The Most Profitable Sale Ever

November 8, 2010
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I find it amazing that so many owners will take months to train their techs how to clean, but only minutes on how to up-sell. The up-sell is the most profitable sale you can make, because it costs nothing to get in front of the client. You are already there; you don’t have to spend any money on advertising or gas. It is show time, and your opportunity to make the big bucks.

Many times, owners will say that it is OK for their techs not to up-sell because they don’t want them to be “pushy.” The truth is, your techs are not giving good service if they are not up-selling. The client deserves to know about carpet protector, that you can clean their upholstery, tile and grout, Oriental rugs, etc. If you don’t mention that you perform these services, her carpet may not look as good as it could, or last as long. Worse, she may end up having Bubba’s Carpet Cleaning do the job (and not a very good one) instead.

Here are some things to consider regarding the art of the up-sell:

Train Your Techs and Provide Them with Scripts

They don’t have to memorize sentences but they can have bullet points about each service. For instance, when they talk about carpet protector, they can mention three important benefits of it.
  1. It coats the fibers which can protect the carpet from stains such as Kool Aid and other nasty spills. As it coats the fibers it will help prevent abrasion (or wear) enabling the carpet to last longer and look better.
  2. The average carpet lasts about eight years and with protector you could possibly double the life of your carpet. Quite a savings over the years.
  3. The protector will also help your carpet keep its color by keeping the dye sites intact.


Have Them Practice in Front of You

Have them practice until they have perfected it. If that means they have to do it 50 times, so be it. Then take them out on the job site and let them watch you do it right. Afterwards, they can do it in front of you at a client’s home.

They have to get it down and do it right. Too much money is involved. If they simply can’t do it, they can go work somewhere else, unless, of course, you don’t like to make a buck!

Encourage Your Techs to Ask Questions

Any good sales person will tell you that the best method for selling a product is to engage the prospect and ask them questions. “Mrs. Jones, are you interested in doubling the life of your carpet? Great, let me tell you about carpet protector.” “Have you ever had your upholstery cleaned?” “That’s a beautiful Oriental rug! Did you know that Oriental rugs can hold up to eighty pounds of soil? Would you like us to take it to our shop and clean it for you?” “Would you like me to clean a small area of your tile and grout for free to show you how your tile could look?”

You get the point. Essentially, you’re leading your clients to make good decisions. Have your techs ask their way to a bigger paycheck and better service for your clients.

Perform an Upholstery Soil Test

I would be willing to bet that your techs hate to clean upholstery, and therefore are terrible at up-selling it. You can change their mind about upholstery up-sells, because all they have to do is vacuum it.

Have them do the white towel test. Place a white towel over the end of the vacuum hose and then put your upholstery tool on the hose. Vacuum three to four strokes over the piece of upholstery, and then take the upholstery tool off. The white towel will now be black. It works every time.

Ask the homeowner if they knew that they were sitting on so much soil. Then ask if they would like to have their upholstery vacuumed at a 50 percent discount off the regular cleaning price. Both your clients and your techs will love this process.

Pay Your Techs a Nice Bonus for Up-Sells

In our company, the techs make minimum wage and an 8 percent bonus of the job total. We run one-man trucks. When they up-sell, they make a 12 percent bonus. If you have two-man crews you can pay them another rate, but make it worth their while to up-sell. It is the most profitable job you have, so give them a chance to make some good money for themselves as well as for you.

In addition to the bonuses, consider contests with prizes or cash for achieving established goals. It is best to have goals that fit each tech rather than having them competing against each other. Also, it is a good idea to have a contest where the total company sales goal comes into play; this will result in a team spirit along with higher sales.

Add Services

We are so fortunate in this industry to be able to add other services to increase our volume. Take advantage of this fact and consider adding the following services to your company if you already haven’t. Why not add tile and grout cleaning, sealing and re-coloring? How about Oriental rug cleaning; upholstery cleaning; odor removal; marble and natural stone restoration; leather cleaning; wood floor cleaning and/or refinishing, or duct cleaning? Additional services could include drapery cleaning, commercial cleaning including encapsulation cleaning, water and fire damage restoration, and window cleaning.

Don’t forget to offer a maintenance agreement to all your clients, and give your techs a bonus for signing them up.

Put a Tracking System in Place

Track your techs’ up-sells and post them for the entire world to see. We have plenty of 8x4 dry erase boards in our office, and one of them has the up-sells for all the techs for the current month (you can get 8x4 dry-erase boards at your local hardware warehouse for around $11. They are also sold as shower walls!). With one glance at the board, everyone can see who is producing and who isn’t. Talk to those who aren’t and find out what the problem is. If they can’t up-sell they need to find another job, because they are providing poor service and costing your company thousands of dollars. No excuses please; this is a business, not a charity organization.

Set Goals and Do All You Can to Reach Them

Don’t miss out on the most profitable sale ever made. Be determined to make this aspect of your business a huge success and watch your bottom line take a dramatic turn for the better.

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