I have been contacted by several individuals who either want to start a cleaning service or have one or two small accounts and want to grow. What does it take to be a successful small business owner? This is a continuation of listing some basic attributes that apply to any occupation you choose:


1. Not knowing when or how to quit is a trait that can easily be misunderstood. Arguing with a customer until you win the battle yet lose the war is not what I am referring to. Rather, the entrepreneur who keeps thorough records of each sales call and goes back with a different option and keeps researching the prospect will have a higher closing record than one who gives up because the customer said no the first attempt. 


2. Understanding the importance of listening and divining what the complaining party is actually saying is very important. There are classes and books dedicated to this subject and there is no one who will not benefit from learning how to respond, rather than react, to a customer with a question or complaint. Don’t get defensive and if you are wrong, admit it. If you are not sure of details, ask for time to investigate and validate the claim first.


Your front line cleaners deserve your support and you can use the experience to have a stronger team so long as they know that you have their backs and will be fair if it is a valid complaint. We all know of customers who have magnified (or yes, even lied) at contract renewal time to put themselves in a stronger negotiating position.


We will continue these points in a future article. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.