Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Would You Hire Your Company? Part Four

September 19, 2010

In the sequential order of events to make sales possible, you must ensure that the process of how the sale actually happens is placed firmly in your mind.

To review from parts one through three:

  1. Pre-approach or brand image
  2. Approach or initial contact
  3. Rapport or trust building
  4. Information gathering or needs assessment
  5. Presentation or outlining preference
  6. Asking for sale or closing.

This fourth part of the sequence will outline the selling opportunity of needs assessment or the gathering of the information needed to show that your company is the solution for the challenges your customers face.

As you have moved down the sequence of selling, you have built small agreements along the way.

The last information phase of sequential selling is to gather all pertinent data to provide a cost-effective solution for building maintenance.

Your job at this step is to completely cover all possible areas, rooms and floor coverings and begin to ask questions about building traffic patterns.

The questions for the information gathering phase are designed to be two-fold: They must get the prospect to feel as they are being asked questions in a professional manner and to get information to help build your cleaning and maintenance program inside the prospect''s building(s).

Think like a physician as they ask diagnostic questions when talking to a patient.

The questions need to get to the heart of the matter, they need to be professional in nature and they need to be comforting to the patient.

Remember, you have already completed the trust building phase, and you have matched your brand image with your initial contact.

Because that is already complete, the prospect only has to assess your professionalism to be sure that they have made the right choice.

So, a thorough, professional inspection and assessment with the customer''s needs at the forefront of your mind is the next logical step.

Your job at this point is to completely overwhelm the prospect with your attention to detail of the logistics of the cleaning process.

You also want to inquire about previous maintenance programs and find out how the customer feels about project work.

Time and effort are placed into solidifying the relationship with the prospect and listening to the prospect as they prioritize their needs.

You also want to get the customer to begin to see your company as the answer to their needs as you gather the cleaning information.

Something to remember as you move through this informative process is to use your ears as much as your mouth.

When asking questions — even though you may already think you know the answers — you must listen intently to the responses provided by the prospect.

How many times have you been approached by sales people who do not listen to your responses?

How often do you feel that the questions asked are not really probing into your particular needs?

These sales people are just following a protocol to reach a "close," not to bring about benefit to the prospect.

Any selfish feeling about you on the part of the prospect can still torpedo the sale, even when you have gotten this far along in the process.

Designing a questioning script can help you stay on track, solicit the responses you are looking for and provide insight into the real or perceived needs of the prospect.

Write and ask questions that best showcase your company''s mission and vision so you are not free-wheeling your way into a lost sale.

Scripting helps you plan your question path to suit your prospect''s needs as your first priority.

The more detail and openness you can provide your prospect at this point turns them into long-term customers for the future.

If you are looking for different ideas to foster these types of relationships with customers, contact Dane Gregory, a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. Gregory currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certification. He also presents a consulting program for industry veterans as well as newcomers in the cleaning industry to help their company''s reach the next level of success. He can be reached at