How to win more Cleaning Contracts

How to leverage your Cleaning Proposal to Close and Win more Cleaning Contracts.

Your cleaning proposal is a critical tool in winning you more cleaning contracts

Your cleaning proposal is the single most important item that your potential client interacts with. They'll check out your website at the research stage of their search, but likely not return there again.

However, the next serious marketing tool they'll interact with is your proposal. They view them, print them, send them off to others and often look at them on their desk for days on end before a decision is made.  So it makes sense to make the most of this opportunity.

After you've gone to all the effort of optimising your Website, your SEO, Adwords Accounts, sourced Testimonials and the likes, you'll want to make sure you continue to pitch to them.

They are about to spend thousands of dollars with you across the coming years, so make sure they feel that you value it.

Too often, the task of getting some cleaning proposals is often delegated to a Office Administrator or Receptionist, who realistically isn't the decision maker. Often the decision makers are very busy people, and they'll make their decision based on your proposal submission.

Of course they'll always take onboard the advice of the person that requested your services but the proposal is a major key.


7 Tools to help you win your next Cleaning Contract


Ensure your Proposal floats to the Top of the Pile

We check out 7 Tools to help you Win your Next Cleaning Proposal

Other than your website, your Proposal is won of the most powerful marketing tools your business has. So download our list of some of the best software tools for putting together your next Cleaning Proposal


7 Tools to help you Win your next Cleaning Proposal

Establish your Niche

All businesses have a speciality. Identify yours and run with it.

Get some focus in your business. Your Contract Cleaning Proposal must talk to the pain points the Office Administrator or Property Manager has experienced with other providers in the past.

All businesses have a speciality. It’s either you do a lot of it, you enjoy a particular service you offer, your clients know you for one particular service or it could possibly be your most profitable service.

Whichever the case, focus on a niche to win more cleaning contracts. Don’t be one of the businesses that say we do Domestic, Commercial, Retail, Industrial, Bond Cleans, Carpet Cleaning, Window Cleaning blah blah just to get a Sale, especially on your proposals.  

In most cases when it comes to competing against others businesses, the ones that are clear on who their perfect customer is, close and win more proposals, and will most definitely wipe the floor with yours, as their proposals speak directly to this particular customer.

While you may offer plenty of services as most business do, your proposal isn't an extension of your website, it's an opportunity to speak directly to the customer in a way that makes them feel you know them and their problems very well.  If you do offer multiple services and niches within the industry, make sure you have a unique and custom proposal to use for each area of the market you service.

The most successful Entrepreneurs and People have focus. Your business needs focus too. It’s extremely difficult to market and sell your services when your customer is everyone.

Your Commercial Contract Cleaning proposal must talk to the pain points the Office Administrator or Property Manager has experienced with other providers, and you need to make sure your proposal highlights that you have the answers to eliminate those previously bad experiences.  This is because you are a specialist in their sector.

After all, it’s very rare you get a lead who has never experienced bad service before. They’ve always either got a provider they aren’t happy with or looking to make a change for financial reasons.  So when you step in as a specialist, your Testimonials will be relevant, your processes for service delivery will be more relevant and your experience will be relevant.


Qualify Leads

You don't want to win all enquiries

Everyone isn't your customer. Some of the largest companies in the world, still understand that not everyone is their customer. 

The key to winning more clients is to firstly identify which customers you want to win and which you don’t.

Far too many business owners jump the second a call comes in and are booking in quote appointment without evening qualifying the lead first.  Have you ever gone to meet a potential customer only to find out when you speak to them in person, that it's a complete waste of your time and that you don't really want their business?

If your answer is no, it must mean that every customer you see, get's a proposal that same day. No. I'm pretty sure when the perfect customer requests your services and you know that you are in with a great chance you generally move mountains, to get that proposal back as soon as possible, correct?

Aaaah, see, subliminally you still prioritise your proposals at some stage, so the ones you prioritise above the others are guess what? Your Preferred Customer.

Clients enter our businesses either through completing a Quote Request or similar on our website or they pick up the phone and call. Regardless, of how they enter our world, we need to ensure we qualify them before committing any more our time with them. 

Qualifying Leads is essential to your business success as it ensures that you are not wasting your time with tyre kickers, you can invest more time in those that are most important, valuable and that your more likely to win.

Have you ever been asked to quote on a project so large, that you thought, if only we won that job, it would change everything? Spent weeks putting a Tender together, creating policy and procedures, fake systems etc you don't even have in place all in hope that they'll pick you.  The companies that can deliver these tenders, usually win them, why because they've grown to the point, that there Perfect Customer is now this size premises. You are likely not there yet, so go chase business you can win and service.

So before you even consider arranging a time to attend their premises to discuss their services qualify them. You can say no.


Focus on the Customer

All I can hear is me, me , me

Does your customer really come first? Your website says differently. All it says is how wonderful you are. Guess what? Your lead has heard to all before. Cleaning businesses aren't new.  Jump on Google now and search for a Cleaning Companies. Have a look at 5 of them and identify what they have in common.

I’ll have a guess.  

They all say that the customer comes first, that they provide a high quality service, using the latest technology with professionally trained staff at a competitive price, blah blah blah. Sound familiar.

All I can hear is me, me, me me.

Your proposals are no different. Establish what their problems are and offer the solutions to their problems. Give them the benefits of your services not the features.

So what’s the difference between a feature and a benefit?

Features are the services or things that your business actually offer. In the above case A High Quality Service is a feature, along with Professionally Trained Staff.

Benefits, on the other hand, are things that it can do for the Customer. A benefit is the outcome and how it improved the Customer’s Life. 


Show them how

You deliver your services better than your competitors

The customer needs to be confident that you have the skills, resources, procedures and workforce to deliver on your promises. In most cases they've engaged Cleaning Contractors before. They didn't hire the last one because they promoted themselves as cheap and nasty. They too promised the world, but here we are.

While displaying ISO Standards and Certifications, Memberships etc may help when buying a Product, with Services I want to know how you deliver. These certifications are what I consider top of the funnel tools. They demonstrate your commitment to improvement and business process. But when all 3 of the companies quoting have ISO, then you still need to make sure your proposal doesn't rest on those laurels only.

Proposal Software Solutions provide you unlimited opportunities to show your customer HOW you deliver your services. These solutions host your Proposal as a digital web page, so you can therefor add pretty much anything that can be displayed on a website on your proposal.

Video Content, Pictures, Gifs, Tables, Snippets of Text, Quotes, Testimonials and much more. This means your lead is opening an interact proposal that they can really dive into and learn more and more about your business.

Video of your Staff's Offline Training, Screenshoots of your Learning Management System, Samples of your Site Inspections can all draw your customer into your businesses culture and vision for not just your business but there premises.

Imagine how powerful, a personalised video, that you quickly recorded on your iPhone that outlines why you want there business would be.

Then I would definitely believe them when they say they are a innovative company. 


Provide Social Proof

Absolutely critical to demonstrate that you can deliver

Remember, all that have come before you have promised an under delivered, so why will you any different.

Customer Testimonials are critical to provide social proof that you do deliver your promises to people just like them. Try to find a customer that truly represents (in the best way) what your ideal customer looks like.  People are influenced by similar people, so make sure your testimonials are from similar clients to your buyers avatar or a part of the same niche, so that your new opportunity connects with them. Whether we like it or not, studies have found our brain naturally places more weight on those people of testimonials we deem to be more like us.

When people evaluate claims, they often rely on what Comedian Stephen Colbert calls truthiness. Research suggests putting a face to the testimonial instantly increases trust.  So if you proposal is for a medical facility, make sure the photo from your testimonial reflects that this person works in the medical industry. Your opportunity can also pick a fake testimonial a mile away too, so make sure you also include some specific details about the person who gave the testimonial so that they can research them if they wish. 

Avoid testimonials with generic wording too. Great Service. Best Cleaners I've ever used. There are multiple ways to get great testimonials, however to ensure you get a great testimonial you need to Ask The Right Questions.

Social Proof can also be in the form of references. You most definitely will have a handful of clients at the very least that think you are amazing. Ask them to be a reference and encourage the new opportunity to call them

Case Studies are also a great way to engage you opportunity. How have you helped another Client improve their cleaning? Have you saved them money? Increased Staff Morale? Reduced Sickness? Reduced Staff Complaints?


Don't Race to the Bottom

The war on price is a slippery slope

The idea of reducing prices because of competitive pressure from lower-quality suppliers has always been present in the cleaning industry.  However, these days, our clients are often wiser than this. They understand if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. However, you can't have a premium price, without providing a premium offering.

Your business survives on profit, so focus on the benefits of the service and your offering rather than on price. Only medium to large businesses can compete on price due to their scale.

You’ll never win the war on price and it’s only a slippery slope to unprofitable contracts and clients. A business should be driven by profit and small business profit is most easily achieved with higher margins not higher volumes.

You still need to remain competitive, but stand your ground when a lead questions your rates or quote. If you need to justify your price, you haven’t done all we've discussed above effectively enough.

If you feel that offering your service at a premium is pricing you out of too many opportunities, don’t lower your price. Rather provide some pricing options.

Most food outlets offer us a small, medium or large. So you can do the same by offering a Basic and Premium Service for example.

However, just like the takeaway menu, make sure you provide the lead with a crystal clear list of the services received with each option.


Market with every Opportunity

Your Cleaning Proposal is your single most important piece of Content

Decisions will be made based on the information within your proposal. So also use this opportunity to consistently market your business

I can hear you thinking, how do I possibly add all this information to my proposals, they’ll take
me days to create?

Introducing Proposal Software. As mentioned above, tools such as PandaDoc, Proposify, Qwilr, NiftyQuoter, Better Proposals, Quote Roller and Proposable to name a few all give you the ability to build your own custom proposal templates for each specific service you offer and allow you to add all sorts of cool stuff to them.

When your lead receives the proposals, they’ll often either view them automatically or have options to view the proposal in their browser. This means because it’s essentially a webpage, all the cool things you see on websites can be included in these online proposals. So listing the other services you offer, with before and after photos

In most cases this lead is looking to spend thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars a year with your business, so a one page quote isn’t going to cut it. Proposals are an opportunity for you to market your business, highlight the features and more importantly the benefits of doing business with you, highlighting your terms and conditions of trade and much more.

Your lead really shouldn’t have any questions about your business after consuming your proposal.  Now if this was pages and pages of text in a word doc, I'd flick straight to the price page, but if I'm clicking past Videos, Gifs moving on the page and images in a beautifully consumed format, I'm going to be engaged in your business and learn more.


Send it fast

Good things come to those who wait doesn't apply here

We live in a On-Demand Economy. No one wants to wait a week for a proposal to clean a Commercial Office 5 days a week for a site with 100 staff. They expect if you are experienced in this type of work, that you should be able to propose your services quickly, so make send your proposals fast to win cleaning contracts.

As every minute ticks by, more or your competitors are submitting their Proposals and with most businesses wanting to make decision quickly, you leave yourself wide open. The client may have already made a decision, well before you've submitted it days or a week later.

Not only does getting a proposal back quickly demonstrate that they are important, but it highlights the efficiencies within your business.  If you have several Proposal Templates built in a Proposal Software Tool, creating your quote is a simple as populating price, and adding Content Libraries which a little section of text etc with pre-populate content. Content Such as the task you perform in their bathrooms can be added in bulk, and you can edit on the fly, so if there is anywhere in the proposal where you want to customise the proposal even more for this opportunity you can do so with ease.

These tools can often alert you when the opportunity opens the proposal, views individual pages and they can even comment on the proposal and start conversations with online about specific items in your proposal which is really neat.

Getting your proposal in sooner, means you can start following up sooner and potentially close the deal well before you competitors have worked out what's going on.

Make it easy to say YES

Does your customer know how to accept your proposal?

We call cleaning businesses everyday to discuss freshOps with them and it amazes me how many of them don't answer the phone. While that is an entirely different problem, it does raise the question that if someone is ready to accept your proposal you need to make that process seamless.

You know what it's like when you walk into a retail store you have that new shirt in your hand, but you can't find the counter, and then when you do find it, there is no one around to take your money. It's frustrating right. 

So make it clear in your proposal how they should except your proposal. Whether it be emailing you, submitting a form or simply sending through some completed forms, if you tell them upfront, they be able to see that this too, is a procedure within your business. Which will support your efforts to show them that your business managers every step of the service and your relationship with them.

I know I keep going back to proposal software, but these tools often let the opportunity accept the proposal and even sign an acceptance electronically. Tools like PandaDoc are not only proposal tools, but are Document management tools, so also allow you to quickly send or even include you Terms and Conditions, your Account Application, and Client Details Forms, so they all be collected digitally without your opportunity having to print, sign, complete, scan and email back.

One thing that I notice, is that a lot of cleaning companies mention their environmental policies, but still force their clients to print proposals and forms to engage them. Now that isn't very environmentally conscious is it?



Don't let someone else develop a relationship with your potential customer

To follow up means to gather further information or to reinforce or evaluate a previous action.  

Following up keeps you front and centre in the customers mind. It used to be said you had to interact with an opportunity 7 times before they would buy from you. In the age of the internet, this is much higher.  So the more times you can engage with your customer the better.

Have you ever wondered why a prospect goes to all that effort of calling, getting you onsite to quote, submitting a proposal and then they never call you back?

The reason at times, is that they were simply not ready to buy yet, they were essentially window shopping, but they will be ready to buy at some stage in the future, you just need to be the business that comes to mind when they do.

Follow up should commence pretty much as soon as you submitted your proposal and should continue until the opportunity advises you that you are unsuccessful or that they are no longer interested in your type of services.  This doesn't mean constantly hassling them on the phone and being salesy and pitchy.

It's an opportunity to nurture the relationship. A mixture of emails, phone calls and sms can be used quite effectively to communicate with your opportunity and keep your business front and centre in their minds and should ideally be done with some kind of consistency.

These communications should be a range of direct follow ups such as "asking when a decision will be made?" to simply sending them answers to some FAQs. Again the systematic nature of your follow up, will again support your claims of a business that is innovative and has systems in place.

And lastly keep in mind, like you, your prospects are busy. So most people that are keen to do business with you, appreciate follow up, those that aren't, instantly un-qualify themselves in most cases as a prospect. Which means, you can focus your time on those that really do want to do business with you.


Circle like a shark

Waiting for the blood to enter the water and then strike

If you are unsuccessful, the first 3 months after the proposal being awarded is a critical time.  The quoting process is still quite fresh in the Clients mind their new Cleaning contractor may still be having some "teething issues" and while they'll often go all in month 1, by month 3, unless there systems are as solid as your,  the wheels can start falling off.

This the perfect time to circle back around and follow up again.

So putting a Note or Task in your calendar or CRM to follow up with them at the end of month 1 and month 3 gives you an opportunity to nurture the prospect further. After all the value in most Cleaning Services is the customers life time value, so while you might not close them this year, every year your list of potential prospects should be increasing, at you just don't know when they'll reach back out to you.

The reasons they didn't choose you may vary widely, but that's not to say that those reasons may not change in the future. New management, new staff,  or any change within the prospects business could completely alter the result in the future.

It's not uncommon, for the boss to also just pick the cheapest. We've all been there. In time, the staff will let the boss know that was a mistake. You just need to be the one who is in the front of his mind, when instructs his team to find new cleaners again.



Most contracts are for 12mths initially

However, the prospect will potentially need a cleaning service for the next 5 - 10 years at least. Over that time they'll have changes of management, business performance, premises and a heap of other changes as they also grow. So it's important to play the long game too. After all, they were drawn to your business for some reason. It may have been your great call to actions, it could have been that your about us page filled them with confidence or your testimonials where really engaging. Something lead them form shopper to enquirer. 

Long term your prospect reverts back to a lead and a lead requires nurturing and educating if they are ever to do business with you in the future. So a lead nurturing campaign can really drive and engage your old prospects and often open opportunities that previously you would have forgotten about.  Too many business focus on New Business or New Leads, but our old interactions that progressed past a simple form fill are full on low hanging fruit.

Lead Nurture campaigns are usually email based, but a clever campaign may still integrate the odd phone call too. But how do you run an email campaign. Well all you need is a simple tool like Mailchimp, that can automate these emails to give your prospects some valuable content that'll help them long term manage the cleaning at their premises. 

Offers, are great ways to re-engage an old lead. Spring Cleaning Offers, Christmas Carpet Cleaning Specials. I'm pretty confident that there existing cleaners, will not be sending them these type of offers. In my experience, I'd often pick up a window clean, strip & seal or carpet cleaning job from an old lead who we submitted a contract cleaning proposal for unsuccessfully.

It was a great opportunity for them to our experience how we do business, and very often would eventually lead to us wining the contract. Why? Because, we were now the company that cleaned their High Windows every 6months, did their Annual Carpet Cleaning, that they turned to for any cleaning services outside there regular cleaning. Eventually they asked themselves the question, why weren't we doing the regular cleaning considering how wonderful we were at all the other services.

So keeping them updated with new products, processes, equipment and industry news, starts to stamp you as an authority in their minds. Remember though, this campaigns still need to be segmented into the specific niches so that they continue to get specific content for them.