Upselling your services is an important part of building a profitable business. Every customer costs to money to acquire, so it is important to get as much return on your investment as possible. That’s what upselling is all about. At the same time, there are limits, research shows that when the bill goes over $500.00 in carpet cleaning charges in a residential setting you’re chances of having a negative response from the customer is much greater than if your billing rate is in the $250.00 – $350.00 range. (Service Monster Data) Other key elements to profitability and success are repeat business and referrals. New customers typically cost you 66% more to acquire than getting an existing customer to buy again. You could win the battle of upselling, but if you over do it, you lose the war of retaining a long term customer who will tell their friends about the great job of cleaning you did.
Never forget why you are in the home. The customer needs your help. Their furnishings are soiled and they have called you as the expert to solve the problem for them. The same is true for upselling; the services you provide must do several things.
- What you do must be in the customer’s best interests.
- The customer must need the work done that you are offering.
- The customer must feel good about the experience of having you in their home servicing their furnishings.
It’s important to note the word “customer” is repeated several times and the word big and bold. It’s not about you, it’s all about the “Customer” and as long as you keep that in mind with everything you do, your chances of success are pretty much guaranteed.
Ease into it
Don’t be too eager to upsell the customer. Take your time. Use your senses, look around, be observant, smell, feel and open a dialogue with the customer before you start telling them what you think they need. Earn the right to ask the customer for additional business. Then use phrases like,” I was noticing”, or use a question like “I see you have ceramic tile in your in kitchen, how have you been taking care of it? This may lead to a conversation, if it doesn’t; it’s probably an indication that they are not interested in discussing it further or hearing a sales pitch from you. If they seem receptive and enter into a conversation or ask questions, then continue the discussion and let them know that you may be able to service those items and possibly at a special price being you are already in the home. Go about your work, leave the discussion alone for a few minutes so they have time to think about it, then come back to it again and ask if they’d like you to check with the office to see if you’d have time to take care of any additional needs they may have while you are in the home today.
Education is Needed
First you need to be knowledgeable about the benefit of the services you provide and second, in many cases, when it comes to up selling, you’ll need to educate the consumer on the why and benefits to them of having the extra work done. This can be a cost savings, less disturbance, not needing to reschedule, or can be along the lines of prevention and getting a longer useful life out of the surfaces or furnishings when they are properly and regularly maintained. Other benefits that are strong motivators relate to maintaining a healthy indoor environment (especially when children and pets are in the home) that is free from tracked in soil, bacteria, odors, pollen and dust.
Take Your Time
When you are able to upsell a job, go the extra mile to make sure the customer doesn’t feel like they have been taken advantage of. Spend a little time touching up the work you’ve done, clean up the truck a couple of times, go back over surfaces again, make a few extra drying passes, pay a little extra attention to the detail work and finishing up the job. It’s critical that you make sure that the customer feels like they got their money’s worth out of you. This relates not only to doing a good job, but in many cases it relates to how long you were in the home. When the invoice creep up over the $400.00 amount, slow down a bit and make sure you’ve given them several hours of hard work.
Not Always Today
Just because you are selling today doesn’t mean that the customer is buying today. Some people want to think about it, other need to check with someone else or may be on a budget. Your secondary goal is to do everything you can to assure that when and if the customer needs additional services, they will think of you and be able to find you. Leave behind a couple of business cards, or a refrigerator magnet or other long term useful promotional item with your name, number, website and email address on it.
Encourage the customer to call you with any questions or issues they have. Let them know that you want them to be totally satisfied with the services you have provided and are available to help with any cleaning needs or questions they have. Take the time to point out that you have written your personal cell phone number on the back of your business card. If you have a referral incentive or follow up discount program let them know the details.
Say Thank You and Show Respect
Be gracious and let the customer know you appreciate the opportunity to be allowed into their home to provide the services they need. This means covering your street shoes with booties, introducing yourself and providing a business card before entering, asking rather than assuming things, and handling gently any personal belongings you come in contact with.
Think ahead of problems, don’t set or lean equipment, hoses, tools or chemicals on tables, chairs or against walls. Don’t bang or slam things around, turn off and stay off your cell phone, be aware noises that may startle children, pets or adults and act as if your mother is watching your every move. Say thank you clearly and look the customer in the eye when you speak. If you are dealing with a man, shake his hand firmly when you thank you him for his business.
In today’s competitive market place it is not enough to simply do a good job, or have the lowest price, or even satisfy the customer. You must go beyond good, to great. Every customer you deal with needs to be excited about what you’ve done and how professional you are. You goal is to turn every customer in to a raving fan for life.
Tomorrow is Here
Everything you do is changing faster than you can keep up with. Ongoing training and education is a requirement for anyone who want to be at the top his or her game. If you don’t keep up with changes in technology, surfaces, processes and customer expectations, you will be replaced by those who do, and it will happen a lot faster than you think. It’s not that you can’t do it, in fact you must do it or in a few short years you will feel the financial impact of now staying on the cutting edge of the changes taking place around you.
Side Bar # 1
Tips for Staying Out of Trouble
I’d estimate that over 95% of the claims, redos, lawsuits and problems I see cleaners get into are preventable. Most are due to misunderstandings and a failure on the cleaner part to properly communicate with the customer regarding realistic expectations before the work is done.
Follow these simple steps and you can eliminate over 95% of your problem jobs and customers.
- Inspect and qualify the job – be honest, what can you do, what can’t you do.
- Take before and after photos – Use a small pocket camera or smart phone.
- Ask Questions – Involve the customer and your supervisor if you are unsure.
- Communicate –Talk and put things in writing on the work order and get a written authorization to begin the work. This will help protect everyone and prevent most misunderstandings.
Famous Quote (anonymous) “What you say before you start the work is known as education. What you say after the work is done is known as an excuse. The more education you do, the fewer excuses you’ll have to make.”