Don’t Automatically Agree

When janitorial business owners go out to sell their cleaning services, they should be reasonable, cooperative and even accommodating – but not a door mat!

Shooting straight with building owners and property managers about what is, and sometimes, more importantly, what isn’t possible, is a better approach than mindlessly agreeing to any request thrown at you.

Now, I expect some may feel following this advice of saying ‘NO’ now and then to a prospective customer is reckless at best, and at worst, a virtual fast track to sales disaster!

I understand.

I felt the same way in the early years of starting our commercial cleaning company – when I was so nervous and yes, desperate to land new accounts – I probably would have said yes to nearly anything no matter how ridiculous.

But, that was then, and this is now!

And now, I know better. And hopefully, you’ll know better, a lot earlier in the game than it took me.

You see, now I know, that if I

provide quality cleaning services to my customers, then, not only am I allowed to have limits to what we offer, but most prospects won’t mind that I have limits as long as those limits are reasonable…

and, I explain why they’re important!

In fact, when you explain the reasons behind your decisions (the WHY), you can actually increase your credibility with building owners and managers.

Doesn’t that make sense? Think about it.

If during the selling process, the cleaning contractor says “YES” to everything, it can begin to send the same unsettling message as when you’re interviewing applicants for a job…

and the applicant quickly snaps with “No problem!” to every-single-one of your questions. Don’t you actually begin to have your doubts about them?

I know I do. I mean, really, how can everything be “No problem!”

Wouldn’t you, in fact, select the cleaning applicant who answers your questions honestly and thoughtfully, even though it may mean they don’t always necessarily agree with you about everything.

You want the ‘real deal’. Your janitorial business prospects do too!

And the real deal is someone who is accommodating, while still having the confidence in themselves to occasionally say ‘no’ to some requests – some of the time.

Let me finish up with a quick story …

Not long ago, I was working on a cleaning program for a company in an industrial business park.

It was going well. The level of service was just what they wanted. They were convinced of our ability to take care of them, and we had worked out the numbers too.

But then, they called back just prior to giving us the go ahead, with one last request – to see if we’d clean them during the day – specifically between 2 PM – 4:30 PM.

Well, I had to say ‘No’ – it just didn’t fit into our plan for consistently delivering service and maintaining quality.

So, after I respectfully said ‘no’, I took the time to explain that..’I wished we could provide our cleaning services during every possible shift, but that we simply couldn’t.’

I went on to explain that we’ve been able to grow because our customers can count on us to show up, deliver a quality service, and check our work – every time!

‘To do that’, I continued, ‘we need to have our managers and supervisors be active in training our people and inspecting our work. And,for us, those managers and supervisors are scheduled in the evening starting at 5 PM.’

‘While I hate to say no, I’d rather respectfully do it now, and explain the reasons why, than let them down later.’

So what happened? What’s the end of the story?

You guessed it…. we got the account!

Prospects are always “sizing you up”, “checking you out” to see if you’re the real deal.

You Can Do This, You Really Can!


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