I Meant to Call You
In my last solo cleaning business update, I was thrilled to report two successful house cleaning estimates. I had cleaned for Ellie last week and verbally, she agreed to a recurring service starting in December. The other estimate was with Erika, whom my wife connected with through the local Facebook mom's group. I felt great about the estimate and expected a second yes, but heard nothing all weekend. Of course, doubts trickle in and you wonder if she changed her mind. Here's what I did. I texted Erika on Monday morning and said this. "How was your weekend? I just wanted to check in..." I didn't even mention cleaning and she replied with "I'm so sorry, so much going on. I meant to call you. When can we get on your schedule?" I was able to schedule her family on biweekly Thursdays along with Ellie. There's a lesson here. I could have been more direct and said. "Hi Erika, were you interested in cleaning services?" I could have been less direct. "Erika, did you have any other questions about my cleaning options?" I'm sure many of you would do this and I'm NOT saying it's wrong. I just had a gut feeling that Erika is a busy, working mom and my all-important cleaning proposal got looked at and forgotten in the chaos of her weekend. Therefore, I opted to be a human and ask how her weekend was. She may have responded with something short. "Fine." There is an emotional intelligence component required here. In my experience, this type of response shows disinterest or they just had a bad weekend. Either way, I'd give them time and follow up again in a week. Erika did not do that. She responded with enthusiasm. That's always a great sign. The result was expected. I asked about her weekend and she booked our cleaning service.
My networking meetings were lively as always. I shared last time that I was voluntold to do a 20-minute business showcase along with Bridgett. I had an idea that I wanted to pitch and it went great. What if we used our showcase time together to help another member AS we showcase what we each do in our businesses? Bridgett loved it and so did Vernessa, who was the member we were going to help. We had an educational piece during this meeting where we watched a TED talk and discussed how it related to us. I had a chance to wrap up with my comments and then casually mentioned that I was going to interview James Hardy from the group on a future podcast. Several members said. "You have a podcast!" "What is it called?" Before I could answer, Eva Finlan piped up and said. "Oh, it's a really good show!" I had promoted Eva on a prior episode and shared it to my Facebook friends. She was so grateful and listened. I told them the name of this show and a handful wrote it down. After the meeting, I set up a time to meet with Eva for a 1-to-1 to connect more. I also had a quick word with Gary Volpe about his office cleaning. He had tried to get me in there, but the timing wasn't right yet. I was grateful that he was considering me. As a quick note, I also attended my first Chamber of Commerce luncheon as a new member. It was an honor to speak in front of the members and all 3 of our county commissioners to introduce myself.
In parallel with my in-person networking, I've been connecting online as well using LinkedIn, NextDoor, and Facebook. I have already invested the time to build stellar profiles on each platform and introduced myself. I've even commented to help others, so they know, like, and trust me. My aim this week was to be more direct. I searched "clean" on NextDoor and found 3 neighbors looking for cleaners over the past 3 months. Many cleaners just replied with "Me. I do it." I answered with tips on how to find your next cleaner. I will repurpose that answer into a future Newsletter. My guess is that using this approach will create curiosity and possibly interest in my company. On LinkedIn, I answered messages, thanked all new local 1st connections for accepting, and reconnected with Tom at Edward Jones. I did NOT ask about the proposal. I thanked him for trusting me enough to let me into his office for an estimate. His response was, "Us Penn Staters need to stick together and that we're evaluating our proposals next week." I didn't have to ask about my proposal, but I got my answer. Lastly, I wanted to connect with new friends from the Chamber meeting. Instead of basic emails, I used the VidYard plugin and recorded personal messages and sent the video links out. Each responded and were impressed.
As the week winded down and I prepared for my Thursday night cleaning with my son, I got a voicemail from Gary Volpe. He was talking to his sons and they do want me to come over for an estimate. Here's the takeaway! Gary has gotten to know me from seeing me every week consistently for 5 weeks. He likes me, knows I'm a fellow believer, and share the same political bend (as we met at the polls on election day). I have positioned myself over the past 6 weeks as the cleaner he knows, likes, and trusts. We'll see what happens next. We have an estimate for next Tuesday!
I've been writing newsletters for my consulting role for a few years, but never for my cleaning network. I knew this needed to chance in 2019 and 2020. Thanksgiving was quickly approaching, so I wrote an article entitled, "Cleaning Tips to De-STRESS the Holidays". I added new names to my mailing list that gave me permission to add them and sent the newsletter out to 50 people through my free MailChimp account. I also repurposed the article to my website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google My Business, and NextDoor. My strategy was simple. Write one article and put it on every channel as you never know how people will consume your content.
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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.