You have a commercial cleaning business – you’ve done an excellent job in finding clients and getting them to work with you, and now you want to scale up your business and add to your client base. You now need to submit commercial cleaning proposals to clients, and if you really want to make sure clients select you then you need to make them stand out.
Anyone in the business knows that commercial cleaning is competitive. Taking a customer from a cold call lead to a sale is a long process, and competitors often come in with a low bid price for what you already know will be cut-rate work. You need to really emphasize and sell the value you offer in doing the job well every time, highlighting that it takes tenacity and the right approach to the challenge – and not just a low bid.
Make the benefits shine
Your commercial cleaning customers are just like you and me and everyone else; they want to know what’s in it for them. A clean office — or one that looks clean at a glance — is expected, but building value into why you take extra steps and why you commit yourself to do the job right can help your bid stand out from the crowd.
A common misconception is that the features outweigh the benefits, but actually the opposite is true. A feature is what your services are but the benefit is the result and the value for the customer. People want your services because it solves their problem. When you sell the benefit, you are not only selling the features of your cleaning business but also telling your customers how your service can improve their situation. Here are some tips on how to effectively sell the benefits of your cleaning business:
- Make a list of every feature of your cleaning company.
- Shortlist your feature and ask yourself why it should be included in your service in the first place.
- Then ask “why” and “how” it can help you connect with your target customers.
Simplify the industry terminology
When you take your car to the auto repair shop, it’s likely that the mechanic explains what needs to be done in plain English. There isn’t usually much talk about which wrenches are used or complicated details about how internal combustion engines work or the molecular properties of gasoline. The auto service writer simply explains the parts of the process that you need to understand before you agree to let them do the work. We all know the jargon that is unique to our own industry, but we may not know the jargon and terminology for every industry. Confusing terms or unnecessary information can put more distance between you and the sale.
When you write your proposals you may come across a fair share of overly complicated compositions that often result to nothing. Put yourself in the shoes of your client and use their language. Sometimes the information you provide can be difficult for your customer to understand and too much confusion could lead your prospect to hire someone else. Simplify wherever possible. Consider using a well-designed flyer that visually explains processes if there is a special service you offer.
- Ask yourself questions and answer them – even if they seem obvious. When you act like you don’t know something, you’ll be able to answer it in the simplest way possible, thereby eliminating the jargon in your commercial cleaning business contracts.
- Develop simple analogies. Ask more questions to make sure that you understand the answers to every question.
- Now that your client is familiar with the basics, you need to be specific with the details of your cleaning business contracts.
Send your proposal in a timely manner
Do you remember the last time you engaged with a salesperson? What happened if you didn’t hear from the salesperson for a week or for a month? Life went on. You got busy with this and that and probably completely forgot about the encounter or found another solution. It usually isn’t necessary to send a proposal the same day, but by sending your bid within a day or two you show your prospective customer how valuable their business is and set an expectation of professionalism.
As a small business, we often ask “When is the best time to send a proposal? The next day? A week later?” Before you can decide when to send, you need to identify the various scenarios. Here are some of those:
- Send proposals as soon as you know what your prospect wants. It is possible to send a proposal immediately after a walk through or a sales call. This gives you the opportunity to flush out all objections.
- Send proposals when you have identified all the decision-makers and have confirmed that they understand and agree with what you are offering.
- When you are involved in enterprise-level arrangements with many decision makers, influencers, and evaluators involved, the right time to send a proposal is often out of your control. This could take days or weeks but not more than 30 days. You are usually at the mercy of your client’s purchasing process.
Network and leverage related industries
Realtors and leasing agents can be great allies. Their new clients are often in need of various services and both realtors and leasing agents field questions about service providers, including cleaning service providers. Find ways to reach out to them by email or to attend networking events where you can make valuable contacts. Many people involved in office space leasing or sales would rather recommend a reliable service provider than not offer a solution to their client at all. This should go without saying, but be sure your staff knows the importance of quality work for any business that comes from referrals.
- Create a social media account for your janitorial services. Facebook, for example, allows you to connect with consumers with far more varied backgrounds than the people you’d meet on business-to-business websites. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can drive customers to your cleaning business and have a broader insight into your market.
- Exchange business cards with people you meet at sales meetings, conferences, and even those you encounter at lunch or dinner.
- Ask your colleagues and contacts to introduce you to people who may need a professional cleaning job. When other people provide introductions for your business, you expand your horizon through word-of-mouth – one of the most powerful yet free forms of networking your business.
- Join and be active in associations. We suggest you join at least two kinds of associations – one that is directly related to your business and another of a more general business nature. The first allows you to meet with experts in the market and the second lets you connect with entrepreneurs from all areas. Both kinds of contacts are very valuable for networking and leveraging related industries.
Target a niche
You’re probably pretty good at cleaning any type of space — but your customer isn’t interested in any type of space. They just want to know you’ll be an expert at cleaning their space. Bars or clubs may have different cleaning needs than a dentist’s office. If you already have a few clients in a given industry, consider building on those successes by targeting other businesses in the same industry. You’ll have instant credibility because you’re already experienced with the type of work you’re proposing.
- The cleaning industry has a lot of niche or market segments. You need to decide which market segments you would want to focus most of your resources on as it is easier to focus on a specific niche than doing multiple niches at once.
- For starters, focus on either residential or commercial cleaning, but not both as these two markets are very different from one another.
- A huge chunk of the market is formed of consumer cleaning, maid service, and professional home cleaning. It is an easy market to enter, and the agreements with the customers are less formal than those of the commercial sector.
- The commercial market is huge and many businesses require janitorial services for cleaning private or public buildings. Unlike the residential market, commercial cleaning services contracts are of a much larger scale, so make sure that you have enough staff and resources to clean large spaces in the most efficient time frame.