Saturday, September 29, 2012


Have you ever stopped to think about all the things that go into your company's customer relations. Many people believe that if they hire a customer relations representative to visit the customers during the day everything will be fine. Well not so fast mopping man.

Let me give you my definition of customer relations---EVERYTHING WE DO, OR DON'T DO, THAT AFFECTS THE CUSTOMERS IMPRESSION OF OUR COMPANY.  Think about it, that includes a lot of "stuff". To demonstrate what I mean let me suggest you do a quick activity--

Think of a situation where you have had bad service. Maybe a restaurant, cleaners, service station, grocery store etc. Stop and think about it for a few minutes. 

Now let me ask you a couple of questions about that experience,

1. How did you feel?
2. Was the problem resolved?
3. Did you go back to that place of business?
4. Did you tell others about your experience?

Do you see how one experience can affect an organization especially if you tell someone else?

So let's list some of the things that we BSC's do or don't do that affect the customers impression of our company,

1. Our personal appearance--clean uniforms, bath every day, hair neat and trimmed etc.
2. Our cleaning equipment/closet appearance
3. Our company vehicle appearance
4. Complaining about the company in front of the customer
5. Arguing/fighting on the job when the customer is present
6. Sitting down on the job
7. Complaining to the customer about equipment you are using 
8. Complaining to the customer about "not enough time" to get the job done 
9. Complaining about other employees
10. Knowing what to do in case of emergency
11. Being honest in all of our dealings, i.e. reporting all breakages etc. 
12. Knowing how to handle special requests
13. Knowing the cleaning specifications of the building you are cleaning
14. Knowing how to clean to company guidelines
15. Always being polite around and to the customer
16. The appearance of your facilities inside and out

These are just a few I think of as I write this blog. How about gathering your staff and doing this exercise and see how many you can come up with. More importantly, how many do you come up with that you are doing well for everyone concerned. In fact, let me suggest you also do the first exercise that I started with. This will show the relationship to what customer relations is and how it can affect your organization. 

You can see that a lot goes into assuring the customers impression of your company is a positive impression. Always do your part. Good customer relations also must include the following,

1. Thorough technical training
2. A good attitude by the cleaning techs and supervision toward their work
3. A good attitude toward the customer--what are we without customers
4. Being neat and clean on the job (repeated here on purpose)
5. Knowing how to handle complaints (Be sure that your company has trained everyone on this)

I sincerely hope you understand that good customer relations is not hiring someone to visit customers and smiling. It entails EVERYONE IN THE COMPANY. In fact, you may recall I have mentioned in other sessions one of my favorite sayings by Tom Peters--If you have to have a customer relations representative in your company, what are the rest of your people doing? I agree whole heartedly. I did not employ a customer representative in any of our branches because I really believed, and still do, that it is everyone's responsibility and I should not have to hire someone to visit my customers to tell them so. 

In the spirit of good salesmanship I should mention I have a DVD available on my web entitled "Customer Relations Training For Supervisors and Cleaning Techs". So much for selling. 

Don't forget to listen to our FREE pod casts at We are nearing the end of our special daily pre-convention pod casts. I hope you have been listening and noting the sessions you are wanting to attend. Remember also that if you are a tripodcast subscriber you are able to get a 30% discount on your registration fee just by entering the code SMD30 in the promo code box on the registration blank at 

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY. Till next time.


Monday, September 17, 2012


As we are writing this, the third quarter of the calendar year is drawing to a close. For those on a fiscal accounting year, September 30 ends the year and your year is nearly complete. So how are you ending up this year? Did you meet all your goals? Did you even set any goals?

I thought this would be a good time to remind everyone that a retuning of our company might be a good idea. So let's look at some of the major expenditure areas and see how we are doing.


Have we hit the goals we set out to accomplish? Do we need to revisit the expected monthly volume we need to add next year? Do we need to be looking at the types of accounts we are chasing and look at new market segments or maybe discontinue pursuing some of the market segments we are chasing now? How are we trying to bring business on? Should we be looking at targeting certain major customers, maybe developing some customer/prospect luncheons, or sending out weekly executive briefs to our prospect list?

Should we be more aggressive in the telemarketing arena? Do we need more training for the individuals making our sales calls and proposal presentations?

These are all questions we should be asking ourselves as we enter a new year. If we haven't got the results we wanted, does it make sense to keep doing what hasn't worked? There is no better time than NOW to analyze the way we are going to the marketplace with our sales program.


So in this down economy do we have all the RIGHT people we want in the right places? A slow economy is the perfect time to be putting into place the recruiting and training procedures to assure that we are doing the right things to recruit and train the people we are bringing on board and retraining those that are already with us.

Are you recruiting people for career positions or just hiring to cover the turnover of the day? There is a difference you know. Remember, the attitude projected by your people most of the time reflect the attitude you are reflecting toward them. Your cleaning technicians and supervisors are your "inventory". What is the quality of trained inventory you are putting in the field to represent your organization? They are a reflection of the culture you are developing in your company. Happy with what you have? If not, you can change it. What systems do you have in place to assure that they continue to receive the training on the latest products and equipment you are putting in the field? Have you trained them on how to meet and greet the customer when they meet them in the buildings?

The HR and Operations department are critical to your success. As this year closes is a great time to assess what you are doing and make changes to be sure you have the best trained and finest staff in the field.


This is an area so often overlooked when retuning a company. Have you checked lately to assure you have the most economical phone system available? What about cell phones? Have you checked prices lately on different plans? Even things like office supply pricing is important to double check at least one time per year.

How about insurance? Do you just accept what the agent brings you or do you request proposals at least every couple of years? Remember, your customers are always checking the market to see if your pricing is competitive and you owe it to your organization to do the same on the products and services you purchase.

I could go on and on with retuning processes and procedures we should be doing at this time of the year---paper products, cleaning supplies and equipment, fuel companies, uniform suppliers, etc.

You get the idea. This is by no means a complete list but my objective is to get your thought process started so you can begin the procedure and add to the list as you become more involved in doing this important task of streamlining your company. I was constantly amazed in my company how much money we saved each year just by doing some of the things mentioned above. So often, we think just add more sales and we'll make more profit when many times there are hundreds or thousands of dollars available to add to the profit line just by retuning the procedures we have in place. Trust me, there are dollars there.

Let me encourage you to do this process and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR with the dollars you will find by just double checking how you do things.

Hope to see many of you at the BSCAI convention next month in Chicago. Don't forget to tune into our free daily pod casts leading up to this great event. You can hear them at

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This week, switches from its normal weekly pod cast to daily pod casts that feature the various speakers, sponsors, and executives of the upcoming BSCAI convention in Chicago, October 18-20.

We had a great time recording these and I can tell you this is going to be an outstanding convention. In addition, ISSA will be conducting their annual trade show on the 17th through the 19th. What a week this will be.

But let me get back to the pod casts. On Monday of this week we talked with Chris Mundschenk the Executive Vice President of BSCAI as he outlined what all will be happening. Let me just outline some of the sessions that will be available,

--Measuring Your Team's Performance

--Managing Your Sales Force

--Top Grading Personnel--Constant/Continuous Improvement

--Peer Groups: The Secret of Successful Contractors

--What everyone Should Know About Accounting

--Is It Time to Buy, Sell or Both? Mergers and Acquisitions in the BSC Industry

--Preparing Your Company for Growth

--How to Organize Your HR Function to Grow

--Effective Workloading

--Expanding Services--Stop Accounts from Going Out To Bid

--The Successful Hiring Process for Service Workers

--Green Sustainability and Health

--Social Media to Enhance Your Business

--Make the Impossible Sale

--Budgeting, Planning and Rewarding Profitable Performance

--Successfully Navigating Through Disaster

--Group Purchasing--It's About More Than Just Price

--De-commoditize the Business Through Innovation

--Service Needs from the Customer Perspective:How BSC's Create Value for Their Customers

In addition there will be a Productivity Seminar, Bidding and Estimating Seminar, and a Supervisor's Seminar.

This year the popular roundtable discussions have been expanded. I know I will be at these. Let me suggest you go to and check out all the details of the convention as well as housing etc. I'll be there all week and hope to see as many of you as possible. In fact, why not come by our Tripod Learning Associates table in the vendor pavillion on Friday and Saturday, say hi, let us know what you think of these blogs and give us your ideas for subjects you would like to know more about.

In the meantime, the daily pod casts are there to spark some ideas of what you want to accomplish at the convention---ARE YOU LISTENING?

Till next time.

Monday, September 3, 2012


I don't remember who told me or where I read the title to this session but it is very true. You can have the nicest office, the greatest equipment, a trained technical staff, but until you have a customer you don't have a company. Don't ever forget that.

That is a major reason why good salespeople are highly compensated and they should be. The key, of course, if finding good sales people and keeping them. Many people try to convince you they are good sales people but many times all they have sold is you (or me) on hiring them.

After making many wrong hiring decisions on sales people, I established a policy that no sales person would be hired in our company without a thorough personality profile test. There are several good companies that produce them and they are well worth the money.

I can recount many times where someone in our company was totally convinced that they had found "the person" to bring on more business than we knew what to do with. I would be told, "we don't need to test this person. They are solid and really professional and we may scare them off by wanting to test them. It will be an insult to a real professional". My response? If they are a real professional they will welcome the opportunity to take a personality profile to prove their professionalism to us. We eliminated countless sales people "wannabes" by using this method of screening and it sure cost a lot less dollars in the long run.

By now I hope you are aware that the first book I published was entitled "SELLING CONTRACT CLEANING SERVICES 101". Even if you are not aware of that, it still was the first book I published. If you haven't yet read it let me suggest you purchase a copy and use it as a blueprint for growing your sales profitably.

What follows is an idea from that book that can help you grow successfully. It is not in the detail explored in the book but it still will help you with some ideas on growing. I believe strongly that a systematic process is essential to your success. So here goes.

Determine what it is that you do best and then go after those accounts that fit your strategy. For instance, if you are best equipped to do 5 time weekly accounts between 6 and 10 at night using part time people, determine what types of accounts fall into that category in your market area. If you attempt to be everything to everybody all of the time, soon you will be nobody to everybody all of the time.

Once you have made the decision on what types of accounts are best for you, a data base needs to be created so you can begin contacting these prospects.

So, let me outline just one of the successful methods I used for contacting those prospects and still use today with the clients I work with as a consultant.


I consider this an extremely effective way to reach your target audience. It certainly is a good one for those contractors on a limited budget. It actually is a combination direct mail, telemarketing approach without all the negative baggage that can be associated with either one of them.

In short, this is a program of sending a designated number, usually 25-30 or so, information packets to your prospects each Friday and then calling them Wednesday or Thursday of the next week to ask for a 20 minute appointment to review the information in person with them.

My company used this system very successfully for many years. Today we are assisting several other companies who want to create a substantial growth in their sales and profitability. I talk about this being a great system for growth if you are on a limited budget but it is a great system for marketing your services no matter what your budget may be.

In the packet you want to include information that you have determined sets you apart from your competition. Do you have specific systems or processes that are unique to the industry in the markets you serve? If so, highlight them. If you are a new or emerging company, highlight the fact that you can give personal service unlike anything they have ever seen.

Include pictures of the key staff members and maybe their years of service. Maybe even highlight the individual(s) that would be responsible for their account. If you are the key staff member, say so. Emphasize the personal service ownership can provide. This was my key selling point for years. You will also want to include a brief outline of the additional services you offer. This is just another way to possibly catch the prospects eye in the event that janitorial service is not what they are interested in at the present time.

I recommend you develop a file type presentation folder and place the information in the folder with a cut on it just like a regular file folder only this cut will have the name of your company on it. I suggest this because a standard response from most prospects is, "I will put your information in the file with the rest of the information I have on contract cleaners". Well, if you provide the file for them, then when they decide to reach for the information, your folder will be the one they reach for.

Some other key points for your assistance if you decide to follow this path to sales success:

*****Put the mailing in a 9 by 12 envelope. Your chances are much greater it will get to the recipient than with a regular letter sent in a regular envelope. By the way, NEVER send an envelope to "buyer" or "owner". Always have a name so it truly does get to the right person.

*****Be consistent in your mailing. Mail them EVERY WEEK.

*****Do not fail to call the following Wednesday or Thursday no matter what "fires" need to be put out at the time.

*****When asking for the 20 minute appointment to discuss your services, when you get to the appointment, take off your watch and lay it on the table or desk and remind the prospect you asked for 20 minutes and you will not stay past your allotted time unless they request you to stay. I only had one person in all the years I did they process tell me my time was up.

***** Ask for the opportunity to present a proposal (not bid).


This is a very effective way to secure new customers and I recommend you consider it seriously as you move forward. Remember, NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL SOMEONE SELLS SOMETHING.

Next Monday, September 10, we will be starting our daily pod casts leading up to the BSCAI/ISSA convention and trade show. Our first very special guest will be Chris Mundschenk, Executive Vice President of BSCAI. This is a great interview and you won't want to miss it. Join us at and by subscribing to the free pod cast you can get 30% off on your convention registration just by entering the code SMD30 in the promo code box when you register at

Till next time.