Management / Web Exclusive Features

Ask Steve: What’s the Best Way to Get More Commercial Carpet Cleaning Accounts?

It can be intimidating making sales calls and meeting with company executives about your services.

November 21, 2013

man cleaning carpet with extraction toolHi Steve,

You told us during the Denver “Strategies for Success” seminar that signing up long-term, regular contract commercial carpet cleaning accounts was a huge help in your business. I am positive this type of account would also really help my company.

But Steve, I have to tell you I just don’t think I can do it! I don’t have the skills to get out there and talk to these high-powered business people.

After all, Steve, I’m just a carpet cleaner with no money, no education, no sales experience and therefore zero self-confidence! So I don’t think I can put on a slick presentation for these super successful business owners and managers. What can I do?

-Fearful in Frisco


I understand your concerns, Frisco. And I do remember telling you during SFS about my regular commercial contract carpet cleaning accounts. (When I sold my company, we were doing over $30K per month in “guaranteed cash flow” accounts which sure helped me sleep better!)

But you know what, Frisco? The funny thing is when you say you are “a carpet cleaner with no money, no education, no sales experience and therefore zero self-confidence,” you could be describing me almost 40 years ago! So sure - I was scared to death when it came to making sales calls on people twice my age and twenty times my income! And yet I personally developed virtually all of those almost $400,000 per year in regular commercial accounts! So as a scared kid how did I do it?

1. I swore a solemn vow: That’s right - I promised myself (and more importantly my dear wife!) that I would devote one morning a week to nothing but making new commercial sales calls. I picked Tuesday morning which became “Steve’s DSM” (Dedicated Sales Morning). And yes, a million things threatened to sidetrack me every Tuesday, especially since in the beginning (just like you) I dreaded and feared selling. However, consistently making 15-20 sales calls on that DSM every single week meant…

2. I got the “law of large numbers” on my side: The challenge is most carpet cleaners will suck it up, walk in to a few prospective accounts, get turned down and give up and salve their hurt feelings with a few margaritas at the nearest bar!

Now don’t get me wrong, Frisco. I like margaritas as much as the next person! But not at the cost of my family’s future financial security! So for me the margaritas were for celebrating signing up a big regular commercial account - not avoiding my selling commitment! Sooo…

3. I focused on the first 30 seconds: I mean think about it - the first 30 seconds where you screw your courage up to walk into a new business to meet an intimidating prospect is the scary part! But if you know exactly what you are going to say, it is so much easier and far more effective than stuttering and stammering around! Once I had my elevator speech prepared…

4. I just “got ‘er done”: That’s right, I walked in with a smile on my face. Of course, the salesperson/receptionist (who initially thought I might be a customer) would ask, “May I help you?” I would smile while looking them in the eye and then …

5. I would use the “bemused confusion” tactic: So when the “gatekeeper” asks, “Can I help you,” you look them in the eye, smile and, with a sense of humor, reply, “I’m not sure. Maybe you can help me to know if I’m in the right place or not.” (Now your gatekeeper is intrigued- time to set the hook!) “You see, my company specializes in keeping the business floors looking clean all the time with our ‘stay beautiful’ program. Would I talk with you about this or is there someone else in the company that looks after this?”  Bingo! Once I had my initial contact hooked …

6. I would simply interview my prospect: As you talk to them, fill out a form listing their answers. Then when they mention a problem area, just ask, “Could you show me?” Once you can involve your prospect in a tour of the premises, they likely will schedule a demonstration with you and of course you will blow them away and get the account! Congratulations!

NOTE: Using my Commercial Carpet Analysis form will help gain you respect during this process. For a free copy of the SFS Commercial Carpet Analysis form, just write me at and put the phrase “ICS CCA” in the subject line.

Now the above six steps don’t look too hard, do they? So let me know how your first “DSM” goes! And more importantly, your second and third and fourth and fifth and… well, you get the idea. Never, ever stop doing your DSM!

Now let’s just “git ‘er done!”

 NOTE: Steve and ICS want to consult for you! For a personal reply write Steve HERE with your questions, problems, struggles and challenges!  Your help is on the way! A new “Ask Steve” will premiere in the ICS eNews every Thursday. Register to receive it by clicking here

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