You have to be more than just the cleaner.
- Are you struggling to get higher prices for your services?
- Do you find that your customers have little respect for the training and knowledge you have?
- And they don’t appreciate that you’re a fully trained textile and fabric expert, in fact, they view you as ‘just the cleaner’?
Well, the problem may not be your customers at all. It could be how you think of, and therefore project yourself. The problem may not so much be that the customer views you as ‘just the cleaner’ but that you view yourself as ‘just the cleaner’. This mindset is not helped by other cleaners saying “What makes you think you can get away with charging high prices? You should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not a doctor or a surgeon… its only carpet cleaning”.
Yet the answer is so simple. You are NOT just a cleaner or even just a carpet cleaner. You are a serious business owner with more than one business. This is according to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth.
According to Gerber you have not one but three businesses:
- A Marketing Business with the purpose of lining up new business.
- A Service Delivery Business with the job of delivering first class service.
- A Client Retention Business to keep the clients you already have.
And what is so difficult about running a small business? Well, if you previously worked for an employer it looked so easy. All you had to do was the service delivery part of the business. Now you don’t have one job… you, in fact, have THREE. As well as actually performing the job, you have to get the work in the first place and then follow up with customers so that they return and refer. Yes… you run THREE businesses. So, if you run three businesses don’t you deserve more income than someone who runs only one? And it’s THIS that can be the biggest problem for you… to change your mindset and your thinking on this. You are NOT just ‘the cleaner’.
One of the most important ways to gain respect from customers is by how you dress. A serious business owner turns up in uniform, perhaps with a company logo on his shirt. If you turn up in jeans and trainers aren’t you conveying to the customer that you really ARE ‘just the cleaner’?
Some years ago I took a friend of mine to an emergency NHS dentist. You can always tell a dentist… he wears a blue or white gown and looks like a dentist. But this man had a pair of jeans on under his gown. It certainly made me think twice when I saw him. My initial thoughts were to wonder whether he really was a qualified dentist. People DO judge a book by its cover, whether you feel that’s fair or not.
Another way to show the customer you’re serious is by charging higher prices. This may seem counter-intuitive. But it hardly helps if you’re charging domestic cleaning rates. If you’re working for £10 an hour it just reinforces the fact that you are just a cleaner. No serious business remains in business charging those rates.
So, if you want your customers to respect you as more than just the cleaner you have to be more than just the cleaner. View yourself as the serious business owner that you are. Look and act the part and make sure to convey your status and professionalism in every aspect of the business.
By David Coker.
Published on Dec 20, 2016
The official journal of the National Carpet Cleaners Association.
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