Getting and keeping the big accounts is more about your attitude and management than your actual cleaning quality.
As cleaning industry professionals, we are always looking for a larger and more sustainable client base. This is just the nature of commercial cleaning. In Washington D.C., we have been able to capitalize on contracts with larger entities, such as stadiums, multi-tenant buildings and various embassies. Admittedly, it takes a lot of hard work and effort to get to this stage of business growth, but there are things to consider that can put you on this track.

It’s important to clearly define your sales goals and make strides toward them as you grow your business. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish is very important in this process. There are four aspects to keep in mind when pursuing larger clientele. 

1. Know Your Audience

Large clients don’t respond well to high-pressure sales tactics. They know what they want, where their pain points are and don’t need you to “convince them otherwise.” Many people make the mistake of pushing and overselling without understanding the true need of the client. They are looking for you to cure a problem they may be experiencing, not overpower them with bright, colorful brochures and mailings. Experienced facility managers can see right through that.

Before becoming a Master Franchise Owner with Anago Cleaning Systems, I worked in the financial industry and was extremely familiar with how large companies operate. Knowing your client, the types of issues they might be experiencing, and outlining a clear plan to accomplish their goals are very important.

2. Fill a Need

Know how to price the job you’re proposing to do. They don’t always look for the “lowest responsible bidder.” Larger customers have typically “been there, done that” and have realized the words “lowest” and “responsible” probably don’t belong in the same sentence when it comes to janitorial service proposals. Once they find a vendor that can take something off their plate, they want to stick with them and avoid spending the time it takes to change vendors every year. Filling a genuine need is the best way to maintain relationships with larger and even smaller clients.

3. Take Initiative 

Show them you are willing and able to do things that are not particularly your responsibility. They want a vendor to take ownership of situations that come up and put fires out as soon as possible with minimal interruption to their day-to-day business. For example, if you see a flood when you arrive late at night, make the necessary calls, pump out the water (if you’re equipped to do so) and help get the building ready for service the next day. Don’t wait until the next morning or leave a note on someone’s desk. It’s too late by that point.

4. Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk

Be sure you have the financial strength to do what you’re proposing to do. You should be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary staff and equipment on-site to do the job. If it seems like you’re half stepping, you’re done before you even get started.

Darren Williams is an Aiken, SC native who has been in commercial cleaing since 1996. He joined the Anago Cleaning Systems family in 2001 and with his partners purchased Master Franchise for Washington, DC, in 2003.