How To Get Commercial Cleaning Accounts Through Sales

How To Get Cleaning Accounts Through Sales

Welcome to our course on how to get commercial cleaning accounts, janitorial contracts and commercial carpet cleaning jobs.

This topic has changed a lot in my 25 year career, when I started in the 90’s all the information was about sales training and marketing took a back seat.

In 2023 the roles have reversed and marketing is all cleaning services talk about, more leads, more leads, where are the really good leads.

But that is the volume game, a much better approach is closing more sales out of the opportunities you have. Getting more revenue out of those bidding opportunities. 

Just by increasing your closing rate by 10 or 20 % can have a dramatic impact on your profit and profit margins.

All of these principals can be applied to modern digital marketing , whether it’s email, social media, website pages, seo, the concepts are the same.

1. Introduction- Selling is Dealing With People

First step is people

This first section is all about reading people and learning what motivates them

Often sales training is focused on overcoming objectives and closes, which is still a fundamental part of the sales process. What we are training is to spend more time, resources on the Top Of The Sales Funnel and objections/closing becomes much, much easier.

What is the top of the sales funnel?

  • Building your brand up through social media, email, mail so people recognize your logo, color, company name, your name.
  • Building personal relationships with people
  • Building up your authority as an expert in the subject.

We all buy from people who we like, respect and trust.

1.1 Basic Skills and Attitudes

  • They are well organized and achieve results
  • They have a clear set of goals. They know what they want to achieve and how they are going to do it
  • They can plan and prepare their sales effectively
  • They understand the buying and selling processes
  • They manage their time so that as much of their productive time, as possible, is spent in selling situations
  • They can generate referrals, as part of their sales approach
  • They can amend their sales plans, where necessary, as circumstances change
  • They can book appointments with decision makers
  • They can establish rapport when meeting customers for the first time
  • They present their projects in a professional way
  • They are good listeners who try not to interrupt when the customer is talking
  • They put the customer at their ease and show a genuine interest in the customer’s needs and problems by asking questions and listening effectively
  • They can identify their customers’ needs by the effective use of communication skills
  • They can present solutions to their customers’ needs, in a professional way, dealing with objections and gaining commitment to proceed with the sale
  • They can handle objections professionally and persuasively
  • They can sell high and get commitment
  • They can negotiate profitable deals
  • They can carry out their administrative tasks to a high degree of quality and accuracy
  • They can network and establish a rapport with the customer that goes beyond the sales meeting. This helps to secure the sale and possible referrals, to other potential customers.

1.2 Balancing Personal and Business

With normal customer interactions, it is important to enter the conversation at a personal level before doing business, this is the verbal handshake. 

Then, during the conversation, do not be afraid to bring something into the conversation that’s not about the business at hand.  When the business is complete, exit through the personal level.  When you experience situations where the customer exhibits strong feelings, this is the ideal time to move back to the personal level.

This demonstrates that the human level interactions you have with customers are as, if not more important as the quality of the core service or product itself.

By entering and exiting all customer interactions through the personal level, you can help customers feel cared about and well treated.

2. Building Communication Skills

Here we will look at the skills required to communicate with customers, elicit information to satisfy their needs and ensure that you are able to build and maintain long-lasting relationships.

This cycle is made up of four main components:

  1. Inform
  2. Invite
  3. Listen
  4. Acknowledge

All conversations will follow this pattern and use all four parts of the communication cycle.

2.1 Listening To Prospects, Leads and Clients

Listening is the process where we receive and interpret the messages transmitted by others during the communication process.

Effective listening is about achieving the highest possible level of accuracy in our reception and interpretation of these messages.  The better we are at it, the better we can understand what people are telling us.  And the more we understand, the more appropriate our response will be to the communications received.

2.2 Common Bottlenecks to Good Listening Sales Skills

Something better to say

Thinking that you have something better to say is often a barrier because we think that what we want to say is more interesting than what is being said.  We put more energy into waiting for a pause in the conversation so that we can introduce our point of view

Heard it all before

In a customer service or sales role, we sometimes hear the same problem many times.  Instead of listening to the individual, in order to interpret their perception, we interrupt them to give our view

What comes next

Thinking about what you are going to say next is a common barrier in a sales type role.  We concentrate so intently on what question we need to ask next that we miss vital clues in the information we are being given

Not interested

Whether or not we find the subject interesting, to the speaker it is important.  Often if we take the time to listen and understand we can gain information to help us


commercial cleaning proposal

2.3 Examples of Good Listening Skills For Cleaning Services


This shows that we are processing the information to understanding the content of the message.  If you don’t understand something or feel you have missed a point, you must clarify the point immediately.  Consider when you should be asking open questions and when it would benefit you to ask closed questions

Encourage the prospect

Use “yes” or “uh huh” etc. to encourage more information

Tolerate silence

This can be very effective.  When you have asked a question, give the speaker time to think of a response

Take notes

Selective note taking will help you remember key points in case you need to refer back to them.  Don’t try and write down everything that is being said

2.4 Acklowledge While Clients Are Talking

When acknowledging that someone is speaking with you, whether verbally or not, there are a variety of ways in which you can respond.


Reflects what you hear

Brags a little OR

Expresses a concern

‘That’s great!…..’

‘I’m sorry about.….’


Shows appreciation

Has had to make some accommodation

‘I appreciate your patience’

‘Thanks for letting me know’

‘Thanks for waiting’

Passive Listening

To show you are interested

Is talking at length

 ‘Yes.’ ‘I understand’

‘I see’

Positive Agreement

Builds rapport and shows understanding

Is talking about an outside person or event

‘I know what you mean’

2.5 Use Positive Words When Responding

How we phrase our responses to our customers is vital to creating a positive environment for favorable feedback or potential sales from that customer.

Customers certainly do not want to hear what you cannot do, unless you give them an alternative. They also don’t want to know if you are going to ‘try’ either. They would rather know whether you are going to carry out their request or not, rather than find later that you tried and failed.

Therefore, best practice is to use positive language, wherever possible, to convey to the customer when you will carry out their request rather than when you cannot.






›I won’t be able




›I can



›I will

›If I can

›I can’t


›I’ll try


2.6 Invite Cleaning Prospects By Asking Questions

We are now going to move onto the invite stage of the communication cycle. This is where we need to ask effective questions in order to ascertain our customers’ needs or get to the root of their problems.

Open Questions

These give the customers a chance to give a full and expansive answer. Questions which start with what, why, where, when, and how are usually ‘open’ and you have to listen carefully to the answers which may be unexpected. Care should be taken with the use of ‘why’ which can cause the customer to feel defensive if not delivered sensitively.

Tell Me More

‘Tell me’ is an excellent way of opening the conversation up, it can sound a little more personable than your standard open questions, the skill is to use it sparingly when you want the customer to elaborate a little more.

Closed Questions

These restrict the customer to ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers. You often use closed questions to clarify a point or at the end of the interaction to obtain agreement. They will start with ‘Will you’, ‘Can you ‘ or ‘Do you’ etc.


These allow you to summarize in your own words what you understand the customer has been saying (‘So what you have just said is that……..’)

Did you know that communication is only 7% the words that we use – a whole lot more of communication comes from…

›Tone of voice – 38%

›Body language – 55%

›Words- 7%

So, if you want to gain rapport with your customers you have to be careful not just of what you say, but of how you say it!

Doesn’t that make you think?

Just how often have you stopped to consider what your tone of voice can do to affect the way a conversation is going?

When you’re saying the same thing over and over again, like you do when you answer the phone at your company, slipping into the habit of speaking in a monotone voice is easy – we’ve all done it! But what does a monotone voice tell your customer about you?

2.8 Avoid Technical Words & Cleaning Industry Jargon

Jargon is technical language used between people who are familiar with it, as such it can be useful for saving time and effort, but only if you are in the circle of people who use it.

If you are not familiar with it, it means that you are not only unable to follow the conversation, but it makes you feel excluded and uninformed.

If in doubt, refrain from using jargon with your customers. Let them introduce it into the conversation, thereafter you can use it too, if it is appropriate, to save time and prevent misunderstandings.

3.Preparing For The Estimate or Bid Walkthrough

Sales Planning

Some of the basics of planning that can help salespeople achieve sales targets

  • Most people in sales set sales targets. These are clear objective measures of what needs to be achieved. In order to achieve our targets, we need to translate them from Volume targets, expressed in services, or Financial targets expressed in revenue or profit terms, into levels of sales activity


  • It can be daunting to receive an annual or a quarterly target and we need therefore to break this down into daily / weekly sales activity. The overriding principles that should affect our approach to targeting are Key Ratios and the Pareto Principle

3.1 Do The Sales Math First

The Pareto Principle

This principle says that 80% of our business is likely to be generated by 20% of our customers. We need therefore to devote a greater proportion of our time to our ’key’ accounts in order that we can make best use of their sales potential

Let us look at a simple example of how key ratios can help us to break down targets into sales activity. Let us assume, for the example that follows, that there is no repeat business involved:


preparing for selling cleaning accounts

So, we are saying, on average, we need to make five contacts in order to book an appointment. Of the appointments we carry out, on average, one sale results from every four appointments, and the average sales value is $7,000

Therefore, we need to make:
200 appointments in order to make 50 sales (ratio 4:1) and in order to book those appointments we need to carry out 1,000 contacts during the year (ratio 5:1). This then has implications for our marketing efforts in that we need to find 1,000 potential customers to contact if we are going to achieve our target

3.2 Commercial Cleaning Sales Cycle and Lead Times

›Another important aspect of sales planning of which we need to be aware is lead times; that is, the gap between our initial contact with a customer and the final agreement being reached and the sale closed

› Lead times will vary between industries and can be anything between 1 week and 2 years. What they do mean is that there will be a time lag between activity and results. If you work to long lead times the results you achieve today may have been earned in previous months, or even years

› Sales techniques can help reduce lead times by making the decision to purchase more urgent and increasing potential customers’ general awareness of the benefits of our products

› The main learning point for us all in sales is to keep our activity levels, that is the number of customers we see, as high as possible, and to measure and understand our lead times so that we can anticipate and program into our activity sales that will occur, not just this week, but also in the future

› We can also avoid the temptation of slowing down when our results are good. Lead times mean that, by doing this, our results will suffer in the future. One of the secrets to sales success is to achieve consistent levels of activity over the long term. If we do this, key ratios and lead times will ensure our long-term success

cleaning service sales plan

How to create a commercial cleaning sales plan, this can apply to commercial cleaning, carpet cleaning and janitorial services. We are going to cover 6 steps to creating a dedicated sales plan we can follow every day, month and year. A sales plan is meant to be a living document that as we learn will be updated and improved over time.

3.4 Sales Time Management

In order to be better organized, we need to identify the main tasks that need to be carried out during the working week and prioritize them. Many cleaning services fall into what is known as the activity trap. This is where they measure their effectiveness by how hard they work, rather than by how smart they work and more importantly results!

Also, we are all probably guilty of focusing the majority of our time on activities or tasks that we enjoy, avoiding, or failing to tackle altogether, those things that we dislike doing, or feel we can’t do well

Examples of activities that we as business owners & sales people often avoid include: planning and preparation, administration, asking for referrals, cold calling, targeted emailing. Even if we do tackle these tasks we often do them in an unplanned way which reduces their effectiveness



›Planning next week’s schedule

›Producing an annual and monthly sales plan

›Planning the day’s tasks

›Pre-contact planning

›Researching potential customers

›Analyzing the existing client base


how to get commercial cleaning accounts- organizing your time


›First appointment. Fact finding

›Follow up appointment to inspect building

›Follow up visit to submit proposal

›Telephone call for decision

›Start nurture campaign to stay in touch long term

Administration \ Other

›Office administration

›Preparing reports

›Updating customer records

›Attending meetings

›Attending training courses

›Travelling to appointments

›Time spent between appointments

›Cancelled appointments


3.5 Why Do Managers Buy Cleaning Services

›People buy for their own reasons. In sales, we assume we know why people should buy our products. There are usually technical or financial reasons for doing so, which we assume will motivate the purchaser.

Often, however, people buy for emotional reasons which are much less logical. These can be summarized as Ego, Fear or Guilt and are powerful motivating factors. The role of the salesperson is to identify the reason for buying and then make it as easy as possible for the buyer to make the purchase

›People are not concerned about us or our problems. We all spend a large proportion of our time thinking about ourselves. Most business managers & executives are thinking, before making a purchase, things like:

“How will this make me look?”  “Am I taking a risk?” “Will it make my life easier?”


3.6 Turn Down The Pressure

People resent and resist high pressure sales techniques. At some stage, we all buy products or services and all tend to feel the same about high pressure selling.

It is inefficient, unpleasant and does not encourage referrals or repeat business. The quality of the salesperson is paramount and a professional, low pressure approach is by far the most successful.

However, this is not an easy option as low pressure selling requires high degrees of skill and application

The buying decision is therefore often based on emotion rather than logic, so to be most effective we need to find out people’s problems and feelings before attempting to sell them our products or services

How to close commercial cleaning bids with statements

4. How To Close More Leads

There comes a point, during the call process, when you need to present the solution that meets the customer’s needs. Presentation can relate to services or the company itself.

During the call process, it is important to:

›Sell the concept of buying the service

›Sell their company as the natural choice of provider

Most commercial cleaning & janitorial services fall down because they raise awareness about the need to buy a particular service, and then fail to sell their company. This can lead to shopping around for the cheapest option or other company alternative, which may not best meet the client’s needs.

When cleaners present information, they tend to present features of their products or company:

›Our company is market leader

›This product has flexible payment options

›Our company has been established for 100 years

›Our service is the most flexible on the market

and the reaction of most potential customers is to say, to themselves So what?

4.1 The Key Word Here is Because

›Because we are a member/certified  XYZ we can …….

›Because our employees have an average of 10 years experience this ……..

›Because our company is one of the largest we have built an infrastructure and business systems to train and supervise our technicians.

›Most people find that the second style of statements is more persuasive

4.2 Features, Advantages and Benefits to Using Our Cleaning Service Over Others


A Feature describes some characteristic of a service. Features are relatively neutral, both in their content and in their effect on the buyer. In fact, the second set of examples goes beyond simple product characteristics


An advantage describes how a product, or a service feature, can be used or can help the buyer. Advantages, as we have seen, are more persuasive than Features


Benefits are the most powerful way in which a seller can describe the service. A Benefit describes how a feature or advantage of a product can meet a specific need the buyer might have for that product.

how cleaning services can overcome objections

4.3 How Cleaning Services Can Overcome Objections

During the bidding process, most managers will raise objections. Objections are raised for many reasons. At some stage, customers:

›misunderstand something you have said

›feel pressured

›are not convinced about your claims

›haven’t yet made up their mind

›have misunderstood something

›have to go back and justify their buying decision to others

There are different emotions that come into play when a customer raises an objection depending on what the objection is and how it is raised. We can feel:







Rather than attacking our customer’s beliefs or opinions we should try to get them on our side. The golden rule should be that, whatever the objection, you should never openly contradict a customer.

It may be that the customer has misunderstood something you have said previously or maybe feels it is his or her duty to question some of your claims about your product or service in order to test their validity.

Whatever the objection and whatever the circumstances the least powerful way to answer a sales objection is with a statement of fact.

There is a simple process that can be used to answer any sales objection.

  1. Listen to the objection
  2. Clarify the objection
  3. Deal with the objection
  4. Advance
    the sale


4.4 Closing The Sale

Closing the sale is not a skill that can be learned in isolation from the rest of the sales process. Closing is one element in a chain of events that begins with the sales person planning and preparing for the call effectively.

What actually happens during the sales process is that the salesperson:

  1. Opens the sales interview and sets an agenda
  2. Asks questions that help identify the buyers’ needs
  3. Presents the features and benefits of products that satisfy those needs
  4. Overcomes any objections the buyer might raise
  5. Closes the sale by gaining the agreement of the buyer to make the purchase

What most cleaners fail to realize is that closing is more about timing than techniques.

Many salespeople are looking for a closing technique that will make the decision-making process easier and take away some of the pressure felt by both buyer and seller at that moment of truth.

The problem is that at this point the salesperson is worried about getting rejected and the buyer is worried about making a mistake, so it is all too easy for either, or both sides to delay the buying decision, rather than risking rejection, or taking the wrong decision.

It is up to us as salespeople to have the confidence, at the right time, to ask for commitment and risk rejection.

That is our role and unfortunately, 7 times out of 10 we fail to ask for some kind of commitment and this can lose us the sale we have been working so hard to achieve.

4.5 Old School Closing Techniques Still Work

The Assumptive Close

By assuming that the service is being scheduled you can remove the responsibility for decision-making away from the buyer. This uses the buyer’s natural inertia.

The assumptive close uses words like `will’ and `when’

This will solve a lot of problems when we start.

When will be the best time to schedule?

Will 4x year be sufficient to meet your requirements?


The Alternative Close

This close gives the buyer the choice between 2 alternatives, both of which have been chosen by you

  • Do you require delivery Tuesday or will next week be more convenient?
  • Will you take the option of alloy wheels or do you prefer central locking doors?
  • Would you prefer the green or the red?

The Pressure Close

This enables you to put pressure on the buyer in terms of special offers or inducements that are available or penalties for not placing the order.

This price is only available for monthly scheduling.

If you order 2x per year the free spotting service is not included

We are giving a free spotting service with monthly scheduling.


The Puppy Dog Close

This is when you put the service in front of a prospect for a time period; in the hope, they will like it so much they simply can’t give it back! Alternatively, they can’t be bothered to give it back.

This is when you put the service in the customer’s hands for a time period; in the hope, they will like it so much they simply can’t give it back! Alternatively, they can’t be bothered to give it back.

If we schedule a demo you can see for yourself the results


The Balance Sheet Method

One closing technique that can be used is to list all the points in favor of your cleaning service and all the points against on a sheet of paper.

This can be repeated for the other products being considered by the buyer and can influence the decision of where the `balance of power’ lies. If your product is the stronger of the alternatives available to the buyer this method can help the final decision be made in your favor.

Just keep adding up all the credits (benefits) and don’t mention and debits or only one, its not free. 

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