The control freak customer is not that crazy – or are they?
What do you do when a home is already clean when you arrive for a walkthrough?
You’re looking for things to clean and the homeowner is acting like a control freak. You are thinking “Oh dear, this is a high maintenance customer who is going to micromanage everything.”
Asking the right questions is key to finding out what the client wants from your cleaning service. And coming to terms you both can live with.
Listen: Control Freak Customer Is Not That Crazy
Watch: Control Freak Customer Is Not That Crazy
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.
Control Freak Customer is Not That Crazy
The control freak customer is not that crazy. “What? The control freak customer is not crazy, yes they are.” They drive us bonkers, right? We have somebody that hit that blue button and they called into the show and asked this question.
“I got kicked out of someone’s home after giving them a quote. I walked into the home and she told me that she had to fire the last two people who worked for her and I asked her why. And she said that, ‘One didn’t speak English and the other one wasn’t cleaning in a style that she wanted them to.’ Which I understand, but as I walked through the home with her, she was very meticulous that everything’s got to be exactly a certain way.
I asked to look into her shower to see how dirty it was. When I pulled back the curtain, I took a look and then I put the curtain back and she said, “Excuse me, we have to put it right exactly.’ And she moved it like a millimeter more, and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness.’
So, the home is very clean. But, as I’m walking out, she did say that she expects two cleaners and she doesn’t pay more than $100 for two hours, which comes out to about $25 per person. I explained my company policy is a minimum three hours and I gave her a quote of $150. She got livid. When I tried to explain to her, she told me to get out.”
Control Freak Customers Make You Go Crazy
So what we’re talking about here is not a control freak customer. If you think the customer’s going to make you crazy. They’re not a good customer for you.
What happened? It has nothing to do with the customer as much as what happened. Now, the good news is this, I took a sales and marketing course that led me to an acting course. And when I took the acting course, I actually learned more about how to close the walk-through sale, than I ever did in sales and marketing. And here’s what I learned, super exciting lessons I learned about method marketing.
In every movie or every TV show in order for the movie to go from the beginning to the end, there has to be something happening. Somebody has to want something. So, if I’m the actor, I have to want something.
If Your Wants Match it is a Good Fit
It also applies to house cleaning. So, you go to a customer’s house, your want is to close the sale and you want to pick up a new customer. They want their house cleaned. So, we get to the customer’s house, “I want to clean your house, you want your house clean,” boom, there’s the magic fix or the puzzle piece that goes together right there.
It’s not always that simple. What happens when you get to a customer’s house and their house is already clean. Well, wait a second. That changes a little bit. That’s like now you’re in a movie. The rules changed. There’s a hiccup somewhere.
We have to go through whatever the hiccup is to get out on the other side.
Close the Deal Three Times
So, here’s the interesting thing. When you go to seal a deal at a customer’s house, there should always be at least three closes. And the closest is, “I want to close you on the reason why I’m a good house cleaner for you.” Then the next one is, “I want to close you on the reasons we are not a good fit for each other and you’re too high maintenance and I don’t want you as a customer.”
So, that sales pitch number two, the third sales pitch is, “I‘d like to recruit you to come work for my company.” Now, lots of house cleaners when they go to bid the job, they never think of number three. It’s either one or two. And so, when you get to a customer’s house and she moves the shower curtain, that is the trigger moment where you’re thinking. “Wait a second, sales pitch number one is out the window. I don’t want to close her on me being the best house cleaner for her because I don’t want to go through her micromanaging me and being a control freak.“
So, you moved to pitch number two, “Am I going to sell her on all the reasons why I’m not a good fit for her and I would like to recommend somebody else?” So, is it sales pitch number two, or is it sales pitch number three?
You Can Use Control Freaks as Managers
What would happen if you stood there and you said, “Listen, nobody understands house cleaning like you do. Obviously, you have it down to a science. You know exactly where the shower curtain should hide or where it should hang, you know exactly how much to pay employees. You know exactly how many people you want, you know exactly what you want.
What if you came and you worked for my company and you came in as a manager and you managed my team of people?” What’s interesting is this. Some of the very best house cleaners I have ever had, I went on job estimates, and when I got there, I realized, you know what, this is sales pitch number three.
This person would be a better employee for me than I would ever be for them. They understand far more about cleaning and the expectations of a customer than I ever will in a lifetime. And there’s a reason why they called me, but it is not to clean their house.
Some People are Better House Cleaners Than Clients
One woman, I was standing in front of her house, was immaculate and I couldn’t figure out why I was there? And I hadn’t gone to sales pitch number three yet, I was still stuck on number one, “You hired me to be a house cleaner, and yet you don’t need house cleaning. So, what is really going on here?”
What was going on is she stayed at home. She didn’t have a job. She worked out of the house all day, every day cleaning the house. And when her husband came home, he would complain that the house wasn’t clean enough and he would find things to nitpick.
She was looking for validation. That had nothing to do with her wanting me to come in and do a better job than her. Because quite frankly, I couldn’t do any better than she did.
Give Control Freak Clients Validation
She was amazing. And I said, “Nobody understands house cleaning like you do. If you want that validation, why don’t you come work with me and we can go to other people’s homes. And you can do it exactly in other people’s homes what you do in your own home, and instead of somebody not appreciating you, they will pay you money to do it?”
And she’s like, “Really? I can do that?”
“Yeah, you can. And I’m hiring.” And I hired her on the spot.
She was really, really a great worker and she stayed with me for a few years. I loved working with her.
Use One of the Three Sales Pitches
But it’s sales pitch one, sales pitch two or sales pitch three. Because everybody always wants something, but it’s not always the thing that they tell you it is.
When they say, “Come to my house to clean“, it may not be at all that they want you to clean. It may be they want you to validate that in fact, they understand cleaning and that they don’t need you at all. Because how miserable would it be if you went in under the assumption that you’re there to clean and you sold them on that. And then they were still looking for the validation that what they did between your cleanings was great.
Understand the Sales Pitch You’re Making
So, you have to understand what sales pitch you’re actually making and in this particular scenario, it was probably a two or three. That was probably the right answer to walk away and say, “Oh my goodness, we’re not a good fit for each other.”
But it had nothing to do with any of the reasons that she gave you and any of the reasons you gave her. It was just two completely different wants that were going on that never had the same focus to get to the end of the story, and so the story ended prematurely and there just wasn’t a story there.
So, in the future, moving forward, which sales pitch are you’re going to give? And you may have to pivot midstream in the middle of your presentation when you realize, “You know what? I came in thinking, number one, it’s actually number three. She’d be a better employee for me.”Resources
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