What is the most powerful word in business? This word is super important to being successful in cleaning. Today we will talk about the most powerful word you will ever use in your business, and how to start using it today.
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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
What is the Most Powerful Word in Your Business?
What is the most powerful word that you will say in your business? If you get this wrong, you lose your business, because your business will go to heck in a handbasket. Now, this question was inspired by somebody who called in to the show, and they asked me this question.
“Hi, Angela. I’ve been cleaning professionally for about a month now, but I’ve been cleaning all my life now. When is it too much that the client is asking for? Their house is infested with roaches. I don’t want to do it. Baseboards are black when they’re supposed to be blue. When is it too much that they’re asking for? Because I need to know. Thank you.”
When Should You Walk Away From a Job
All right. When do you walk away from a job? And the answer is the minute that you sense you’re not right for the job. The most powerful word that you will ever use in the course of your business is no, N-O, no. “No, I’m not right for the job.” And you can say it with confidence. If you can’t say it with confidence, get in front of a mirror and practice it over and over and over and over again until you can look a customer in the eye and say, “No, I am not the right person for that job, but I know who is.”
And this is where alignments come in. It is networking. It is where we align ourselves with other businesses that have the services we ourselves do not provide. And it’s important to know what you don’t sell and why.
Say No When Customers Try to Add on Jobs
You go to a customer’s house and they say, “Well, there’s a little spot on my floor. Can you clean up this spot on my floor, and then maybe just shampoo the carpet while you’re at it?” Well, the answer is no. “No, we don’t clean carpets.” And then you need to know why. I’m a house cleaning business, and I carry a vacuum in my car. I do not carry a great big van with all those hoses and water and chemicals and big, ginormous fans and extracting machines, and all that stuff.
And so the reason we say no is this. You have to ask yourself the question, “How much would this job get me?” And so if the customer’s willing to pay an extra $100 for you to get the stains out of her carpet and shampoo the carpets while you’re at it, is it worth it to you to put your reputation on the line in case you screw up the carpets and you have to replace the carpets? The answer to that is no.
Think About How Much it Would Cost to Do the Job
And then you start thinking, “Well, wait a second. If customers are asking me for my carpet cleaning services, how much does that cost to get in the carpet cleaning business?” Well, then you have to look at the opportunity cost. “How much is it going to cost me for the training? Am I smart enough to do it? Yes, I am. Am I physically capable? Yes, I am. Could I learn it as a skill? Yes, I could. Is it a good business move? Hmm, maybe. What’s it going to cost? Well, I need training. I need one of those vans. I need all the hoses and the chemicals.
And I need the big, ginormous fans that dry the carpets after you’ve extracted them with extracting machines. That’s 50 grand right there, just for me to get a $100 job. Let’s see, 50 grand, $100. There’s no payoff right now. How many jobs do I need in order to get the 50 grand back? And if I have a carpet cleaning business, what do I have to do to get the 50 grand back?”
Does that include a new website? And is that new search engine optimization? Is that new marketing? Is that new social media? And suddenly, you’re talking about hiring a team of people to do a whole bunch of other tasks for you.
Most Extra Jobs Aren’t Worth the Cost
How much does that cost? And so you’re talking about 50 grand for the supplies and the training. You’re talking about probably another 50 grand per year for somebody else to do the other half of that business. So we’re 100 grand. Because we have a customer that wants to pay us an extra $100?
The answer is no. “No, we don’t do that, but I got a buddy of mine who does. Let me introduce you to my buddy who has a carpet cleaning business. He’s been doing this for years. He knows it like the backside of his hand. And he’s insured and bonded for carpets.”
That is a much, much, much better way to serve your customer than saying, “Well, I don’t want to say no, so I’m going to run down to the store, and I’m going to get a little tiny machine, and I’m going to buy $30 worth of chemicals, and I’m going to come back, and I’m going to read the instruction manual and watch a YouTube video, and I’m going to try to clean their carpets.” No, that is not what we do.
You Need to Know Exactly What You Do
You need to know exactly what you do and what you do not do. The customer says, “Well, how much does it cost for you to wash my windows?” “Oh, let me check. I don’t have a truck, I don’t have a truck mount. I don’t have an extension ladder.”
“We do not clean windows, but I know somebody who does,” then you recommend them to your buddy who does clean windows. Now, the reason I say this and the reason it is so important is that as house cleaners, we get really sidetracked by the wisp of the quick buck. We want to serve our customers.
House Cleaners Want to Please Their Customers
We are people-pleasers, and we want to go in there, and we want to give them what they asked for. But the answer is, we are not qualified on all things, nor should we be. So when a customer calls and says, “Hey, listen, I got this mold on my ceiling, but it’s a very small patch. Can you come to clean the mold?”
“I want to say yes. Yes, I can make your house shine, but the answer is no.” You’ve got mold in the ceiling of your house? What we need is a mold remediation specialist that can come in and measure the moisture in the air. And if they find moisture and mold behind the walls of your home. Mold grows fast. It’s an organic compound, and it just grows. It’s going to take over the whole entire house.
“I’m not qualified to do that. We need to get somebody in here that can measure the moisture in the air, and then they can blast, ice blast that out of the house. It’s like a pressure washer, but with dry ice. I don’t have those machines. I don’t have that kind of training. I’m not equipped as a house cleaner. I’m fantastic with a mop and a vacuum. I can do that. But with the dry ice blasting, not my thing.”
Stop and Think if You Offer That Service
And so when you stop and you realize, “What is that going to cost me? Is that something we offer?” very quickly, you’re going to determine in your business what you do not do. And that’s really important to know. When a customer asks you, “Ah, wish I did, and I don’t. We don’t do that. We don’t offer that service, but I know someone who does.”
When a customer invites you into their home, and they have roach infestation, and they have black on their baseboards, I don’t know what the black is. Is that mold? Is that cigarette tar? I don’t know what that is.
And so, until we get a remediation specialist to come in, who’s actually qualified for this, and they have hazmat suits, and they’re able to come in and not only knock out the pest situation, which sounds like a pest control service, there might also be a rodent infestation.
Be Kind When You Say No
And if you get into a house and you’re like, “Whoa, this is way over my head,” you need to be very kind and compassionate, but say those words. “No, I’m sorry. This is not exactly what we do, but I know somebody who does. Would you mind if I gave you a recommendation of someone that would be a perfect fit for your house, and they are trained to do what it is you need? Because I want to serve you in the best possible way, and I’m not the right person for that.”
They will appreciate you more for coming up and just being honest with them than to go home and to try to figure out some expensive price, so you can price yourself out of the market. That’s not helpful to them either. You gave them no recommendations. And all you did give them was a high price that made them think that having that service was unapproachable or unaffordable. And so my suggestion is, learn to say no, and get really comfortable saying no.
I Have Said No a lot During COVID
During the COVID era, I have said no to more projects than I’ve ever said, probably in my entire life combined. They’re just coming at me from every angle, and I got to say, “No, I want to be so bad, and no, not the right fit, not the right time, not the right service, not the right whatever. No, we don’t do that. Wish we could, but we don’t. However, I know somebody who can.” My suggestion to you is, learn to say no, and then learn to create alignments with other people in the industry. And I say in the industry, they have the same customers you have. That would be carpet cleaners and window washers.
That would be pressure-washing people and pest control people. This would be home organizers, people that do similar stuff to the same audiences, but it is not what you do. And then get really comfortable looking the customer in the eye and smiling as big as you can and say, “Yeah, you don’t want me to do that.”
Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-for-Word Questions, Phrases, and Conversations to Open and Close More Sales – https://amzn.to/3wZS2e6
Master of the Arts: Excel at Saying No: Change The Habit Of Pleasing, Overcome The Fear To Refuse, Gain Your Time And Respect, Say No Without Feeling Guilty, Grow Your Wealth And Success – https://amzn.to/3w3opst
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty – https://amzn.to/3w4kxY6
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life – https://amzn.to/34WYiY8
The Art Of Saying NO: How To Stand Your Ground, Reclaim Your Time And Energy, And Refuse To Be Taken For Granted (Without Feeling Guilty) – https://amzn.to/3w4kWd4
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