inexpensive client retention giant.
Offering Carpet and Fabric Protector
It truly pains me to see a professional who doesn’t want to offer extras because he doesn’t want to pressure or make customers feel uneasy. This may sound like a professional attitude, but may I suggest that it is just plain dumb, especially as it relates to protector.
· Customers are already sold on carpet and fabric protector. Their carpet, upholstery and even their grout came to them protected. Billions of dollars have been spent convincing your customer that protection is essential on their carpet – remember Stain Master?
· Protection in carpet is degraded as it wears, soils and is cleaned.
· Not offering protector to your customer is unprofessional!
“But I am not any good at selling, and I don’t like to be sold to” you may say. You are sold to in dozens of ways each week. The best salesmen are selling to you and you don’t even know it. You tend to like them or the product so much that your purchase makes you nothing but happy and you never feel pressured.
You can do this with protector and you don’t have to be a salesman. You only need three things:
1. A voice: Speak up and let your customer know that carpet at this stage needs to be protected. You offer the best protector available. (Note: there are simple scripts available from your supplier that go into more detail. Ask for them.)
2. A paper brochure or video brochure: Again, these are available from your supplier and they help to give your customer a feeling that your offering has value and is real.
3. A demo kit: This is a biggie! This separates those who sell on 30% of their jobs from those who sell on 80%. Don’t demo with a blotter card, but with real carpet or fabric. It takes five minutes but can return $100’s per job. Our techs were required (assuming the customer agreed, and they did on 95% of the jobs) to demonstrate protector on all jobs – thus the $500,000 a year in protector sales for our company when we sold it.
Most importantly, when you offer a quality protector the customers love it. They love knowing their carpet will not soil as quickly. They love knowing that stains will not set and can be easily removed, hopefully with the personalized spotter you left with them. And, they love you because you took the time to explain and demonstrate this wonderful product.
Finally, your family has increased love for you because you can work less and make more money. Applying carpet, upholstery, leather, grout or stone protector should give you an average of $400 per hour profit. Try turning one hour a day into protector application and watch the stress of financial pressures begin to ease. I have done it and thousands like you are doing it every day.