The contract cleaning industry is very competitive. This means that the potential client is forming an opinion about you-and comparing you with your competitors-from the minute you walk in her office.
To make the best impression when meeting with a potential customer, contractors should become aware of proper “walk-thru” etiquette, says Terry Sambrowski, executive director at the National Service Alliance. Among her “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to walk-thru etiquette:
- Do be pleasant, courteous, patient, and professional with the receptionist; often, the receptionist will be asked about his/her impression of you.
- Do dress in proper business attire. This no longer means suit-and-tie, but instead wear conservative and appropriate professional clothing.
- Do carry information about your company, but present it after the walk-thru is over. The meeting always starts with your potential client discussing his/her thoughts, concerns, and cleaning needs.
- Do point out areas in the facility that could use more attention … but do it tactfully. Instead of being critical about soiled grout in the restroom, say: “We use a new machine (technique, cleaning solution, etc.) that’s perfect for cleaning grout areas.”
- Do ask if the client is taking bids but only if they contacted you; however, phrase it like this: “May I ask you why you contacted me? Are you taking bids?”
- Don’t ask how much they are currently paying for janitorial services; this is none of your business and prospects do not like being asked this.
- Don’t ask what their budget is for janitorial services; this is just another way of asking what they are paying.
- Don’t ask what company is currently cleaning the facility or how long it has been cleaning the facility; again, it’s none of your business.
- Don’t criticize the current appearance of the facility or the cleaning currently being performed; that is your prospect’s decision to make.
“While we don’t want to criticize the current [cleaning] contractor company or the service it is performing,” says Sambrowski, “it can work wonders to offer helpful suggestions. Even if you are not hired, this prospect will remember where those helpful suggestions came from.”
Terry Sambrowski is executive director of the National Service Alliance LLC, a group purchasing organization for larger building service contractors and related businesses in the U.S. email@example.com