The NCCA's Guide To How Carpet Protector Really Works…
Carpet Protection applied correctly to freshly cleaned carpets, creates a great ‘win-win’ as it enables the cleaner to earn more money by providing an additional service and gives the consumer a cleaner, healthier and longer lasting carpet therefore protecting their investment.
It seems some carpet cleaners think no one is willing to pay for an additional service in today’s economic climate, but if you read this blog you’ll understand how carpet protector really would benefit the homeowner if sold correctly.
I agree times are tough, people are not spending the same as they once did, but this doesn’t mean you should give up on your marketing or your selling … in fact its time to sell more, by stepping and up offering a bigger and improved service.
The carpet cleaning industry is not alone in taking a bashing with “crazy” low priced competition and increasing costs. Yet I still believe our biggest challenge does not come from outside forces such as the recession, our competition … instead, our problems, as a rule are “internal” ...
...as Henry Ford once said ...
"Whether you think YOU CAN
or whether you think YOU CAN'T,
Only last week I was talking with two carpet cleaners, both have been in the industry for 15+ years and both have seen their work volume drop and their job tickets plummet over few years. After quizzing them I found they are marketing less than they once did as ‘marketing doesn’t work the same’ and both said ‘people are not willing to pay higher prices … so we offer basic service at lower prices’. When I asked about carpet protection, they both just laughed and said no one wants that nowadays.
While I agree, in this uncertain time people are looking for better deals and yes they do want to spend less money… but if you give them the facts many are prepared spend a little more now to save them money in the long term.
Allow me to explain, most people still want quality products and good old-fashioned customer service AND more importantly are willing to pay for it … don’t believe me? Then type in to Google “John Lewis Profits” and you’ll find the upmarket department store, John Lewis Partnership, announced in early March 2013 it made record profits of 15% and will pay all staff a 17% bonus (equalling almost 9-weeks of their current salary).
Just remember the famous quote (and 1985 song by Billy Ocean) "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" meaning "When the situation becomes difficult, the strong will work harder to meet the challenge."
If you think your customers would refuse to pay you extra money for carpet protection then you have one of two problems...
- You are not ‘selling’ protector to each customer by fully explaining it and demonstrating the long lasting benefits. Get tough and make a commitment to start ‘selling’ protector correctly on every job from now on.
- Or your customers are not the ‘John Lewis type’ of customers … Get tough and move on. Start marketing to the middle-class families that are shopping and spending money in John Lewis stores … they have nice home, they wish to keep keep clean, they have the money and will spend money with you if you market yourself correctly.
They say ‘Selling is Telling’ and that’s all you need to do. What a difference it would make if you could show people how “Protecting your carpets will keep them looking beautiful, make them easier to keep clean and save money”.
Here is my seven steps to help you sell more carpet protector in the home.
7 Steps To Help Sell Protector To Your Clients.
- Always Package Your Prices. Not all carpet cleaners are the same! So why should you put yourself in the same group as the ‘price-by-room’ cleaners? Think about it, you would not book an Electrician by "3-rooms rewired for £49"… do you? If you give the consumers nothing else to judge your services by … they will think all cleaners are equal and pick the lowest price. For example, why should someone buy from YOU? … What makes YOU so great? If you were to say, “I’m the best local cleaner”, or “I’m the most professional cleaner in the area” … so what?? Every carpet cleaner can (and often does) make this type of claim too! Be different and show them your are different.
Why Package Works. Most people don’t like the cheapest offer (if we did we’d all be driving the Russian ‘Lada Cars’). If you give three choices of “small, medium, large” or “good, better, best” and a short description of each one most people will pick the middle package…as it gives a higher perceived value, so the middle package should be your ‘clean and protect’ as it’s the one you want them to buy.
How to ‘Package’, you will need to describe your services and package them into three groups. To start with, can you tell me, off the top-of-your-head, how many ‘processes’ or ‘steps’ it takes for you to clean a carpet? Many cleaners don’t know and will spend a few minutes counting them on their fingers … so how are the consumers expected to know? List out the 7 – 15 steps it takes for you to clean a carpet, then add all additional related services like carpet protector and package these into three sections. You can call the packages anything you like, a common name is ‘Bronze, Silver and Gold, however I suggest you try using more descriptive names such as ‘Healthy Home Package’.
Here is an example of three packages...
- ‘Clean Only Package’ Explain each step you do, like... move the furniture, dry-soil extraction, pre-condition and agitate, deep extraction clean, fresh conditioner rinse, rapid dry, etc...,etc... (do this using words they understand, like words used in a hairdressers).
- Clean and Protect Package’ “Same clean as above, but a special application of our ‘Triple Action’ carpet protection” and you explain the benefits. I recommend you also offer a short (3-months) ‘Stain-Free Warranty’ included in this price. (see step 6)
- ‘Healthy Home Package’ This is the same as ‘Clean and Protect’, but with additional services, such as deodorisation. And a longer (6 or 12-months) warranty to really add value.
- Less than two percent will ever call you. Give them a FREE bottle of your spotter and a stain removal guide and most will be able to treat any spills themselves, yet all of them will view this free bonus as a very valuable, and desirable service.
- Do not put a number on the free call outs … if you say they have TWO call outs worth £75 each there is more chance of them using one or both the calling outs. It’s the strange thing about people, but weirdly when you limit your numbers to just one or two call outs, you will get higher call outs than ‘unlimited callouts’.
- Use the warranty to raise your protector prices. If you are so confident about the protector that you’d offer a FREE warranty it must be good – right? If you raise protector pricing your net profits will soar which will more than cover your few extra free service calls over the course of a year.
- If you do get called out for a warranty (and lets face it how hard is it to remove a stain from a carpet YOU have recently cleaned and protected?) you will become the hero. They will tell more friends and you may also sell more services while you are performing these “free” spot and stain call outs.
- Before you think I’m completely mad … there are several NCCA members that have been offering this type of warranty service with protection sales in the UK since 1999. They hardly have a call out, but what I can tell you is their protector sales range between 50%-80% of all the carpets they clean. Not such a mad idea after all is it?
On the covering letter make a strong OFFER like half priced protection or even FREE protection if they have three or more rooms cleaned…and you’ll have a lot more work coming in.
Over 5-steps it shows…
- How most carpets are protected from new
- How carpets get dirty with both soil and pollutants
- How the lack of cleaning with cause long-term damage to the fibre
- How you need regular professional cleaning
As I said at the beginning the biggest problem with selling protector is YOU! Most customers will love the product and the benefits it gives them. Get behind a product and a supplier, test it yourself and go out and ASK FOR THE SALE.
- How the long-term solution is to reapply carpet protection after cleaning.
To help you 'get tough' my recommendation is for you to set yourself selling targets or goals and give them deadlines. Your long-term target should be protecting 75% of all the carpets you clean within the next 18-months. To start out you'll need to set smaller goals while you are perfecting your sales pitch (which is really just telling) so set your first goal to make protector sales on 25% of every carpet cleaning job you do within 6-months.
When you reach 25% in sales you should give yourself a small treat … a reward for doing well. Then move the sales target up to 50%. Just imagine what you could do with the extra money you’d make if you could protect half of everything you clean as you don't need more marketing or equipment or even staff.
I hope this has given you some ideas and some encouragement to go out and offer carpet protection on every carpet cleaning job... good luck.
NCCA Marketing Director
PS. Don’t worry about the ‘FREE Warranty’ … if you do your cleaning and treatment work correctly … give a free spotter and explain how to blot and spot any spills, most people will never call you out for spot clean, BUT it will help sell lots more protection.
PPS. If you are a current NCCA Member the ‘Protection Leaflet’ below and the 'Warranty Certificates' with hi-res images are in the members’ section http://www.ncca.co.uk/members/carpet_protector_marketing_tools.php to be downloads in a MS Word format for you to add your details to and start selling … ALL FOR FREE.
NCCA Guide To How Carpet Protector
|New carpet with Protector applied|
New Carpets – Protected
Most new carpets have a ‘protective treatment’ applied to them at manufacture or by the store. Although this invisible coating is NOT ‘bulletproof’ you will benefit from a special ‘Triple-action’ that…
- Repels liquid spills
- Resists damage to the fibres
- Releases dirt and grit from the carpet
|Soil, Pollens and Allergens make a dirty carpet|
Your carpets are under a constant attack by soil, pollens and allergens in the home. These are trapped and held in the carpet as if it were a filter for your home. Unfortunately grit in the soil will rub against the fibres when you walk on the carpet and scratch the protector. Luckily this damage is only to the protective coating. So, with cleaning, the carpet can be restored to a ‘like new’ condition.
|Non-Protected carpet after cleaning - Damaged|
Damaged Carpets – After Cleaning.
Without regular professional cleaning and renewing the protective treatment, the dirt & grit starts to cut like knives directly into the fibres, deteriorating their appearance and causing irreversible damage, so even with the best cleaning system possible the harm can not be removed. In addition without regular cleaning the spills, ‘airborne’ pollens and allergens penetrate deep into the carpet.
|Protected carpet after cleaning - Not Damaged|
It is recommended, for both the health and appearance of the carpet, that the average family, have their carpets professionally cleaned every 12-months … although you may not see the soil you’ll be amazed at the build-up of harmful dirt and grit in the base of the carpet. This will stop the grit from removing the entire protective coating and preventing, long-term damage to the fibres.
|Carpet after cleaning and protector renewed|
THE LONG-TERM SOLUTION Re-protection
Re-protecting your freshly cleaned carpet will reinforce your carpets original ‘Triple-action’ protection shield by…
1. Repelling liquid spills, allowing you time to mop them up to keep the carpet looking great longer.
2. Resists damage to the fibres giving you longer lasting carpets, which saves you time and money replacing them.
3. Releases dirt and grit from the carpet making it easier to vacuum clean and keep healthy.
Protect, your carpets and you’ll protect your investment, saving you time and money from not having to replace the carpet and make your home healthy and the carpets beautiful for years.
NCCA current members you can download both the 'Guide To Carpet Protector' leaflet and the 'Warranty Certificates' for free from the members section, by clicking here: