Cleaning Business Fundamentals Pro and CBF Coach Jamie Reader recently hosted a Facebook Live on the Facebook Group Cleaning Business Profits to discuss the importance of language when analyzing your processes and performance.
Leads vs Prospects
A lead is one-way communication and a prospect is two-way communication. A lead occurs when someone visits your website and fills out a “Request a Quote” form or calls and leaves a voicemail. The lead becomes a prospect only when there is two-way communication and you’ve been able to move the sales process along.
The distinction is critical when you are analyzing how effective your lead conversion process is. Statistically, the average cleaning business should aim to exceed the following:
100 Leads → 50 Prospects → 25 New Sales
A 25% close rate? Really? Keep in mind that you likely will never even get to talk to many of your leads and the reasons vary. Maybe they filled out a form on Saturday and by Monday they’ve already talked to your competition. Perhaps the lead was looking for a last minute service and you simply missed their after hours call. Maybe the lead is just one of those people who never answer a call unless they recognize the number (thank you, spammers for ruining it for the rest of us).
There are ways to increase the number of leads that become prospects. You can add online chat to your website or hire a VA so your phone is answered 24/7. But you need to balance costs versus benefits for these methods.
Converting 50% of prospects into sales is actually just a baseline. If all of your processes are optimized, it is not uncommon to reach close rates exceeding 70-80%. If you’re closing more than 80% of prospects, your pricing may be too low.
Bids vs Estimates/Quotes
A bid is a clear statement of price. Providing and estimate or quote leaves room for adjustment should you find the needs of your client differ from what you discussed initially over the phone. As Ms. Reader says, “When you’re using the word ‘bid’, it’s almost like this is just my price. And I’m just going to compete on price.” When you provide an estimate, it allows you to learn more about your prospect and their needs and you are able to fully sell the value of your services.
Of course, you may HAVE to provide a bid from time to time, especially if providing commercial services. However, for residential services it is best provide a quote and leave yourself open to being able to adjust your estimate as you learn more about your client’s needs and expectations.
The Worst You Can Get is a “No”
Actually, the worst answer your sales team can get is a “Maybe”. Even a seasoned sales person can be fooled into thinking they were successful when they hear “maybe” because we’ve all grown up thinking a “maybe” can turn into a “yes”. In sales, this is almost never the case. A “maybe” is simply a nice way for a prospect to say “No” because they fear a hard sell or they simply feel “No” is somehow too rude of an answer.
If you train your sales people to “go for the no”, you’ll be amazed how often they will get a “YES!”. If your sales process is good and you genuinely provide services with value, your prospect will not want to feel like they are missing out on something. And they will be more likely to say “Yes”.
“I’ll think about it and maybe call you back.” There’s that “maybe”, again. What should you do? “I understand. May I ask what you’re on the fence about? I’d be happy to address your concerns and questions now why we have a moment.” Force them to think about why they are not saying “Yes” or “No”. And push (ever so nicely) to get them to commit one way or another. In the long run, this method will lead to more sales and less wasting time as you try to chase down a long list of “maybes”.
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Known as The Maid Coach, Debbie Sardone is America’s top cleaning business consultant. Debbie helps owners of residential cleaning companies build a 7-figure dream business, with a 6-figure income and the freedom in their lives that they deserve.