What is so important about image?
Image is a broad range of how people perceive you in the market place – and thank goodness for marketing 101 we can direct other people’s opinions of us and show them what to think about us through the image we project.
Your image is a display of your beliefs. Here’s how it works: you have seven seconds to “show” someone what you are all about as a business and a business owner.
In seven seconds clients will decide if they want to work with you or not. Do you believe in cleanliness and order? How you show up and what you leave behind will be an extension of your beliefs. And they all fit into your personal brand.
Your Professional Image
So let me ask you this: if you arrive to clean a house in an old beat up car with muddy windows, and a bumper that is taped on with duct tape – what is the first impression the client will have of you?
True or not, they are going to assume you are careless. (i.e. You got in an accident and are cheap. You didn’t bother to get your bumper fixed. You don’t care about cleanliness since there is mud on your windows, and if your car is full of wrappers, junk and lose cleaning supplies, that you’re just disorganized and a total mess.)
Immediately their mind goes to a place that asks: “if they don’t care about their own personal belongings, why should I trust them with my most valuable personal asset – my home? And you haven’t even gotten out of your car yet.
How you show up is your professional image. You have 100% control over that.
You don’t have to have a fancy car, but it should be in working order and it should be clean.
I recommend joining an unlimited car wash plan at a local car wash company like Autobell or SamsXpress that for $25-$30 a month. You can drive through as many times as you like and get your car cleaned. I have one I use, and I end up washing my car three to four times a week. My car is always clean and I am methodically projecting the clean tidy image that is consistent with my brand.
Professional Image is your car, your cleaning supplies and your company.
The good news is you will not be having clients over to your storefront – because you don’t have a storefront, so you don’t have to worry about what your home office looks like. You do however need to pay attention to how you arrive.
Believe it or not, home security cameras can pick you up and clients can zoom in and watch you and your arrival process.
Get out of your car, take out your cleaning supplies in one swift and organized movement, lock your car door and approach the house.
Do it like you are an actor on the big screen, and you’ve rehearsed this hundreds of times. The cameras are rolling and all of the neighbors are watching you from their windows to see if this is the person they want to hire for their next cleaning project.
I promise you this – the neighbors will talk about you – good or bad. Direct them to a positive conversation by the image you project.
Personal image is how you show up, and when you are on the job. This is you.
Your overall appearance, your uniform, your shoe covers, your hand gloves, etc. When your clients recommend you, this is the image they have showing up at their friends’ homes. They don’t want you to make a fool of them. The referred you because of the work you do and the image they have of you and your company, and they want you to show up exactly the same way.
Your company image is what you leave behind. If you are running flyers, the very first impression your new prospects will have is the flyer you left behind. It is one reason if you choose a logo, it must be cohesive with the products or services you are selling. If you have a paint brush as your logo connected to some small flowers, and you are selling house cleaning services – it doesn’t make sense. People will be confused — and something as simple as the wrong logo will keep people from hiring you. People respond to emotion before they respond to logic. And if you’ve made the emotional and the logical perceptions to hire you incomplete – bam, you’re not going to get any business.
If you are just starting your house cleaning business and you can’t imagine what your company image looks like, it’s going to be hard to sell.
If you can’t imagine it, how on earth are you going to explain it to somebody who calls you on the phone? Don’t worry – as you go along you will learn what the company image you are projecting is. Clients will tell you by the referrals they send you.
It is one of the reasons showing up on time is paramount. If you show up exactly at the time a client expects you, then you have reinforced the image they have of you. Unfortunately, if you show up late, you have reinforced that image as well.
Your worksheets are your progress report. They are your biggest marketing piece that you will ever leave behind. It has to be organized, tidy, current, etc. It is your invoice, and your receipt, it has your rules and policies on it, and it has your contact information. These worksheets will become your best advertisements as clients hand these out to their friends along with their personal word of mouth referral.
Make sure you don’t forget to bring one each time you clean a house. Make sure you carry it with you on a clip board so the papers aren’t wrinkled and wet from cleaning supplies. And make sure that you have enough printer in the ink cartridges in your printer so it doesn’t look like a ghost skipping off the page, rather than the text you are intending to print. Your image, personally and professionally will set you apart from all of the other house cleaners they’ve ever had.
Remember you are not just a house cleaner…you are the company owner.