Find out how to talk to upper management about their cleaning program and promote your services successfully.

Figuring out how to talk to upper management is always a question of personality. One look at the business news of the day, and you can see that the attitudes of executives and upper management run from pleasant and welcoming to, well, let’s just say, not so pleasant or welcoming. 

At the same time, as a business owner and de facto salesperson, you often need to talk to management in order to promote and sell your commercial cleaning services. Whether you meet with a facilities manager, small business owner, or the board and executives of medical facilities, schools, or government offices, you have to promote your services without accidentally turning people away. 

Can you walk that fine line? Can you say the right thing without insulting their current cleaning practices? Here are some tips that can help.

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How To Talk To Upper Management

How to talk to upper management and sell your commercial cleaning services

1. You’re the expert. It’s easy to get wrapped up in worry or stress when you think about how to talk to upper management or business owners. But don’t forget that you are the expert in cleaning and janitorial services. Go into these talks with that confidence. You may be talking to business people with plenty of successes under their belt, but you’re a business owner, too! Remember, though, if you’re working to replace the cleaning program, don’t make negative comments about the program they have in place at the moment. No matter how bad the current program is, or how much better your services are, you don’t know who approved or possibly runs the cleaning program they have. You can point out differences (i.e. we use different technology, or our team is certified) without even mentioning the current cleaning program.

2. Be curious. While you are the expert in commercial cleaning, the people you talk to will still have ideas, thoughts, opinions, and questions. If something they say seems completely out of line with your experience and knowledge, don’t discount that. Rather, be curious about where that idea comes from. Try your best to make them feel heard and understood, while also explaining your process. This is really no different than how you might talk to any customer. 

3. Take the “Yes, and” approach. People don’t like to hear “no.” For example, “Can you clean this 18,000-square-foot office building in the next hour so we can host a holiday party?” How are you going to answer this? You could go with a flat-out no. Or you could try something like this: “Yes, and to do that, we will either need to keep the party to one much smaller section, or we can manage a surface clean so everything looks nice even though we’ll need to come back later to perform the detailed cleaning we usually do.” This “Yes, and” approach can help you keep expectations realistic while still offering a positive answer.

4. Be concise. If you want to know a secret for how to talk to upper management successfully, this is one of the best secrets there is. As a business owner or manager, you know how busy you are and how much of your day is wrapped up in meetings. This is true for the people you want to talk to, as well. Therefore, try to keep things concrete and concise. Provide the facts and data, and move along to the conclusion. 

5. Promote the benefits. It doesn’t matter whether you’re deciding how to talk to upper management at a company or the shift supervisor at a restaurant. In every case, you want to promote the benefits of a new, updated, or improved cleaning program. What are some of those possible benefits? 

  • Your customers will feel more comfortable spending money here because the bathrooms are always tidy. 
  • Your employees will have fewer sick days when you switch to green cleaning products. 
  • Student outcomes are better in schools with updated cleaning programs. 
  • A high-quality cleaning program saves you money by prolonging the life of carpets and furniture. 

Again, this is the recommended approach to take with most of your accounts, so you aren’t heading into any unfamiliar territory here. Everyone likes saving money! 

Remember, upper management is just like anyone else that you might talk to during your work day. Don’t let titles throw you off. After all, you’re upper management, too!

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