Here are a few tips you can use to help you bid in a competitive and profitable manner on any size or type of account. In order to make a proposal or presentation that closes the sale, you have to be able to see things from the customers’ perspective. The best way to do this is to ask the right questions and to listen carefully to what the customer has to say. Add to this a keen sense of observation and you should be able to determine what the customer wants and needs to see in a winning proposal.
Tip 1. Quality Counts:
Sell quality service: Regardless of the price, every customer wants good service so they don’t have to deal with issues related to cleaning and maintenance.
Tip 2. Be a Professional:
Look, sound and act the part. A prospective customer is not looking for a friend; they are seeking a serious business relationship.
Tip 3. Satisfaction Guaranteed:
Be willing to stand behind what you or your staff does. Make sure the customer understands that if there is a problem with the service, you will make it right.
Tip 4. Great References:
Talk about and provide a list of current and or previous customers who will say great things about the service your company provides. Photos of buildings, with details as to size and length of service helps reassure a prospective customer that you can handle their needs.
Tip 5. Qualified Staff:
A short bio and photo, with information of special skills, training and length of service that key staff have, reassures the customer that you have the qualified staff and management needed to get the job done correctly.
Tip 6. Local Small Business:
Stress the fact that you are a small business owner who specializes in serving the needs of other local business owners and the community. If you belong to or support local organizations or events, be sure to mention your involvement.
Tip 7. Be a Specialist:
Talk up the fact that your company specializes in a certain type, size and location of accounts. Every customer likes to think that their needs and dirt are special and who they are dealing with understands these special needs.
Tip 8. Competitive Price:
You have to be competitive in the local market place. The highest price seldom get the job unless, no one else is bidding. Knowing your costs allows you to bid competitively and still make money on the account.
Tip 9. Other Accounts Nearby:
Let the customer know that you have other accounts nearby, which means you always have staff in the area to handle any special needs the account may have.
Tip 10. Personal Attention:
Assure the customer that their business is important to you and their needs will get your personal attention during the startup transition and for the life the account. Mean it when you say it and see that it happens.
Go for the Close.
You have to be able to “Close the Sale” at the same time you have to be careful to not over sell. Stop talking. Let the customer talk and ask questions, then ask the all-important question. When would you like our service to begin? If appropriate, ask for a signature on the dotted line or set up an appointment to bring the service agreement back for a signature and to work out the final details.
If you are having difficulty getting the customer to agree or commit to a start date: Ask the question, “What do I need to do to make this work for you?” Let the customer talk, don’t say anything. Now is the time to listen. If the customer is not responding or avoiding making a commitment, don’t be afraid to re ask or rephrase the question several times.
Sweeten the Deal.
In an effort to close the sale, be willing to throw in a bonus or a small discount. You want the customer to feel like he got a good deal, and sometimes a little extra will seal the deal. You can always say something like this; I’ll tell you what, if you are willing to agree to our service today, I’ll throw in _________________ (you fill in the blanks), it can be anything that isn’t too costly to you, but is something that will be of value to the customer. It could be a discount on the first month’s service or some free carpet cleaning or hard floor care. You have to be a little careful here, yet willing to offer something reasonable to close the sale while the irons are hot.
It’s More than Cleaning.
In today’s competitive market place you have to bring more to the table than cleaning services, customer often expect or demand more. Are you willing to support a company’s favorite charity, or does any of your staff have special skills or certification that would be useful to the customer. Is anyone on your staff a certified water or mold restoration specialist, or knowledgeable about LEED, green or sustainability issues.
You Can’t Win Them All.
You aren’t going to get every account you bid on. That’s the reality of the market place and not all accounts are for you. Generally speaking, if you don’t know how to bid an account, it’s not for you. Focus on what you can handle, take care of each and every customer you have and over time, you and your business will grow in skill and competency as well as profit.
Good luck and keep it clean out there.