Every Conversation is a Seed
Six months ago, I met Michelle at a chamber luncheon and handed her my business card. After the luncheon, I sent a personal video message through VidYard as a follow-up to our meeting. She watched the video and replied back with gratitude. Then she told me she would keep my information on file. Then Corona hit and real estate was crushed, so I wasn't expecting anything.
I received a phone call from Lon this week, a local realtor. He wanted an estimate for a sale-ready presentation cleaning for an estate scenario prior to showings as the real estate market opens more. As we talked, Lon mentioned his colleague Michelle and that I was "highly recommended". I NEVER cleaned for this real estate firm or Michelle, yet she highly recommended me. That's the power of making a strong professional impression. My initial handshake and conversation wasn't special, but going the extra mile with a personalized video made all the difference. I booked the job with Lon for $450 and I never even met him.
If you're paying attention to this story as I paid attention to details of my conversation with Michelle (to send her a personalized video), you can take your networking to the next level. Every conversation is a seed. There's another takeaway solo cleaners. This job was a 1-time cleaning for $450. I averaged over $60 per hour and I'm just getting started in my new solo cleaning business as a Stabilizer. I used to earn over $100 per hour as an Optimizer in my 1st business. I'll get back to that level, but the point is that 1-time jobs are very profitable. They also lead to other profitable 1-time jobs and recurring jobs. I build my 1st business on real estate 1-time jobs that lead to recurring. Lastly, these 1-time opportunities have helped buffer our income during COVID-19.
I followed up with Drew from Town Supply. He went with another cleaning company. If you remember from "Don't Be a Hoarder", Doug's wife said this to him. "This guy knows a lot about cleaning! Can we get him to clean our new office?!" I thought this job was a definite, but it just goes to show - "Blueberry Pie". I wished him well and kept him on my mailing list. Then something interesting happened. Drew considers me the cleaning & disinfecting expert, but he hired another company. He emailed me asking for some disinfecting recommendations. I shared what I'm using and how to get it. Drew ordered it. How many contractors would have said, "you didn't hire me, ask your new service"? That's not going the extra mile and creating positive ripples in your community. I have shared many times before in this podcast that I consider myself an educator first, then a cleaner. In this case, I was able to serve through education.
Mike from my MCBA called me this week to set up a cleaning estimate for his house. He's been reading my weekly educational emails, keeping me "Top of Mind". We scheduled an estimate in 2 weeks. The veterinary hospital that I mapped out a few weeks ago gave me the green light on a new cleaning service. The scope and service cost nearly doubled! This is huge. Since the construction is not done yet, they wanted to phase the increased scope. I developed a 3-month plan and got it approved.
There is one more teaching lesson I'd like to share. One of my first offices was running tight on funds as everything shut down. Their team worked remotely as they could and office cleaning wasn't a NEED temporarily. As I shared in a previous episode, I proposed a wish list of 25 deep-cleaning items I could work on during shutdown. They liked the idea and accepted it. Here's the part I didn't share. I have been checking off items from that wish list each week and sending detailed emails of exactly what I accomplished along with before & after pictures. They've been so thrilled to see their office get cleaned from week-to-week. It's building Trust Factor, which is so valuable as an Optimizer. In my 15 years in this business, I've NEVER had to work this hard to keep a job. But desperate times demand desperate measures.
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The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.