Editorial Comment: Leverage Your Opportunities
February 1, 2007
The first vacuum cleaner was developed by an Englishman named Hubert Booth in 1901. It was a monstrous device requiring several men to operate it, and a horse and wagon to pull it through the street. This ridiculous piece of equipment didn’t attract much attention beyond that of the curiosity seekers until a fortuitous event took place: Booth’s invention was used to clean the blue pile carpets laid in Westminster Abbey for King Edward VII’s coronation.
Almost overnight, Booth and his vacuum were in high demand, to the extent that, according to the historical record – and who am I to dispute the historical record? – wealthy women throughout the country would throw parties wherein the guests would – really, I’m not making this up – throw dirt on the various rugs and carpets, then sit back and watch the rugs be vacuumed.
So OK, times have changed, and the only people throwing dirt parties in the 21st century, much to their parents’ chagrin, are 4-year-olds and their friends. And had Booth not been invited to the Abbey, England’s social elite would not have done so in the early 20th. But he was, they did, and the world moved forward.
Within reach of every professional cleaner is the ability to leverage the same type of opportunity. Booth’s big break came at a coronation; once they saw Booth’s creation in action, it was the must-have service for all of high society. But take the stature of the event out of the equation: do you really believe it was anything more than wanting to keep up with the Joneses?
When discussing the job with your client, find out why she called. Are they throwing a party or holding some sort of gathering? If that’s the case, now is the time to leverage your opportunity: raise your already exemplary level of professionalism to new heights. Go that extra mile from vehicle appearance to the final presentation of the invoice. If there’s a party going on and you don’t think her home’s appearance will be discussed from top to bottom, you’re nuts. And the critical eye of friends and neighbors hones in on the slightest flaw. But if you can give her a floor as close to flawless as possible, it will be noticed just as quickly.
“Janet, your carpet looks fabulous. Did you just get it cleaned?”
“I did. Let me get you his number…”