Sunday, January 25, 2015


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the largest expense (investment) a BSC has is labor. Ever wonder if there is any wasted time in your organization? Without DAILY control of our labor expenses we can sink into a loss on the bottom line very rapidly. 

I remember a few years ago I had a client that was constantly complaining about "little" things we weren't doing in her building. I talked and trained at length with my 4 person crew and to no avail. They kept telling me they just didn't have enough time to do all that was required. They said if they could just have 15 minutes more per person per day I would not have to worry about complaints in the building any more.

I gave in and asked the client if I could talk with her about an increase in our monthly fee. She said it's 5 o'clock and I am ready to leave but I'll wait on you to discuss the issue. I hurried to her office and sweat blood and maybe some tears to convince her that 1 additional hour per night in her building would solve the problem. 

I left her office at 6:20 and decided to go to the basement where there was a break area that I could get a soft drink to congratulate myself on a sales job well done. 

As I walked into the break room, lo and behold ALL FOUR of my technicians were sitting and visiting. I counted to 10 and then reminded them I had worked hard to secure the extra time they requested and here, 20 minutes past starting time they had not yet begun to work. Let's see, 20 minutes times 4 is 80 minutes and they had just wasted nearly an hour and a half of precious time. I kept my composure and explained the importance of going to work on time. I wanted to explode but I would have cleaned the building myself that night and I didn't want to. I then left the building and started making plans to replace the crew, which I did. One of my old sayings--I took them to lunch and bought theirs to go.

The point here is a few minutes wasted each night on the job can be the difference between customer satisfaction and customer lost. How about you, checked up on your accounts lately?

I have a chart that shows what only 5 minutes lost each day can cost a company. I reviewed it at least once each year with our staff, not to brow beat them but to remind them that the time spent or lost can be the difference between a customer kept or lost. You are welcome to download this free chart from our web site at then click on the worksheets icon and scroll down to the "It's only 5 minutes" title and run it off. Maybe it can be helpful to you as well.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


As a leader of your company, whether you like it or not, your employees look to you to provide leadership in the direction the company is to go. What type of leadership are you providing? It's very important you know. The people are looking to YOU to give them direction.

For example, what is the dress code in your company? Do you allow jeans to be worn at all times or do you require a suit and tie for men and business attire for women? If you require business attire or a suit and tie, try wearing jeans to work for a couple of days. It won't take long and everyone is wearing jeans because you have set the standard. They are watching you every minute of the day and that is not a bad thing if you are setting a good example.

Let's talk further on this discussion on leadership. As we go through some ideas, think about your organization and how it is or isn't performing and if you need changes to occur. 

First, the definition of leadership from the dictionary--The art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. 

There's that word "goal". Have you established them for your company? How about yourself? That's a subject for another blog.    

I think it is important that we not confuse leadership with managing. You see, there is a major difference and a successful company will make sure they have both. I think the best definition I ever heard or read on the subject is attributed to former first lady Rosyln Carter who said, "Managers take people where they want to go , leaders take them where they NEED to go". 

Think about that. As a leader of your company you are charged with the responsibility of taking you people in the direction that is needed to accomplish the goals you have established for the organization. This is not always comfortable. You see, it is more fun and much easier to try and please everyone, isn't it? You'll probably have a great time but you won't accomplish your objectives. 

Another way I have heard this managing vs. leadership dilemma explained is that managers do things right while leaders do the right things. As I stated earlier, your company needs both and you need to find those people who can do the things right once you have determined
what the right things are your company should be doing. 

Most entrepreneurs are great idea people and know what has to be done but don't ask them to do the details. They will mess up the details almost every time. They do the right things but need key people to be sure that they are done right. Guilty as charged. 

It took quite a staff to keep up with the ideas I created but they hung in there with me. It must have worked, I had many staff people who were with me 15-25 years. I guess they wanted to see what challenge I would present next.

So how about it, do you have leaders AND managers in your company that can move you forward. Which one are you? If so, who are the others in your company that can compliment you? Do an assessment, then TAKE ACTION. 

 On another subject, I hope you will plan to join us in Orlando, FL. March 6 as we conduct a jam packed one day workshop on SELLING CONTRACT CLEANING SERVICES. You can check out all the details at The information is right on the home page with details of our day. See you there?

Till next time. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Usually when we think of the silent majority we are thinking in terms of voters and politics. We hear so much about it every political season which now seems to go on forever. 

But what I want to talk about today is a different silent majority---THE CUSTOMER. 

Recently I saw a sign posted in a business that, while it was one I had seen before, had a profound effect on me when I read it again. It said






Now I am sure some of you are saying something like, I have heard that one before or so what else is new. You may have heard it but have you listened. Lost any customers lately? 

One thing I have noticed in the BSC industry that I have spent my lifetime in, is that most of us are really good at explaining away a lost customer. We say something like, 

They went out for bid and I got underbid. 
The  new contractor can't do it for that, I'll get it back.
They we too hard to please, I'm glad they are gone.
They are down sizing and got a cheaper price. Had they contacted me I could have given them a better price. 

But maybe, just maybe, they were one of the 93% that didn't complain and just got tired of poor work or poor (or no) customer relations on your part. Just as bad, or worse, are they one of the 13% that will tell 20 others how bad their relationship with you was? Just a thought.

Let me suggest in this new year that we make a concerted effort to make sure we have a positive relationship with all of our customers so in the unlikely event there is a complaint about service performance we are aware and handling it immediately. I for one, want to keep all customers and want a positive relationship with them. Set yourself a goal that you or someone in your organization is intimately involved with every customer you have. The investment in obtaining new accounts is SO much more expensive than retaining the ones we have that we need to focus on keeping what we have. Agree?

Sometimes we have small volume customers and I have heard the comment that the customer is so small I just can't spend a lot of time on them. My response is that if a customer is large enough to sell too, it is large enough to give your full attention too. If you don't want small accounts, don't sell them, it's as simple as that. Our company had a limit as to how small an account we would pursue and in the event we got a call from a prospect that didn't fit the profile we would say to them we would rather turn them down than let them down and then go on to explain what we meant. 

The average lost business in our industry hovers around 17% per year meaning a BSC has to add 25% new business just to net an 8% increase. I know, I know, you do better than that and I congratulate you, but the point is the more we keep the better the bottom line. 

Are you ready? Let's set a record for retaining customers in 2015. 

Till next time. 


Monday, January 5, 2015


Well, here we are beginning another year. I hope your 2014 was a prosperous one and you are poised for a record year in 2015. But as we begin a new year I believe it is important for us to take a look at our own companies and do a hard self analysis as to what we really have to offer our current and prospective customers. So let me give you some ideas on how to grade yourself. 

First, ask yourself and your staff,  

WHY SHOULD ANYONE BUY FROM US?--If your response is we have been in business a long time you have some work to do. Hundreds of companies have been in business a long time and my question is have you been in business, say 20 years, or have you been in business 1 year, 19 times over. Some companies feel "we've always done it this way" and it will continue to work but most likely that is an incorrect assumption. 

There are other stock answers that don't hold water today such as "we have trained personnel" or "we only provide quality service". If you can't provided actual measurable proof of these claims they become old standard sales talk only. 

So, what does make you different? Systems and processes? Real measurable training that you can prove to a prospect? Special software like Paperless Proposal or Janitorial Manager or TEAM or CleanTelligent? 

If you can't really identify and quantify truthfully what sets you apart then I suggest you follow the steps outlined below to improve your organization,

1.  Identify 1 or 2 items that you want to focus on as major selling points for your company.

2. Discuss how YOUR company will benefit from focusing on and developing these qualities. How will you as individuals benefit?

3. How will your prospects and customers benefit from this or these qualities. Are they qualities that will set you apart from your competitors? How will they set you apart?

4.What special skills will you need to develop to advance these qualities? What training will be required and for which members of your staff and where will you get that training? THIS STEP IS CRITICAL IN THE PROCESS.

5. What are the major obstacles your company and its staff will have to overcome to professionally develop the qualities you have decided to focus on?

6. Who are the people or organizations that can help you develop these qualities such as BSCAI, ISSA, peer groups, industry specific consultants etc.?

7. From all of these discussions, develop a step by step plan of action. This means assigning responsibilities and time lines for completion of each step.

8. Decide on an overall completion date as to when you will be ready to announce to the world the reasons a prospect should buy from you.

This blog has only scratched the surface on how to set yourself apart from your competition but I hope it has motivated you to take an inward look at your company as we start a brand new year. If you have any questions or need further clarification on any of the points just send us a message or call us at 573.374.1111. Be happy to assist.
So in closing, determine what it is that sets your company apart from the competition, then define it further and make it a part of your everyday life and sales presentation. If you don't know what sets you apart, follow our 8 steps outlined above and soon you will be a company that can truly tell people why they should buy from you. 

Don't forget to register for our upcoming SELLING CONTRACT CLEANING SERVICES workshop in Orlando, Fl. Friday, March 6. Details are available at  
Hope to see as many of you as possible at the event. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR. Till next time.