How to ‘prep’ your customers for extra-charge items.

Deep down inside we instinctively recognize it is just plain wrong to ‘upsell’ some items! For example, processes needed to take the carpet back to a ‘basic clean’ (like traffic lane pre-spray) shouldn’t be up-charged. (Same principle applies to restoration services too!)

But then we hit out-of-the-ordinary items that require extra time/work or much higher cost cleaning agents. Red dye stains come to mind! So here’s the challenge I used to hit during my initial walk-through with a home owner:

Me: Thank you for the tour, Mrs. Jones. Your basic cleaning which includes pre-vacuuming and traffic lane pre-spray, will $294.20. Then there are three red drink stains at $30.00 each for a $90.00 charge so your total price will be $384.20.

Mrs. Jones: Wait a minute! Doesn’t your cleaning price include taking spots like my kid’s drink spills out?

WARNING: Even IF you can talk Mrs. Jones into popping for the extra money she’ll likely leave you a nasty one-star review accusing you of being a dirty, rotten bait-and-switcher! Yep, it is time to….

Get ‘Phone Proactive’ on extra-cost items.

It is all about setting ‘clearly defined expectations’ BEFORE you do the job! These expectations should include both A) the desired/expected results and B) accurate pricing. The best way to do this? With a separate ‘onsite pre-inspection’ beforehand. (A good alternative is a Remote Video Pre-Inspection.)

NOTE: You’ll receive a step-by-step phone script for a Remote Video Pre-Inspection in our 3-hour, online SFS: Winning over your caller! LIVE seminar. Click HERE for more info or to register online.

Whether you perform a separate Pre-Inspection or do a ‘walk-through’ with the customer just before cleaning you must set your client’s expectations during the initial phone call, text, email, etc. So, do one of more of these ‘clearly setting expectations’ exchanges:

1) Explain what is included. For example,  “Mrs. Jones, your basic cleaning will include a thorough pre-vacuuming, a soil-loosening pre-spray of traffic lanes, pre-treatment of normal organic household spots, full hot water extraction and speed drying where possible. After this cleaning carpets with normal soiling will look great!”

2) Clearly define additional charge items. “Mrs. Jones, some spots and spills such as red Koolaid stains actually dye your carpets. To remove these stains requires a lot of extra time and very sophisticated cleaning technology so there is a discounted rate for these items.”

OPTION #1: Focus on the positive by charging a (much) higher regular price and then give a ‘travel discount’ when you say, “Since we’re already here working I can discount our normal red dye spill price of 49.00 by 40% down to $29.40.” Or…

OPTION #2: On multiple red dye stains offer a quantity discount as in, “Our regular price for a red dye stain is 49.00 each. However, since you have seven of them while I’m here I can knock off 50% per stain so you’ll save $171.50!” OR here is my preferred option…

3) Forget all of the above and charge more! One great option is to raise your prices enough to cover even the worst staining that you will (infrequently) encounter. Therefore, in the example above you would just confidently say, “Mrs. Jones, your carpet cleaning will be $384.20. This includes a thorough pre-vacuuming, a soil-loosening pre-spray of traffic lanes, pre-treatment of all spots and stains, full hot water extraction and speed drying where possible. After this cleaning your carpets should look great!” 

BENEFIT #1: Remember that most customers won’t remotely have the red dye stains waiting to ambush you at Mrs. Jones. So most of the higher pricing will be gravy for you! (This will definitely help you suck it up for the disaster at Mrs. Jones!) Plus…

BENEFIT #2: Your (much) higher pricing will likely move you into higher grade clients who don’t drink Kool-Aid and/or most certainly don’t spill it on their carpets! However…

4) IF you insist on pricing 1st time customers ‘sight unseen’. Set clear expectations by getting a handle on the problem BEFORE your tech shows up. If Your caller doesn’t want to (or can’t) do a Remote Video Pre-Inspection at the very least say, “Could you text me some photos of those stains you mentioned on our pre-cleaning interview just now? I want to make sure we bring the right items to remove them and also give you accurate pricing.”

HUGE BENEFIT #3: By asking prospects to text you photos you are gently forcing them to ‘invest time’ in this transaction. Besides ‘clearly defining expectations’ there is another big benefit for you here. The more time and effort your prospect ‘invests’ with you the more likely it is they will desire a ‘return on their investment’. And the only way to get this ‘ROI’? DO BUSINESS WITH YOU!

REMINDER:  You’ll always enjoy a great ROI on our SFS online LIVE seminars! Click HERE to learn more…


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