Cold Calling Success for Cleaning Companies

Most people recoil in fear at the thought of cold calling in order to make sales for their business. But if you spend your time sitting in your office waiting for people to come to you, you're going to have a long wait. If done properly, cold calling can be an effective sales technique for your cleaning business.

The following tips won't eliminate your fear of cold calling, but they can help to make it a more positive, successful experience for you.

Remember the purpose of a cold call. Many people think that the purpose of a cold call is to get the sale - wrong. The purpose of the call is to get an appointment so you can get a chance to make the sale.

Do your research. Don't just pick up the phone and start dialing. You need to do a little research first. Who is your target market? Start making a list of the companies who fit into your niche and then start doing preliminary research on each company before calling. For example, find out if they have a web site and read it thoroughly. Find out who the decision-makers are. See if they're a member of the Chamber of Commerce to get additional information that way.

Be nice to the gatekeeper. It's very likely that when making cold calls you're going to be connected to the gatekeeper (assistant to the decision-maker, receptionist, etc.). Be friendly, learn their name and use it, and maybe say something like, "I wonder if you could help me?" You want to get them on your side, willing to give you the information you need. Ask if they can help you get the name of the person you need to talk to or when would be the best time to contact that person.

Call early in the morning. This is typically the best time to reach the decision-makers. It's also a time when most people are more pleasant and have more energy.

Prepare your script. Don't just "wing it". This will keep you from making common mistakes like opening up with, "How are you today?" This will give them a chance to end the call before it's even started.

You should start the conversation with a greeting and an introductory statement, which can transition into more dialogue. For example, "Good morning, Mr. Smith. This is Tom Jones of ABC Cleaning Company. I recently read in the business section of the local paper that you're moving your business to a larger location. We specialize in commercial cleaning services in buildings of this size and can help you to reduce your monthly maintenance costs by using proven cleaning systems that also use environmentally friendly products. I'd like to ask you a few questions in order to determine the amount of savings we can potentially provide your company."

Prepare for the rest of the call. It's difficult at this point to completely script the call, but you should have a list of the benefits of your services and the reasons that the prospect should buy from you over the competition. Don't simply make a list of features, like being bonded and insured. While that's an important consideration after you've made the sale, the prospect only cares about what's in it for them at this point in the call.

Make a list of possible objections that they're likely to make like, "We already have a cleaning service that we're happy with," and then craft statements to overcome the objections.

Ask for an appointment at a specific time. Don't simply end the call by saying something like, "Can we meet next week to discuss this?" Instead say, "Would next Tuesday at 10 a.m. be a good time to meet?"

Be persistent. They say that most people need 7 to 10 "touches" before the're ready to make a purchase, so don't give up after only one or two calls!

Try sending a Thank You card after the call thanking them for taking the time to talk to you. Most people appreciate this simple, thoughtful gesture.

Practice makes perfect. The only way to get better at cold calling is to practice. You may never really enjoy it, but you can definitely get better at it the more you practice. Remember, your customers are out there, you just need to let them know about you!

Steve Hanson is co-founding member of The Janitorial Store (TM), an online community for owners and managers of cleaning companies who want to build a more profitable and successful cleaning business. Sign up for Trash Talk: Tip of the Week at and receive a Free Gift!

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