Five Dirt Cheap Ways to Increase Sales in Your Cleaning Business

Steve Hanson

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Whenever a person is starting a cleaning business or looking to grow their business certain questions usually come up. How can I do it inexpensively? What are the most effective methods? Since most janitorial work is done after hours this leaves daytime hours to work on your sales and sales techniques. Here are some proven methods to help you grow your business.


One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to grow your business is by using the telephone. The average of getting a new customer is one out of one hundred calls. This may sound like a lot but let's break it down. One hundred calls a week = 20 calls a day = 1 new customer a week = 52 new customers a year. Having said that, there are ways of making your telephone sales calls more effective. One way is developing a great elevator speech. This is basically a 10 - 15 second introductory statement about the strong points of your business that is going to spark the interest of the person on the other end of the phone. Follow up your elevator speech with an open-ended question to get your prospect talking and then be a good listener. It's a good idea to have a few open ended questions prepared for your telephone sales calls.

A good place to start to start looking for telephone prospects is the your local yellow pages. Whether your target market is Class A office space or industrial facilities, these can all be found in something you have right at home.

Cold Calls

Keep in mind the 1 out of a hundred average applies here as well. Also keep in mind that baseball players with a 300-career average are in the baseball hall of fame. This means they failed 70% of the time and are considered some of the greatest players of all time.

Targeting a certain area is a good idea for a few reasons. Obviously this will save on time and gas but more importantly you should focus on an area with your target market in mind. If your target market is class “A" office space then start with an area with a high density of this particular type of space.

You need to have a thick skin. Fear of rejection is what makes people ineffective or stops them from making enough cold calls. Having a small brochure about the strong points of your business can be very helpful. If the person you need to talk to is out or busy, you can leave your brochure and a business card. Ask for the decision-maker's business card and put them on your list to call back within a week.

If you happen to get in to see the decision-maker having your elevator speech and list of questions memorized can be quite be beneficial. Be prepared to listen, taking notes along the way is also a good idea. It will give you a reference to fall back on later.

Asking good questions and listening closely will help you to find out if what you have to offer will meet your prospect's needs.


Networking is basically a short way of saying, tell everyone you know or come into contact with about your business. Then you can narrow it down to those who actually have a need for your services. Joining your local chamber of commerce can reap rewards and is generally fairly inexpensive. It will put you in contact with the business community and if attended regularly will ultimately make you a part of that community. Attend as many functions as possible. Talk to as many people as possible. Find out what they do, tell them what you do. Get their business cards and give them yours. You can also network at social events. Many people talk about their work when they go out. So can you.

Follow Up

One of the most important functions of sales is the follow up. Whether your initial contact came from a phone call, a cold call or a networking event your prospect has a 0% chance of becoming a client if you do not follow up. If you made a phone contact with someone who seemed interested but needed to discuss it with his partners, follow up within a week. If you made a cold call and left a brochure because the decision-maker wasn't there, follow up within a week. If you were at a networking event and obtained a few business cards, follow up within a week.

It's a good idea to keep a list of your contacts and when you made first contact with them. Then you need to decide which ones have the best chance of doing business with you and incorporate those into a follow up schedule.


Reading is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to increase your sales. There is a wealth of information on the Internet, in trade magazines and at your local library. Reading about your industry increases your knowledge and can make you an expert. The more you know about your industry the more problems you can solve for clients and potential clients, which will lead to more sales. You might also consider reading about sales, sales strategies and sales techniques. You can pick and choose from different strategies and techniques and adapt the ones that work best for you. Reading on a regular basis also has the side effect of increasing your vocabulary. How many things out there these days can you say have good side effects.

You may have noticed in my first paragraph the word work. Being a sales person is hard work and requires good organization, time management and discipline. Add the right amount of enthusiasm and you will be on the path to success and realizing the benefits of your hard work.

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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