Monday, September 29, 2014


We are excited to announce that Tripod is back on the air as of Monday, September 29, 2014. 

From then until BSCAI/ISSA convention time we will have a pod cast every Monday through Friday. All you need to do is go to


and you will hear today's pod cast AND YOU CAN SIGN UP TO RECEIVE AN E-MAIL EVERY TIME WE POST A NEW ONE  which is 5 days per week until convention time. 

Monday's was a visit with Paul Greenland the BSCAI convention co chair this year. You will want to hear what he has to say. 

Tuesday is Claudia St. John who is one of the BSCAI Infinity partners as she talks about a new sharing session that will be conducted at the convention this year.  Don't miss this interview. 

Hope to see as many people as possible at the convention in Orlando.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I probably have heard a gazillion (that's a lot) times from Building Service Contractors something like, " I have this new project and don't have anyone capable to manage it or "I am afraid to grow right now because I don't have anyone to supervise the projects if I do make the sales". Sound at all familiar? So my question, as it is to those who I talk to in person, "What are you doing to develop the future leaders in your company"?

I remember several years ago my company was a finalist in a large project that encompassed several buildings in a campus type setting. In addition to making a 2 hour formal presentation we were asked to schedule another appointment with the selection committee so they could interview the project manager we would be putting in charge of their account. That part of the process didn't go so well. In fact, it went terrible. The person we took to the interview was a very nice individual but he was not ready for a project of this magnitude, but he was all we had at the time and had been with me for several years supervising smaller projects. I was embarrassed. Our employee didn't fare well in the interview but whose fault was that---MINE? He did his best, I just hadn't been doing my best to help him succeed which in turn provided success for our company.

Afterward as I analyzed the meeting, it became very apparent to me that I was not providing the opportunity for my people to grow and if I wanted to grow my company, I needed to grow my people and so the company quarterly supervisors/managers training and education workshops were created. Every account supervisor AND their assistant was invited to these important growth workshops. They were held on a Saturday, included a lunch, and usually held on the university campus continuing education center so we could create an atmosphere of advanced learning. Worked very well for us.

You'll notice above I said AND their assistant because we wanted to involve as many people in the growth equation as possible. This also gave us an opportunity to evaluate the second in command so we had some candidates for future new account leadership. I found I had to take the lead in getting the second in command to these meetings as the supervisors didn't necessarily want them there for fear I would want them to lead another building and then they would have to train a new assistant but the whole reason for having them there was to develop talent in the organization so our sales staff could sell with confidence.

We had a great time in these meetings. Variety was the order of the day. We had supervisors teaching various aspects of cleaning, our distributors teach carpet spotting procedures, our insurance agent providing workers compensation safety information, even management teachers from the local university. I miss those meetings. It was something I always looked forward to. After all, what can be more exciting than spending a day with the people that work hard to earn a living for their family---AND MINE. 

As I write this we are just starting the 4th calendar quarter of 2014. Let me suggest that some sort of management development program be created for your company in 2015. It is amazing how many good people you may have in your organization able to take on more responsibility after some additional training. They just haven't been identified. So, identify them. If you want some ideas on how to put it together just contact me and I'll be happy to suggest some ideas. Just hit the " ask a question" icon on our web site at

Start today to grow your people. Your future growth depends on it. 

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Have you got a person on your staff responsible for visiting the customers and making sure they are happy with the quality of service you are providing? Someone has to take care of customer relations, right? I am reminded of a statement I heard Tom Peters make several years ago that really stuck with me and has so much merit. He said, "If you have to have a customer relations department or customer relations person in your organization,what are the rest of the people in your company doing? Makes a lot of sense doesn't it? Shouldn't we all be focused on positive customer relations?

That brings us to the point of defining customer relations. What is your definition? Most people have a difficult time creating an accurate definition of customer relations. Let me give you the one I ascribe to and see if it doesn't cover the subject,


Think about that. It's a really broad definition, isn't it? It has to be if we really want to be honest about the subject. Here's a great exercise for you and your staff to do at your next get together. Have everyone make a list of those things that would be included in the definition given above. If you have a several people, have them work in groups of 3 or 4 and then have them report back to the entire group with their list. It's a fun exercise, engages the group and makes for a great learning experience. 

Generally when we do this exercise the people focus on the cleaning aspect of making sure the customer is happy with our service. But it goes much deeper than that. Let me list some other things many companies need to address in their training with employees to help assure positive customer relations. These items, while not directly associated with cleaning the facility, affect the customers perception of our company.

1. Having clean (inside and out) and sharply lettered vehicles.

2. Making sure our employees are in nice and clean uniforms at all times.

3. Training our employees in what to say and not to say to a customer and how to say it in a positive, helpful way.

4. Having a friendly, HELPFUL, voice answering the phone when the customer calls and not letting them get hung up in the standard punch 1 for this, punch 2 for this etc. 

5. Creating a "we can do that" culture in your company rather than telling a customer when they request extra service that "we don't do that" or "it's not in the specs".

6. Having neat and clean janitor's closets, no mop buckets with dirty water, no brutes with trash in them etc. Remember, our job is to keep things clean and that includes our own closet.

7. Having a training program so we send people to the job knowing what to do so when the customer sees them working they form a favorable impression. 

8. Doing the things necessary to reduce turnover so the customer isn't always seeing a new face. How many of you have lost an account because the customer said they didn't like seeing someone new all of the time?

And the list could go on and on. 

Another fun exercise is to have everyone list a place where they had poor service and then have them tell whether the problem was resolved, whether they went back, and if they told others about the experience. This one really engages the group. 

See, our business is no different. Customers tell other people if they are happy or unhappy with the service we provide. It stands to reason we should do everything we can to assure they are treated as the really important people that they are.

Customer relations is a very important part of our company and isn't solved by just putting someone out in the field to visit the customer now and then. It needs to involve EVERYONE in the organization. Let me encourage you to do the exercises I eluded to above and see how your company stacks up. See what your employees think customer relations is. 

If we can help let us know. We have a DVD in English and in Spanish entitled "CUSTOMER RELATIONS TRAINING FOR SUPERVISORS AND CLEANING TECHS". It's available on our web site at    
Just click on the DVD icon and you'll see it. 

See you in Orlando at the convention. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Well, here we are with almost 3/4 of 2014 gone which is a great time to take stock of where we are in our goal progress. Have you checked it lately?

It's time to check,

SALES--Are you three quarters of the way to your goal for the year. Maybe more importantly are you focusing on the accounts you said at the beginning of the year were going to be your focus this year. If you didn't set these goals let me suggest now is a good time to start making your plans for 2015. Remember to look at,


And the list goes on  but you must start somewhere.

Also look at 2014 and see which markets you thought would be good and didn't turn out that way. Was it how we approached them or did we get some of them as customers and they aren't as good as we thought? Now is the time to refocus if you need to.

OPERATIONS--Have you done a retuning of all of your accounts to make sure they are running as profitable as possible. If you need a nudge and want a worksheet to help you do the process you can go to our web site to download some free worksheets that can guide you. That is

Just click on the worksheets icon and scroll down and you'll find worksheets for retuning. Sometimes we find more money in our current operation than if we sold some new accounts. Having said that I don't suggest you stop selling and do only this. You need both to create a successful company. 

ADMINISTRATION--Sometimes we forget about retuning this important part of our company. Have you streamlined your payroll operation, developed a single source for office supplies and related items? Is your staffing correct for the amount of revenue you are generating? These are all important questions to constantly be asking. How you doing in this area?

So, there you have a few of my suggestions. I could go on and on but blogs are supposed to be short and to the point and I am working hard to make them that way which for me is a difficult endeavor. 

By the way, don't forget to register for the ISSA/BSCAI tradeshow and convention in Orlando in November. Should be a great week. Take in what your schedule will permit. You'll be glad you did.

Till next time.