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Commercial carpet cleaning confusion?

Question: “How can I get started with commercial accounts?”

Steve’s solution: Download our free SFS tools, develop a written plan and “git ‘er done”!

Hey Steve,

I took your SFS seminar and really enjoyed it. I am now just getting around to starting my own commercial carpet cleaning business. I just purchased a Cimex and have also read the Reports on “Setting Up Encapsulation Routes” from Jeff Cutshall. So my big question is where we should start?  Obviously as you preach I want to lock up some accounts and contracts. I’m thinking movie theaters, restaurants and hotels. Thanks!

Getting Started in Phoenix

Good to hear from you, Getting.  And you can’t go wrong with Jeff’s stuff.  He knows what he is doing.  I’d also recommend you download my Commercial Carpet Analysis Form. This will help you structure your initial sales call in the form of an interview.

Now re: starting out the biggest thing is to JUST DO IT.  My son calls this initial indecision “paralysis by analysis” and so it can be.  Some of my best accounts I got just by “stopping in on a whim”.

On the other hand, it is always better to have a PLAN. I recommend setting up a set time schedule where you will do face-to-face sales calls each week.  (Without a cast iron schedule the dreaded “Displacement Activities” come into play where you are seduced away from your real priorities with “busy work” that you enjoy more!)

Once you have determined your target markets (the movie theaters, restaurants and hotels you mention are all great for encapsulation!) you must formulate an attack.  Some will say to send an elaborate mail campaign to soften up your prospects.  The problem?  99% of these expensive pieces will immediately go into your prospect’s “round file”!

Since you are just starting out you don’t have the luxury of time on your side.  (Do ANY of us have “time on our side”?  Really?)  You need work right away from commercial work!  Here are a few ideas:

1) Reach out to janitorial services. Especially with a Cimex you can remove the headache of commercial carpet cleaning from them by taking the work over completely and yet in many cases they can still make 30 to 40% profit right off the top.  You may get rejected but IF you get in with a few large companies this is steady cash flow and that is what it is all about in the beginning.

2) Go for the locally owned and managed companies.  Find sympathetic ears among local businesses, some of whom you may already patronize.  Sure, you should have a Dedicated Sales Morning (more about this later) but I got many of my accounts by never leaving home without a pocketful of business cards.  I would hand these out everywhere.  You just never know!

3. Get the “Law of Large Numbers” on your side. Most carpet cleaners make five, ten or twenty sales calls and then give up.  OR they sell a few jobs and then give up because they are “busy”.  You on the other hand are going to set a goal of how many new sales contacts you make every week and then NEVER STOP!  In my Special Report on Selling Commercial Cleaning I suggest for an existing business making 20 new contacts a week.  You likely will need to set your sights higher.  Track your calls and don’t stop- ever.

4.  Practice your “first 30 seconds pitch”. The first two minutes are the scariest.  So rehearse out loud what you are going to say.  Dress up, smile and look your prospect in the eye.  People need your services- you are there to help them.

5.  Embrace rejection. Getting rejected is just part of the process.  So thank people for their time, leave your card and move on to the next prospect you have mapped out.  (Be sure to always list out your sales calls ahead of time.  This way you won’t be tempted to get side-tracked!)

6. Never give just one price. I always gave the prospect options for several different contract cleaning schedules.  (Do this even when your prospect just says “gimme a one time price”!) The money in this business is made from regular accounts, not the one time cleanings.

Best wishes and let me know how you are doing,

Steve Toburen

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