Sales Force or Carpet Cleaners?

Carpet cleaners have earned themselves a bad reputation for several reasons.  Many of the reasons, like rusted white vans, are not practiced by a large portion of the industry, but still affect this perception.  One behavior, above all others, is practiced by nearly every carpet cleaning company.  Whether you call it shotgun sales, overcoming objections, or simply upselling, the difference between a financially stable carpet cleaner and one scraping by is their ability to achieve difficult sales bonuses.  These bonuses are usually based on an average increase in the size of a customer’s bill.  This means the main focus of each carpet cleaner is getting the customer to pay more money than they originally were quoted.  This is the job of a marketing company or sales force, not the job of a carpet cleaner.

This also means that once a carpet cleaner has realized that his sale is not going well, he either tries to overcome the objections of the client, or move on to the next client as fast as possible.  Often on two man teams, the crew chief can be found acting as a salesman nearly the whole job while his assistant does all the cleaning.  This is not conducive of ensuring they provide the best service possible.

Another problem these actions pose is that these carpet cleaners are being trained in sales instead of carpet cleaning.  This valuable time would be much better spent training in the technical aspects of carpet cleaning.  Keep in mind: “service” should be the main focus of the “service” industry.  My family owns the Commercial Steam Team, a commercial heavy carpet cleaning company in the Twin Cities Area of Minnesota.  Personally, I believe in training and rewarding carpet cleaners for cleaning carpets, not sales.  I do understand the temptation to become a sales-heavy company; everyone would like more money in their pockets.  I just think we can be a little more patient and let that growth happen through the volume increase associated with referrals and quality, instead of marketing through advertising and then marketing to them again in the home.  The more put off the public is from these bad experiences, the more difficult it is to overcome their objections.  This increases the sales pressure, which in turn, increases the negative outlook on carpet cleaners, and the cycle continues.  If we all did it the right way, the industry would have a much better reputation, there would be more consumers for our services, meaning we would all make more money.  It would not occur overnight, however, but as Obie Wan said,  “Patience, my young Pad Wan.”