How can I get regular accounts?

Question: Can you give me specifics on how to ‘sell’ contracts?

Steve’s solution: Quit trying to ‘sell’ and focus on becoming a consultant sincerely looking to solve their challenges with ‘zoned cleanings’. (And get ‘open access!)

Hey Steve,

This is Obsessing in Ohio writing. I’ve been working on some of the things I learned in SFS class. So I decided to call on some past customers to practice my “cold call” pitch. Can you weigh in with some solutions (or even ideas) on how I can improve? (Not to mention moving these accounts into a regular contract format.)

Absolutely. In fact, I’m just delighted to see you are actually DOING some of the things we talked about! (Too many people don’t!) So let’s pick apart your prospective accounts and I’ll weigh in bold print.

Here are a few jobs I am looking at:

1. Customer is a conference Center of about 6k sq ft. that has 2 large rooms with 2 entryways and a long hallway. I clean with a Cimex and charge them $750.00 per cleaning. They go about 1 year between cleanings and never call me, I always have to call them.

2. A high end cafe restaurant that only has carpeting upstairs and the stairs. Again I use my cimex and it takes me about 1 to 1 ½ hours. I did it about 8 months ago and I had to call them to remind them and schedule it which is what I want to get out of. The price is $250.00 per cleaning.

My first question, Obsessing, is what do both of these accounts NEED? Once again, morph into a “consultant” and see where you can help them maintain their “appearance level” better. The traffic here may be so low that they don’t need a more often cleaning. If so, leave ’em on an “as-needed” basis, plan to call them and keep moving. That is the secret of my Dedicated Sales Morning concept where you are contacting 20 new prospects every week. Get the Law of Large Numbers on your side.

3. This is a new customer that I am working on quoting. It is a sports bar type restaurant and only has about 1100 sq ft of carpet. I met the General Manager who started last September and she says the carpet has not been cleaned since she has been there. The price would be around $300-350 per clean.

So how do the carpets look? Ask her if you can do a “test area”. This sounds a lot better than a “demo”. (Which reeks of being a “high-pressure presentation”.) Now once you do your test area she will be amazed at just how dirty the carpets really are based on the contrast. (Which of course is how people perceive soiling- contrast!)

Then it comes down to (no surprise) “options”. For example, you could say, “OK, Mrs. Jones, we can wait till the carpets are bad like they are now and then resurrect them and I’ll charge you 350.00. OR we could put them on a regular cleaning schedule and save money while keeping the appearance up and the carpets will last longer too.”

Then just ask yourself how long the carpets will take you to do on a regular schedule and you might say “Instead of charging you 350.00 for a ‘resurrection cleaning’ I can do them every month at a 40% “Open Access” discount at 200.00 per cleaning which means you will save 140.00! Or I can do an every-other-month cleaning for only 262.50 for a savings of 87.50.”

You get the idea. Don’t forget to use the phrase “Open Access” which later you will use to “get the key”! For these regular accounts to work ya gotta have the key!

My question is how do I take a small account and ask them to pay $25.00-35.00 per month to keep clean as opposed to $250.00 every 9 months? I would really like to get these restaurants because I know the owners and they have more locations too.

As you know, Obsessing, I love the “one low price” monthly Stay Beautiful residential concept. BUT many businesses prefer to pay on a regular basis but based on the cleaning frequency. So it is all about giving them options.

For example, you could take your Commercial Carpet Analysis form and add a few “accounting questions”. For example: “Do you prefer a regular pro-rated monthly billing cycle? Or we can just give you discounted prices based on a more regular “zoned” cleaning schedule and bill upon each service? Which would work better for you folks?”

Steve, I also have a lead with a property management company that manages a large conference center here. One ballroom is 23k sq. ft. and the other one is even bigger. I met the lady briefly with another carpet cleaner that asked me to team up with him on the job cause he is too small to handle the whole account on his own. Then he didn’t get it cause he bid way too high- .17 a sq ft! (It should be more like 8-10 per square foot encapsulating with my Cimex.) Someone from my BNI group is contacting this PM to ask permission for me to call her. How should I approach her and how should I sell her on the Stay Beautiful program?

The key on all of your recommendations should be “zoned” REGULAR cleanings. Sure, my guess is at .08 to .10 cents per foot you will make money like a bandit with Cimex with a one-time-only cleaning. BUT that isn’t what you want. Instead, “consult” with these folks and develop options based on doing some open areas (such as the ones that come out of the kitchen) on a monthly basis and then other areas every two months and then maybe the entire place every three months or four months, etc.

Now add up the total for ALL these proposed cleanings over a year and then divide by 12 and that is the monthly amount you offer them for their carpets to “Stay Beautiful” forever! This concept really works better with the larger accounts like this conference center.

Digest this stuff and get back to me, Obsessing.

Best wishes,


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