Why People Clean and Why You Should Care

July 7, 2009
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Do you know the six reasons people have their carpets cleaned?


Back in 2007, we took a look at the six reasons people have their carpets cleaned. You’d think knowing these reasons would be an important part of dealing with your clients, yet a surprising number of cleaners can’t tick off more than a couple of them (reasons, not clients). Therefore, it’s worth taking another look.

If you think that customers clean their carpet just because it is dirty, you are about to learn one of the biggest lessons you have ever learned in carpet cleaning.

There are actually at least six different reasons that people clean their carpet. Do you know what they are? If so, are you using this information to your full advantage?

I will share with you what the reasons are and how to use that information to make your customers happier, sell more jobs, and do a better job marketing your company, which in the end will make you more money.

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.

The best part is, you can use this information on the very next call you take!

Reason No. 1 - Events

An event could be mother-in-law coming into town, a party, graduation, wedding, or whatever. It could be that the holidays are coming up, and this event creates a sense of urgency that doesn’t exist otherwise.

Reason No. 2 - Visible Soil

Another common reason for cleaning is that there is some type of visible soiling. Whether it is a spot, traffic area or some other type of soiling, the primary reason is to remove the “visible soil.” We might also call this “appearance.”

Special note: Many times customers will communicate in terms of spots or soil, but they are really cleaning primarily for another reason.

Reason No. 3 - Maintenance

Clients who clean to maintain the appearance and life of their floors and fabrics are the best. You are cleaning “clean” carpet! You should be very grateful for clients like this and to those who trained them to think this way. A good example would be someone who is careful to maintain their 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 they needed to maintain it.

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 there that is harmful. They understand that 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.

Reason No. 6 - Odor Problems

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.

Far too often, cleaners just start giving out information without digging a little to find out the real reason for cleaning. If you don’t connect with the reason someone is cleaning, even if you get the job, you may not get the lifetime client you are looking for.

So be sure to connect with the reason for cleaning so that your customer knows you care about them and want to give them an outstanding service experience.

Here’s the first way you can use these six reasons to make your customers happier and close more jobs. When you take a call, ask this question:

“What prompted you to have cleaning done today?”

Now, listen closely to what they say. In sales, the more you listen, the more you sell! If they talk about an upcoming event, find out as much about the event as possible. Hopefully it’s not happening tonight!

After you have gathered all the information you need, share what you can do to ensure that she will be ready:
  • If the reason is visible soil or appearance, find out as much as you can about the areas of concern. Once you have gathered enough information and not before, share specifics as to how you will deal with the soiling issue.
  • If the reason is maintenance, find out their specific maintenance goals. For example, some people know they need to maintain their warranty. You can talk about how your cleaning exceeds the manufacturer’s requirements and how your cleaning prolongs the life of the carpet.
  • If the reason is health, find out if there are any specific health concerns and share how your cleaning addresses that particular issue.
  • If there is a warranty issue, potential claim, or any type of problem-solving opportunity, be sure not to cross the line of “professional cleaner” to “inspector” (unless you are an inspector and you are getting paid to inspect the carpet). Some of these problems can be solved with professional cleaning, so again find out as much information you can.
The last thing you want to happen is for someone to call up for cleaning, assuming that cleaning will solve the problem, whatever it may be. You want to be aware of what you are getting into so that your customer is totally wowed by your attention to detail.

Finally, uncovering the need for odor treatments can solve a lot of problems ahead of time instead of allowing it to be overlooked until you get on the jobsite. Remember, customers assume cleaning will take care of the odor, while it may not. In closing, the more you ask, listen and work to uncover the real reason for cleaning, the more you will be able to connect with your client, the happier she will be and the more money you will make through closing the job, creating a lifetime client and earning referrals.

Next month I will discuss how to market to some of these reasons. Until then, my passion is your phenomenal success!

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