Achieving true business growth means diversifying efforts to expand and maintain existing customer relationships. Capitalizing on cross and upsell opportunities can be powerful tools to add value for the customer and your cleaning business. Research shows that increasing customer retention by just 5 percent can increase your profits by 25-95 percent, with upselling and cross-selling responsible for about 10-30 percent of total business revenue, according to a Forrester analyst.

It’s also easier and cheaper to make an additional sale to an existing customer, rather than acquire a new one. It’s estimated that businesses have a 60 to 70 percent probability of selling a new service to an existing customer, versus a 5 to 20 percent probability to acquire a prospect. Upselling and cross-selling cleaning services allow you to increase profit while saving time and travel costs. Here are some tips to help increase your cross-selling and upselling efforts whether you’re just starting a cleaning company, or if you’ve been in business for years and are looking to increase revenue.

Cross-Selling – Selling a similar cleaning product or service instead of or in addition to the original service. For example, the customer wants their carpets steamed, but you also offer to clean their baseboards at an additional charge.

Upselling – Adding value to the order by increasing the level, quality, or value of service in exchange for a higher fee. E.g., the customer’s service request is for a basic cleaning, but their floors are in very bad shape. You offer a grouting and floor stripping service with waxing on top of the basic cleaning.

For the Customer’s Benefit

Customer engagement must stem from the goal of providing a positive customer experience. Most of us have had an experience where a salesperson tries to sell us something we don’t need. As you might guess, this is bad for business. However, upselling doesn’t have to be about lining your pockets. It can, and should be, for the customer’s benefit.

Example: You’re cleaning the customer’s house and you notice the drains are clogged. You cross-sell a drain cleaning service. You’re making more money, but the customer walks away with more value. Delivering that kind of value will help to combat the purported 50 percent customer loss per year faced by most cleaning companies due to poor service.

Takeaway: If the customer doesn’t win, don’t make the sale. Providing your customer with value is always more important than forcing an incremental sale.

Recognizing Opportunities

Any upsell must be based on customer needs and how the customer benefits from increasing the value of their purchase. This requires that you have a deep understanding of who the customer is and what they want. Crew leads and team members must be trained to understand your buyer profiles, recognize opportunities, and use an understanding of your products and services to offer more value to customers.

  • Understanding the customer. Creating customer or buyer profiles can help you recognize customers and what they value to give them a better pitch. Some value the lowest price, others value higher quality. Recognizing different types of customers and their concerns will greatly improve your ability to upsell your cleaning services.
  • Asking questions, being observant, and using the knowledge and experience of the service personnel are the easiest ways to recognize and capitalize on opportunities.
  • Upselling based on need. If an additional product or service will benefit, offer it. If it won’t, don’t.

Common Upsell and Cross-Sell Opportunities

While there are many ways to make an upsell or cross-sell, opportunities often lie in similar motivations. These include saving time, saving money, getting an additional service for a good deal, and adding value.

Saving Time – Many people are concerned about time, which makes it an excellent place to begin an upsell. If your cleaning crew recognizes something else that needs to be done, they can very easily recommend that they do it now to save the customer time.

Example: “I noticed the grouting in your office is molding, cleaning it isn’t in your current janitorial service package, but we can add it for $1 per square foot and save you having to hire someone to do it later.”

Saving Money – Money is a major concern for many customers, even when they have it to spare. Here, you can recognize opportunities based on giving customers a good deal, such as a much better service for a slightly larger price. Point out running discounts or specials, when it’s more practical to choose another service, or when you can save the customer money on a total service by giving them a package deal.

Example: “Based on the total time and materials, cleaning the stain will cost $180. However, I have to say it will only be $230 to clean the entire carpet, so you could have the entire thing cleaned for just 30 percent more.”

Example: “I see you opted in for our 6-month cleaning service. We are currently running a special on our 12-month cleaning service with the same cleaning schedule. It would be $490 per week for your full 12,000-square-foot office, which will save you $120 per week over what you have now, what do you think? If you’re happy when we’re done here, I can upgrade you at no extra cost and save you money on this session as well – and then you can rely on us for the rest of the year.”

Additional Service — Identifying and offering to solve additional problems on the property is a skill your team should know. This can include using service descriptions to recommend additional services or simply paying attention on location and making an offer.

Example: “Did you know we clean office windows as well? We can combine it with our weekly floor care plan to save you money on an extra visit.”

Example: “I noticed you have some peeling paint in your offices. Did you know we offer a full handyman service for repairs and general maintenance that you can combine with your existing floor-care package?”

Added Value — You can offer added value by paying attention to what the customer wants and cares about and pitching based on that. This can include an additional cleaning service, a better product, or a better deal, especially trending products and services such as green cleaning.

Example: “I noticed you have solar panels, would you perhaps be interested in our eco-friendly cleaning option? It’s $25 extra to account for the added product cost but we have the supplies with us.”

Example: “Would you like us to strip and wax the floors? We normally recommend that you do so every 6 months to protect the commercially tiled floors, and we could add it on as part of your standard floor-care package.”

Creating Opportunities

Delivering value through upselling and cross-selling requires that your team have the tools and service options to deliver it. This means deliberately creating a service structure that enables upselling while giving more customers the opportunity to choose services that suit their needs.

This also means making sure that your employees are properly trained to not just upsell, but also impress customers by doing their best work. Learn more about training maids & cleaning employees in our post “7 Tips for Training New Maids & House Cleaning Employees“.

You can also take advantage of specific resources to recognize and develop upsell opportunities with customers, during the order and sales process and during the service call.

Tiered Sales – Structuring your products and services around quality options gives customers the ability to choose based on need. For example, a “good, better, best” model translates very well to cleaning services, allowing customers to choose from light, moderate, or deep cleaning. It also allows you to sell longer service terms, with weekly light cleaning, moderate cleaning every third week, and deep cleaning every quarter and so on. This can greatly increase sales, as different tiers appeal to different customers, but you can also make a pricier package seem more tempting by having an even more expensive option available. Because most customers choose the middle option to avoid missing out.

Subscription/Loyalty Programs – Customers want to be rewarded for being good customers, which is why U.S. consumers hold 3.8 billion customer loyalty accounts. Use a subscription or loyalty program to offer discounts to customers who commit to a certain number of visits.

Building Trust – If the customer doesn’t trust that your intentions are to provide them with the best service, they won’t likely pay for it. Build trust and reliability first through exceptional service and work to develop upsells after that is established. For example, by telling customers they can wait to decide on an upsell till after you’ve completed the original service, you give them more confidence in your ability to do the job well. Over half of customers say they value a brand or business if they feel they can trust them.

Unbundle Services – Not everyone will need everything. Creating an unbundled approach allows you to break cleaning services down into specific points (cleaning windows, cleaning carpet, bathroom, kitchen, flooring, etc.) so that customers can pay for what they need and nothing more. This also creates numerous opportunities for upselling, because customers can add new services onto basic cleaning packages to cover areas they didn’t think about. Case studies by Deloitte show that unbundled services actually work to increase customer loyalty and therefore total customer lifetime value by ensuring that any customer can pay for precisely what they need and not more.

Remaining Relevant – It’s crucial that any upsell capitalize on a relevant opportunity that’s already there. If it’s not relevant, your customers will simply feel as though you’re trying to get money from them. Similarly, you shouldn’t keep asking more questions. Pick one solid “do you want fries with that” or “what about X instead” offer for a customer, and don’t keep asking.

Seasonal Deals – Use seasonal or periodic deals and discounts to boost customer retention and engagement. Being able to offer a deal or a discount on a better value service gives you an edge because everyone loves a good deal. For example, a summer discount aimed at busy parents who don’t have time to do extra cleanup while their kids are home. You could also capitalize on spring cleaning trends by offering a deep-cleaning session followed by periodic office visits as part of a single package – reminding customers that they can easily keep things clean throughout the year.

Training Staff

It’s crucial that every member of your crew understands your products and services and their value to the customer. Integrating standardized training for upselling will help you increase conversion and order value.

Crew leads and team members should know how to:

  • Ask questions that reveal the customer’s real problem or pain point. Recognizing phrases like “I don’t have time to”, “I am not physically able to”, and “our office is always” can help you to identify what the customer really wants so you can make a better up or cross-sell
  • Understand what type of customer they are dealing with using customer profiles or other tools and their concerns (value, lowest price, best clean, etc.)
  • Match products and services to best solve that customer’s problems
  • Understand how each product or service might deliver added value to the customer
  • Craft clear and personalized value propositions for upsells and cross-sells
  • Make sure your website is easy to use to encourage customers to add services when booking online

Crew members who have a deep understanding of why your cleaning services can better pitch what you have to make a good upsell that leaves the customer feeling valued.

Make it Easy – A good upsell requires a combination of customer insight and work order management. Your cleaning crew must be able to view the individual customer and their needs to create and schedule the right work order. Using cleaning business software like TEAM Software by WorkWave gives your crew the ability to access work orders and other information from anywhere so that service teams can create real-time job updates, estimates, and costs for customers. This provides any service member easy access to everything they need to complete or change a job order without having to create a follow-up appointment or realize that the correct products and services are not on hand to finish the upsell.

The cleaning industry is growing at a rate of 6.2 percent per year and capitalizing on that growth by upselling and cross-selling to customers can greatly increase your revenue per customer. When done correctly, it adds value for the customer, creates real solutions, a better value, and exceeds expectations. That’s the ‘secret’ to any good upsell or cross-sell – it has to add more value than the original offer, without pushing customers too hard. If you offer a single customer a dozen different upsells and cross-sells, they will be annoyed. Make sure your staff can work to identify one solid up or cross-sell per customer and skip if they refuse it or a good match isn’t available. The real goal is always a happy customer, even if they don’t necessarily spend more.

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As WorkWave’s Senior Director of Product Management, Field Service, Kerry McCane serves as an industry strategist for the HVAC, cleaning, and lawn and landscape industries.