Need to find cleaning clients to fill your schedule? Learn how to turn referrals into the secret behind your business success.
One of the most puzzling parts of running a commercial janitorial business is figuring out how to find cleaning clients. We get lucky sometimes, and they appear seemingly from nowhere. We have some friends who send business our way. Beyond that, however, it’s a mystery.
Plenty of people running cleaning companies are fantastic at the business side of things. Invoices are organized, inventory is streamlined, and proposals are crisp and detailed. And yet, when it comes to networking and building a client base, something’s missing.
It can be hard to know where to look or who to talk to. Business owners and property managers don’t have the time for meetings. Phone calls go unanswered. It’s frustrating. And when fewer clients are coming in, it’s also scary. If you only have, say, 20 clients on the books and two of them leave, you’ve lost 10% of your business.
So how can you find cleaning clients regularly? And keep a steady stream of potential business flowing your way? Referrals are one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, but you have to put in some effort to make it work.
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Learn to find cleaning clients with a referral strategy that can’t be beat
Referrals tend to bring in great clients. They’re often business associates or friends of current clients. The people who refer you are customers who appreciate what you do, know your team is the best, and want you to succeed.
What you may not realize, however, is that many of those clients who would gladly champion you don’t realize you’re looking for referrals. They have no idea how full your schedule is or how many openings you have. Sure, if someone asks, they’ll sing your praises and share your contact information. But because they don’t know you’re looking for more clients, they won’t actively tell people about your commercial cleaning business.
That means it’s your job to ask for referrals and be clear about the fact that you’re trying to find cleaning clients to add to your schedule. What does this look like in practice?
There’s a lot to be said for setting up an official referral program or offering referral incentives. You can check out those options in How to Find Janitorial Clients with a Stronger Referral Program, and How to Get Cleaning Referrals with an Incentive Program. Here are a few highlights:
- Referred customers are 18% more likely to stay with you vs. non-referred customers, according to the Wharton School of Business. Some sources even put this number as high as 37%.
- Small Business Trends notes that 84% of buying decisions for businesses begin with a referral. They also point out that a formalized referral program makes you three times more likely to hit your revenue goals.
Clearly, referrals work, as do referral programs. If you have the time and ability to set one up, absolutely go for it.
Right now, however, we’re looking at some simple, easy ways to find cleaning clients through referrals. So let’s start with one of the easiest things you can do: change your invoice template.
As part of your tagline or thank you note on your invoices, add one simple line: “We appreciate your referrals.” Of course, put your own spin on that. Just make sure it’s there. It’s a simple way to help you find cleaning clients. While you’re at it, add similar statements to your website and any social media channels.
You could make it seem more exclusive, too. For example, “We have openings for two new clients and would love to work with more businesses like yours. Would you be willing to share our information with someone you think we should work with?” If you go that route, however, don’t put that on your website or publicize it. That would lose the exclusivity. Instead, send it out in your monthly newsletter, add it to your invoices for one month, or send cards to your clients.
Don’t ask for referrals unless you do these two things first
If you plan to ask for referrals in person or in another direct communication, it’s important to consider two things first. Excellent work with outstanding customer service is essential if you want to ask for referrals to find cleaning clients.
There’s a bare minimum here:
- Showing up on time
- Invoicing correctly
- Always doing a great job
- Looking professional at all times
- Keeping in communication with your clients
Ideally, you and your team kick that up a notch and offer things like an app for easy and quick communication with janitorial teams working after business hours or overnight or convenient billing and payment options. You send out quarterly or bi-annual satisfaction surveys, or you show up in person occasionally to check in with your clients.
The second thing you need to do is ask for referrals at the right time. You could ask when you sign your initial contract, but at that point, your customer doesn’t know much about your work. When is the ideal time to bring this up? At the end of a great meeting with a happy client or after you receive glowing reviews on a satisfaction survey.
When you take an active role in asking for referrals, you’ll get better results. A referral program can help, but don’t ignore some of the simple and easy ways you can find cleaning clients with the help of your current customers.
Set up a free consultation call to find out about all of the great features Janitorial Manager has to offer. Reach out any time, and we’ll schedule a call that suits your calendar!