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Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

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Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by kleanerdude on Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:31 pm

I would like to know more about qualifying questions I can present to a cold business prospect, i.e., restaurant owners and managers.  

One of the first things I do now is to let the person know that answers the phone, generally a waitress, that "I am John, calling from Apex Carpet, Tile, Concrete Flooring and Upholstery Cleaning Services and I am calling to speak with your manager or owner". Sometimes, but rarely, the worker will ask "what it is I want, specifically"?

I just answer that "I am calling to talk with the manager or owner about cleaning the place".  
The worker, 99% of the time, just says, "Can you hold on a minute" I say "sure" and wait.  
All of this time I am speaking in a very casual and courteous manner.  Works every time
- no such thing as gatekeepers to me, at least with restaurants I've been calling.

To continue, after the manager or owner gets on the phone, I go on to say, "Hi, are you the manager" - and they say "yes". "Well, my name is John and I'm calling you on behalf of Apex Carpet, Tile, Concrete Flooring and Upholstery Cleaning Services.  We can also clean your booth upholstery and bathrooms".

"We're a 20 year established family-owned cleaning service located fairly close to your business and    I' d like to come by and give you a complimentary estimate to clean your floors".

Starting to qualify!

"What kind of flooring surfaces do you have?"  By this time, they have either provided this info or said no. If they say yes, I go on to ask them "if they have an idea of the square footage of the surface area[s] they want cleaned"?  

Most of the time, most people, even owners, have no clue as to square footage, so I will ask them for seating capacity or if the area is small, medium or large in size.  That gives me a better idea as to whether they even qualify to have us come out. We need a minimum size area to make it worth our while.

I also go online and try to find the business on Facebook or Yelp and other places to see photos of their place to get a rough idea of their floor surface and size of their building or business. This can further qualify them since it can let me see they have one or more of the floor surface types we can clean.

After they provide the information I need, I thank them and let them know we will get back to them in a day or two with the estimate.

I am still interested in knowing more things I can ask or information I can obtain from the owner/manager that will help in getting closer to qualifying them at least in providing an estimate as well as the bottom line, getting the actual sale and landing the job.

If, after this, they still might not want the estimate.  I will ask if I can call them back later, even a month to 6 months later, to revisit the issue with them.

If they have a cleaning service, I will still try and get them to let me call them back, because it happens all the time that businesses get tired or become dissatisfied with their present cleaning services.

Please share what you think I can do to improve my approach. Thanks, all.

Last of all, if any of this helps any of you cold-calling, great! Share your ideas with me.

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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by dp1 on Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:25 pm

Well, I personally don't like cold calling Very Happy
What you can do to increase sealing the deal is to present the estimate in person ? That way they can meet you and you can present yourself.
Btw are you Apex carpet out of Pasadena ? If you are I'm your neighbor, lol.
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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by Mo on Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:07 am

Nice qualifiers Kleaner Dude now you have to make them feel the pain. When was the last time you had your carpets cleaned? How would you rate the condition of your carpet from 1-10 ten being the most soiled.

You'll increase your close ratio buy selling to a different industry and do belly to belly sales with free demos. Restaurants tend to neglect their carpet and if the do clean the budget is low,

Check Out Excellency Supply CMS
http://www.excellent-supply.com/CMS-Commercial-Marketing-System-DOWNLOADABLE-DIGITAL-PRODUCT_p_312.html
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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by kleanerdude on Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:26 am

Reach a lot more people by phone - REMEMBER, i do not leave the house, i only call for the owner. I am doing very good by phone, just asking for additional ideas for qualifying potential clients - thanks.

The owner does the face to face. I AM the phone expert.  You're passing up free money not using the phone, esp. with the cost of gas - jus get somebody with a good voice and phone personality and train them - easy money! STOP passing it up, give somebody an easy phone job - give them commission only $20-$40 per job, depending on what you get.  Bonuses if they sell more than X amount each week.

No, I am not Apex, just made up that name for an example.

Mo! And, yes, i need to look at a really good 2nd option, after restaurants to call, bowling alleys have been good but not that many. Thanks for your suggestions, i wrote them down.

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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by milspec6 on Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:45 am

I would find it tough to qualify any job without having a working knowledge of the place. Even if you handle it by phone, it would be very helpful if you have been to the establishment at some point in person.

I think that would answer your qualifying issue. If I am going to pitch a theater, I want to know personally if they place is a dump or the owner is a cheap jerk. That tells me more than the statistics of the chair number, amount of carpet, etc.

Cold calling is an art form and it sounds like you have the knack, which is very rare. I just don't know how deep you can actually go on qualifying a job without being able to walk it down and meet the owner first.

Finding cleaning jobs is a lot like fighting a war. You can bomb them all day every day, but it takes boots on the ground to close the deal. I see cold calls as the bombing missions.....you still need the ground game to be successful.

Now if the calls are just about finding leads, then I wouldn't worry about qualifying anything. Locate the potentials, set up a meeting time, and pass it on to the owner to follow-up. It is his ground game that will be in a better position to determine the specifics.
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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by kleanerdude on Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:46 pm

milspec6,
You hit it on th' head but as I keep saying, I am and will never ever ever be anyone other than the phone dude. The real qualifier is the owner or technician who physically goes out to the site, if they get that far - as many of my leads are simply prioritized to the reject pile just from their answers to my queries.
One more time, my MAIN thread subject line reads Qualifying Cold Business Prospects and that is what the meat of the matter is here.
I just want to know of a few good qualifier comments/questions I can present to my cold business prospect, that is my MAIN concern here, in this specific instance and thread.
Thanks to you for your comments, though - you always have good feedback for me and I appreciate that very much.
And I will close by saying, again - if you're not using the telephone as a marketing tool, you're throwing money out the window, right now, gas money, primarily.

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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by milspec6 on Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:06 pm

Well, for me there are only a few key elements that tell me if the job is a good one or a stinker.

1. Size and scope of job
2. History (floods, odor issues, spills, last cleanings)
3. Expectations of the customer....this is an important one
4. Cost expectation of customer....also an important one

The last two are probably the biggest ones for me. I need to understand what the customer wants for results and what their budget is. From there I will know if it is a walk away job or not.
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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:43 pm

ask them "what problems are you having with your carpet?"
OR, "whats not turning out to your expectations, when the carpets are cleaned?"
then that can lead to; spots, repairs, odor problems that the other CC isnt taking care of.

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Re: Qualifying Cold Business Prospects

Post by Devon07 on Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:48 pm

Selling is a numbers game...ratios are better face to face....so, increase your numbers on the phone and you should be stacking jobs. shorten the call with something similar to what I list below as an idea. Ive tried to phone staff with great failure.

You want to know two things to get in the door...

1.Do they clean? (seems obvious but its not!)
2.May we have a chance to do or quote it? (a yes or no...to the point with no time wasted on either end)

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