Building On Customer Needs

Building On Customer Needs

My goal is to encourage cleaners to be experts in providing customers with optional services to better meet their maintenance needs and, in the process, to create a win-win situation for both the customer and the cleaning professional.

#1) To achieve information on the customer’s level of need it is necessary to ask “walk-through” questions such as:

A) How old is your carpet?

B) When was it last professionally cleaned?

C) Did they reapply a protective coating after protection application?

D) Will you give me a tour of the areas to be cleaned and point out any areas that need special attention?

These questions separate you from just any cleaner because if you ask correctly, you show concern for customers, while gathering technical information and putting the thought of “protective coating” in the customer’s mind. Many times this alone will start a discussion of optional services.

#2) After a thorough inspection work up a written plan, including compelling information availability to support optional services.

A) The best information I give people is directly from the carpet manufacturers. Example: “Dupont recommends reapplying protection in carpet care brochure #H-63253 Rev. 10/99. So I recommend what the manufacturer recommends.”

B) Use the customer’s concerns from the walk through:

a) Worn areas
b) Spills not cleaning up as easy as they should
c) Other special concerns

#3) I suggest listing two or three options of protection, and connecting them to customer’s needs and manufacturer’s recommendations to reprotect:

A) Wall to wall
B) Open areas
C) Traffic patterns or high use areas When you give your customers options, they will normally choose the one that best suits the need you have informed them of. However, do not oversell. You are a professional; like a doctor, you are giving them a prescription to keep the carpet easier to maintain and to lengthen its life. Be friendly!

#4) Your customers may ask you what you think, but do not be afraid to tell them how to save money. Moreover, let them know that carpet performance in areas where protection was not applied will differ from the areas where it has been applied.

Give them time to think, and answer any pros and cons they might ask you about. Credibility is important. How you sell options is as important as how well you clean. Your name and reputation, as well as your company’s, is a precious commodity!

#5) Closing the sale is very important.

If the customer cannot seem to make the choice, help them. Close the sale by saying something like, “I think that the best choice in your case is to _______. Don’t you agree?” (Yes) “Great, I’ll do that. You’ve made a wise choice.”

#6) After you are finished applying and brushing in the protection, remind the customer how it benefits them and how wise the choice was.

#7) Set the next appointment.

The customer is happy, now is the time to set the next appointment. Get the calendar; tell the customer when they will most likely next need service. Have them pick a day and time. This helps set your schedule far in advance, guarantees your customers will not go elsewhere and gives your customer priority over call-ins. This is just a brief overlay, but if you apply ethics and psychology in your presentation, you will find increased sales and improved customer repeats and retention.

Lonnie McDonald

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November 30, 2005 / by / in
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