Positioning Yourself as a Professional

Kyra Deprez

Professionalism should be in every fiber of you, your business, and your staff. A smile and a willingness to listen should be the cornerstone of customer experience.

We wrote this from our perspective as residential cleaning business owners, but this applies to any field service business!

Keep these tactics in mind when considering how you want to run your business…do you want to be a cleaner or a professional? Most people generally won’t take advice from some Average Joe, or at the very least, they won’t take the advice seriously…But tell them that they’re talking to a bonafide professional, and they’re all ears!  

We do it in our personal & our business lives.  Think about it for a second…when you go to the doctor’s office, you leave with a sense of security that the doctor has given you good advice. Same goes for talking with a salesperson about buying a new appliance, you expect them to be knowledgeable and steer you towards the best purchase for you.

So, when you answer your business phone, who are *you* to this client?  Do you come off as some Average Joe or a trusted professional?

Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for decades, I do hope that you answered trusted professional, if you didn’t, then we need to work on that right away!!!

Let’s talk about 3 basic fundamentals that will set you apart from the fly-by-night cleaners.

1. Answer your phone…seems like common sense right?  Here’s the deal, there are so many cleaning companies out there, as well as individual cleaners, that DO NOT answer their phone!  It’ll ring a dozen times and go to voicemail, AND oftentimes the voicemail will be full!  If you’re lucky, the call “might” get returned within 24 hours.  Some times, you might never get a call back.  Rest assured, most clients aren’t going to sit by the phone waiting for a callback because they’ve already called another company and scheduled services.

Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.  [Source: InsideSales.com]

Your goal should be to answer the call on the first ring.  I know that’s not always possible, but it should always be the goal.  If you’re on another call and it goes to voicemail, then call them back immediately.  If you still work in the field, make a plan to check all messages and return your calls every hour.

2. Know Your Business…Sounds simple, but here’s the truth, you and all of your employees need to know everything about the business – from “does your company haul off trash?” to “is your glass cleaner PH balanced?”  If everyone in your company is fully knowledgeable about the offerings, the products and its services, you will be considered “the” professional.  So find your niche, know it backwards and forwards and sell it with confidence.

3. Handle Negativity with Grace…This can be really really hard to do at times, especially when you have had “one” of those days. You know what I’m talking about….your star cleaner came down with the flu, you’ve had to rearrange your entire schedule last minute, the teams are all hitting the road 15 minutes later than usual, they’re all stuck in morning traffic, they’ve all gotten to their first job 30 minutes late…and by days end you’ve put out about 1,000 fires, leaving you feeling like, “What else could possibley go wrong?”

Then you get the dreaded call from a new client calling to say…”Did the maids even come today?” and they start to rattle off a list of things that have been missed.  It can be really hard at this point to not become defensive, but you just have to take a deep breathe.  Stay calm, focus, come up with a solution, all while listening to a disgruntled client.  How you handle these instances can make or break your company.

On the phone, tone is 86% of our communication. Words we actually use are only 14% of our communication.   [Source: Convirza.com]

You must also handle your employees with grace.  Nobody is perfect.  There will be times when even your best team gets a negative comment, but in order to have a happy and productive staff, you need to use the feedback constructively.  Talk to the staff and get their side of it, point out details in a clear and concise manner and use this opportunity to improve your training.

Professionalism should be in every fiber of you, your business, and your staff.  A smile and a willingness to listen should be the cornerstone of your customer experience.  Keep these tactics in mind when considering how you want to run your business…do you want to be a cleaner or a professional?

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