Proven Janitorial Telemarketing Sales Call Tips!

“Janitorial Telemarketing” is very similar to “Janitorial Cold Calling” (which was discussed in my last blog post), except, you guessed it, you’re using the telephone.

 

Although nothing beats a face to face exchange, telephone leads are such an inexpensive and effective way to inquire about janitorial bidding opportunities that there’s no excuse not to devote a block of time (say, an hour or two) to this effort every week. Prospective janitorial clients are easy to identify from the yellow pages and local internet searches and spending just a few minutes on the phone can pay off in more than a few extra customers.

For most folks, the anticipation of making a cold call is much worse than actually making it. But you can’t help but get better every time you do… To get you started, here are a few basic tips that have paid off for me over the last two decades:

  1. Remember, your goal is simply to get information.   Just find out if the facility outsources their janitorial services, or does their cleaning in-house. And if they outsource, you want to find out how and when they accept janitorial cleaning proposals.
  2. And you’re not selling Time Shares…   You’re selling a “need” – every facility needs janitorial services – not a “want”. Again, you’re only asking if it’s outsourced, so, don’t be nervous. They literally need you to call them!
  3. What’s my line?   Something short and sweet. “Hi, I’m Drake, with (company name), could you please help me with some information?” Then pause for their response, which is usually,”How can I help you?” And then you’ll quickly get to your point – “Could you please let me know what procedure to follow to present a proposal to provide your janitorial services? Is there anyone there that I could speak with about that process or make an appointment with?”
  4. Have a script, just in case.   Although you’re only calling to get information, there will be times that someone will start asking about what exactly you have to offer. Have a note card handy so you can discuss your company’s strengths quickly and confidently.
  5. Put Cold Calling Lead Generation on your To-Do list.   Challenge yourself to make a certain number of calls per week. And if you have a receptionist or assistant, also have them make these “information gathering” calls throughout the day on their downtime. Assign a certain number of calls each day with a results form. And give them some bonus pay for a call that generates a bid. Everybody needs incentive!
  6. Best time of day to call:   Usually between 8:15am-4:30pm. Phones are usually staffed during normal business hours, but don’t call them the second they get there or minutes before they leave.
  7. Smile while you’re talking.Even though your telephone prospect can’t see you, your smile – even if it’s forced – will come across in the conversation. It may seem silly, but science tells us that it works.

Look, there’s no getting around the fact that cold calling of any type – janitorial or otherwise – is a numbers game… It takes x amount of “No’s” to get a “Yes”. But know that when you do get hear a yes, you’re going to wow them with your CleanlyRun.com proposal! And that’s how you turn a prospect into a paying customer!

Drake

8 Janitorial Cold Calling Tips!

Most people are daunted by the idea of a “Cold Call”. And when I use that phrase, I mean exactly that. A completely “cold” (in person) sales stop (where no one is expecting you). Nevertheless, janitorial cold calling can be a very effective way to generate janitorial bidding opportunities.

There is no substitute for talking to potential customers face to face and personally offering your services. On the downside, it’s time consuming and (can be, at first) uncomfortable. And very expensive if you opt to pay a salesperson to do this for you.

There are tons of books and seminars on this topic, but let me share what’s worked for me for the past three decades in the janitorial business…

  1. What’s your initial goal?   Initially, it’s just to get information; To find out if this facility outsources their janitorial services, or does their cleaning in-house. If they outsource, how can you get an opportunity to place a bid now (or at the time they take normally accept bids)?
  2. Remember, you’re not selling rubber chickens…   I say that to make the point that we’re selling a “need”, not a “want”. (Although, I do actually own a rubber chicken, not because I needed it, but because i wanted it.) Remember that every facility “needs” janitorial services. Only question is, do they outsource it or not. So, don’t be nervous, they literally need you!
  3. What about the “No Soliciting” Sign?   That’s there for the rubber chicken sales guy, not you! I’m not soliciting, I’m only getting information at this point!
  4. What’s my opening statement to this potential customer?   The first person you almost always see and talk to first is the receptionist. When I walk in, the conversation usually goes as follows:.*Me: “Hi, I’m Drake, with (company name), could you please help me with some information?”

    *Them: They almost always respond ,”how can I help you?”

    *Me: “Could you please tell me the proper way to get involved in the bidding process for janitorial services here? Is there anyone here I could talk to about that or make an appointment with?”

    Then they’ll tell you what you have to do. You might hear, “We take bids next month; Call Mr. So-and-So to make an appointment; Leave me some info and I’ll give it to the person in charge of that”. Then follow up accordingly!

  5. Keep it “cost effective”.   Do the sales calls yourself! If you have an effective Direct Mail Marketing program in place, you won’t need to go out very often anyway! Salespeople are expensive and cost you on day one. Even the huge national companies use them sparingly and rely mainly on marketing and open bid calls.
  6. Best time of day:   Usually between 8am-11am and 1pm-4pm. If you do get a chance to meet with the decision maker that day, avoid lunchtime and the end of day.
  7. Be prepared!   Similar to pre-bid walkthrough tips. Dress professionally , have your cards and brochures on hand. Be ready in case you’re asked to walk the building right then. It does happen a lot!
  8. Practice makes perfect!   An old adage, but so true. The more cold calls that you make and the more time that you put in, the better you’re going to get at it.

Try and have some fun with your cold calls! Relax, be friendly, meet some people, make some contacts… And remember that even “No’s” are a learning opportunity. But you will hear “Yes” too, and when you do, wow them with your CleanlyRun.com proposal!

Drake

Just Released! CleanGuidePro’s New Construction Cleaning option!

We know you love using our Janitorial Bidware to produce beautiful janitorial proposals in minutes. And we heard you when you asked for more…

CleanGuidePro is pleased to announce that our Janitorial Bidware now includes Construction Clean bidding!

This new option lets you bid quickly and confidently on the Rough and Final cleaning phases of a construction project. And the Workloading and Pricing screen (that we get so much nice feedback on, thanks) has a new option as well; Construction Clean bids can now price by the Square Foot (or Square Meter) in addition to the standard Profit Margin and Cost Markup options.

Best of all, this upgrade is free for our members. If you haven’t checked us out yet, try our 30 Day Free Trial and start winning more Janitorial and Construction Cleaning bids!

Drake

A Proven Janitorial Marketing Plan That Works!

To fail to have a Janitorial Marketing Plan is to plan to fail at marketing your janitorial business.  But a plan is only as good as the method(s) it employs.  And the best methods are the ones that not only generate the most customer interest/sales, but also do it in a cost effective manner. So where should you focus your limited marketing dollars?  Television, Radio, Billboards, Telemarketing, Hired Sales Reps, Newspaper Ads, Cold Calls, Direct Mail?

Three decades of janitorial business experience has taught me that the best marketing method is (hands down, no close second, leader of the pack) Direct Mail Marketing!  It’s cheap and effective and almost always generates a worthwhile response.

Now that you know the best method, you still need to choose the best materials.  “Marketing Materials” are your brochures, sales letters, flyers, etc., that include a a printed promotional message about your company, services and experience. They’re designed to generate a positive response from your potential customer. A response where they contact you and say “Hey, I received your company information and would like to speak with you about a proposal.”

But what kind of message gets such a positive response? Ah, Good question.  It’s got to be a message that transfers a feeling… A feeling of confidence that conveys to your potential customer that you’ve been there, done that successfully for others and can do the same for them! It needs to be simple, to the point, informative, and close with a call to action. Of course, the “right message” can vary for different services in our industry, but if you’d like see (free samples of) actual materials that I’ve mailed out to my own potential janitorial customers, I’ll have more on that at the end of this post…

Janitorial Direct Mail Marketing in Seven Simple Steps

OK, now you’ve got this great Marketing Plan and Materials to send out! Just one question, “Who do you send it to?”   Do you purchase expensive mailing lists, zip code lists, hire a marketing firm, or just mail to every business in the country?

Allow me to share a simple but effective Janitorial Direct Mail Marketing Plan that I developed for my business…

  1. Determine the types of buildings that you have experience with or want to go after. Then determine how far you’re willing to travel from your home or office to clean a building. 20 miles? 40 miles?  Factor in things like whether or not you’re just starting out and plan to clean everything yourself, or if you’re a bit more established and have the staffing experience to hire and clean in other cities. Only you can determine that mileage distance number.
  2. Now compile a list of 50-100 companies for each type of building that you picked in step 1. e.g. 50-100 Auto Dealerships, 50-100 Day Cares, 50-100 Medical Facilities, etc. You can easily create a list by doing an internet search for Auto Dealerships, Day Cares, etc.,  within a 25 mile radius of your zip code.
  3. Create a Target Customer list with the buildings you searched. An excel spreadsheet works great. Include in your headings, Building Type, Address, Any Contact info, Date Mailed, Mail-out Type, Result, & Comments.
  4. Establish a budget you’re comfortable with. Determine your cost per mail-out piece. My costs were usually in the range of 50 to 85 cents per mailer piece. With that in mind, and with a $200 month marketing budget, I could send out 235-400 mailer pieces a month. I averaged 2-5 responses/requests for bids per hundred mailed out. You can start out with $20 a month or whatever your comfortable with, but remember, this small monthly investment can pay off big!
  5. Mail them out! For your first mail-out to a building, put your marketing materials in an envelope with a hand written recipient address addressed to “Attention: Facility Manager (use an actual name and title if you have it). Also, hand write your return address, but don’t include your company name. Lastly use an actual stamp, not metered. Now mail it out. This way all but guarantees that your letter will be opened and looked at. After the first mail-out to this potential customer, you can use custom company envelopes, with your company name and metered stamping. Mail out to the same group, one time per month for 4-5 months in a row. Track your mail-outs and responses each month.
  6. Be PERSISTENT! Studies show that in Direct Mail advertising 80% of response/sales come after the 3rd-5th time being mailed out.
  7. Be PATIENT! You will get responses!

And when the responses start coming in, head on over to my professional pride and joy – the CleanlyRun Janitorial Bidding software (that offers a 30 day free trial) – and create a winning proposal!  Not only will you generate a professional, detailed and accurate proposal in just a few minutes, you can also take advantage of the system’s bonus Marketing Materials section.  Here’s where you can review the proven marketing materials that I’ve used to get countless responses over the years in my janitorial company.  Better still, you can customize these brochures and letters for your own business!

Happy Marketing!

Drake

Janitorial Site Supervisor Incentives That Work!

If you want to stay in the janitorial industry for very long – and you should because it can be extremely rewarding, both personally and financially – you’ll have to do the math.

Goal + Incentive = Happy Customer

There’s a lot to be said about the first part of the equation – your Goal – and I’ll talk about that in detail at another time. For now, suffice it to say that your goal is to maintain a high level of cleanliness for your customer at a profit. But as we all know, that objective is hard to consistently execute within a narrow profit margin.

That’s where the essential but overlooked second part of the equation comes in, an Incentive for your Site Supervisor. You might ask, “Why should I have to motivate someone to do their job? Isn’t a decent paycheck incentive enough?” Well, after 25 long years of dealing with hundreds of job sites and thousands of employees, I’ve got a short answer for you – NO.

I’m not saying that people are bad or lazy or ungrateful. But when I’m asking folks for above average and excellent work on a consistent basis, the carrot approach has more than paid for itself in my operations. (Just ask my happy customers.)

Any incentive program should be a Win/Win for both you and your supervisors. It should have numerically measurable results and your team should consider its targets to be reasonable and attainable.

Plus the incentive should be adequately enticing. Over the years, I found that nothing works better than a monthly, cash bonus. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does have to be green. “Attaboys” and name recognition in the newsletter are nice – and we issue plenty of these at my company – but those don’t cover the cable bill.

So, for those site supervisors that oversee cleaning crews of three or more people, I offer 3 simple bonuses.

  1. Cleaning Quality Bonus ( $25): Achieved via inspections. A written, quality inspection score of 90-100 earns a bonus of $25.
  2. Customer Satisfaction Bonus ( $25): Achieved via a customer satisfaction survey. A score of 90-100 earns a bonus of $25.
  3. Labor Under Budget Bonus ($2.50 per hour): Between 5 hours under budget and 20 hours under budget, a supervisor earns $2.50 for each labor hour saved (for a maximum payout of $50). Note: Attempting to save more than 20 labor hours per month at a job site will cut into quality.

As you can see, this isn’t an expensive incentive plan, maxing out at $100 per month, per supervisor. But my supervisors love it and the results are undeniable! I just wish that someone had told me early in my career, like I’m telling you now, how effective a simple little program like this can be. In addition to facilitating labor savings, my supervisors have embraced two key metrics – inspections and company surveys – as their score sheets. We’ve all gained quality and productivity and profits that we wouldn’t have attained without a motivation program.

Bottom line: A good janitorial site supervisor incentive program does not cost – it pays!

Get it? Got it? Good! I’d love to hear about any incentive plans that have worked for you or any that you’re considering…

Top Ten Tips – The Pre-Bid Janitorial Walk Through

In over 25 years in the cleaning business, I’ve participated in many (pre-bid) janitorial walk through groups and I’ve witnessed numerous bids that were lost before they were even presented.

The pre-bid walk through is your chance to shine. Make that happen by following these top ten tips:

  1. Look the part, dress professionally. Shirts with company logos are perfect and project a positive image. Or at least wear a nice shirt. Shine the shoes, comb the hair, iron the pants, etc. No shorts or flip flops. Leave the lip rings at home. And, oh yeah, If you’ve got a neck tattoo, wear a turtleneck. But all kidding aside, perception is reality… If you don’t present a professional business image, no one is going to entrust their building’s image to you.
  2. Be prepared. Have more than one working pen. Have a small working calculator and a pad for notes and calculations.
  3. Silence your phone, or better yet, turn it off. Your ringing phone says to the person who is showing you around their facility, on their time, that this walk through is not that important to you.
  4. The Be-attitudes: Be professional. Be polite. Be nice. Be friendly. Be thankful. Be yourself.
  5. Do a little homework beforehand. View their website, do a Google search. Know a little something about the facility that you’re bidding on. It always helps.
  6. Read any pre-bid package information extensively. Don’t ask questions that someone took the time and effort to spell out for you. Don’t be “that guy/girl” that asks – in front of multiple bidders – “um, who provides the trash bags, you or me?”. How will you feel when the facility manager responds, “That’s in the pre-bid packet you received. Did you not read it”? And what do you think the facility manager will be feeling about you?
  7. Do ask questions that aren’t spelled out in a pre-bid packet. Like, who provides the paper goods, trash liners, soaps, etc.
  8. Listen carefully to what your prospect says during the walk through. Take notes. Let them tell you what they’re looking for in a cleaning company. Like, “the last company never changed the can liners” or “they wouldn’t take care of issues quickly”, etc. And make sure that you take care of this customer if when you get the winning bid!
  9. Ask your prospect to let you walk the building on your own after the walk through to make some calculations, review some areas and take some notes. It helps you tremendously and tells them you’re thorough. I’ve never had any prospect tell me no.
  10. After the walk through, thank your prospect. Tell them that you appreciate the time they took to show you around. It’s amazing how many people fail to do this properly.

 

Now head over to your CleanlyRun Janitorial Bidware account (or free 30 day trial account) and continue to put your best foot forward… In just a few minutes, you’ll be guided through the creation of an extremely professional and accurate proposal that’s ready to deliver to your (impressed) customer.

Best method to increase cleaning production rates and profits

First, let’s define what a production rate is in contract cleaning terms. The production rate is simply how many total square feet are cleaned per hour.

  • An example is a 30,000 sq’ building that has four employees working 3 hrs each for a total of 12 hrs. (30,000 sq’ divided by 12 hrs = 2,500 sq’ per hr production rate.)
  • Or as a formula, (Total Building Sq’ divided by the Total Hours to clean).

The bottom line is higher production rates = lower labor costs and higher profits. Lower production rates = higher labor costs and lower profits.

 

This brings us back to our original question. What method? Well, let’s define the following methods and look at the pros and cons of each:

  • Area or Zone Clean: Usually best for smaller buildings, up to 10,000 sq’. When one person cleans everything by themselves, from restrooms, detailing, trash, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, etc… (An example would be two cleaners in a 2 story building with one cleaner cleaning all of the first floor and another cleaner handling the entire second floor). Pros: More pride and ownership of “your area” and accountability. Cons: Although fine in smaller facilities requiring one or two cleaners, this method is slower in larger facilities that require more staff.
  • Team Cleaning: Usually works best for midsize buildings, 10-15,000 sq’. This occurs when individual tasks are assigned to more than one person in an area or zone. i.e. One person cleans all of the restrooms, another person handles all of the trash, another person performs the vacuuming, etc… Pros: Usually 10-20% faster. Cons: Less ownership of areas that can lead to quality issues.
  • Combination Cleaning: You probably guessed it.. A combination of Area/Zone cleaning and Team cleaning that works best for mid-sized to larger buildings (over 15,000 sq’). Here, some cleaners clean a whole area by themselves and some cleaners do specific tasks like trash only or vacuuming only. Pros: Faster production rates, but doesn’t cut into your quality. Cons: Not much; Only requires a good, working, site supervisor overseeing quality.

Remember, it’s not about making all your employees run faster to increase production rates. That only causes burnout, resentment and quality issues. It’s all about using the most “Efficient Method” to clean the building. Efficient cleaning methods always equal higher production rates and higher profit$!