I have heard all of the slights… “You guys are all the same”, “I want the cheapest price” and “If I don’t get it from you, I will go somewhere else”. I never understood this belief so I rebelled against the status quo. I wanted to know how customers got this belief and, wow, what an education. Predominantly, people think we are in an industry filled with unskilled “low life’s” that, if given a chance to do anything else, would leave in a heartbeat. Janitorial is either a “gateway” job or the final destination for the loser. This has translated into an industry that is unprofessional and, frankly, sucks. The prospect has to use a janitorial service and, with their tainted perception of the industry, they usually choose the cheapest one…And, so, the vicious cycle begins… Low prices means low pay to workers and fewer hours spent on the job. The lack of investment results in poor service delivery which leads to customer complaints that costs the customer time and resources to address. The customer’s accumulated frustration eventually warrants a change to a new service provider. Because we (janitorial services) are “all the same,” the prospect starts the cycle again hoping to get a few more months out of the next company. Reality Check! It is our fault! The perception is real and earned.
How can we change this? We can start by believing we are professionals and acting that way.
Use these tips to start the change:
- Stop giving your services away. Charge what it actually costs (plus profit) and say “no” to those that say they cannot afford the service. Or, even better, dig in to find out what it has really cost the prospect to make the switch time after time. They probably don’t know.
- Listen to your customers/prospects and give them what they want, not what you “sell”. Just stop talking and start asking. “Be interested, not interesting”.
- Deliver the services they want and do it consistently.
- Become an amazing manager. Learn how to be the best at managing plans and people.
- Hire people that love to clean and love your vision. Nurture those people. Pay them what they are worth and treat them as the professionals they are.
The next time you sit in front of a prospect or customer put the brochure and the fast talk away… just listen to their worldview of you and your industry. If you hear the same old thing, take responsibility because it is our fault they see us this way. Stop selling service and create a movement. This movement will transform our industry. But remember…if you make a commitment, you must deliver on the promise of being amazing. If you lack the commitment to change your world and the industry, stay out and find another industry to infect. Be amazing and courageous, starting now.