Generating leads for your commercial cleaning business.

This is the first of what will be several write-ups with ideas on how to utilize various commercial marketing lists for your cleaning business.

With this article we will cover phone prospecting to targeted businesses in order to establish contacts. This is a simple process that consists of making a brief call to find out who’s in charge of making decisions related to cleaning.

The Lists

Marketing lists are exactly as the name implies – lists. Commercial marketing lists can vary in data provided, but most include:

• Business name
• Phone
• Physical address

Your goal is to use these lists as a means of establishing contact that will lead to a demo and ultimately a scheduled job. With the data provided you have several means of making initial contact including phone, in-person visit, physical mail and in some cases email (though the provided emails are generally generic and not recommended for initial contact). However, in order to make the most of your phyWoman making phone call with marketing listsical mailings (unless you’re sending mass mailers such as postcards) you’ll need the decision makers contact information.
While in-person visits can be highly effective at harvesting information, they are also time consuming and can be, depending on the business, considered intrusive. Phone calls will often allow you to cultivate a number of potential contacts in a short amount of time.

While the idea of making a ‘cold call’ might seem intimidating, it really isn’t. In fact, it’s very brief and simple. You have two objectives with these calls:

• Who is in charge of making decisions regarding cleaning for the business
• How can you contact that person (email, direct extension)

The Call

While the call is typically no more than a couple of minutes, you should still follow a simple script to start. The following is an outline that might or might not work for you. It’s strongly suggested that you write out a script in your own words and practice it continually until it becomes second nature.

Here’s an example:

Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: “Thank you for calling ____”
You: “Good afternoon, my name is _______ and I’m with 123 Cleaning Company. We clean commercial carpet/provide janitorial. I know you’re probably busy, but I have a quick question – who manages cleaning services for the office?”
Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: “Oh, that would be _____ “(if they don’t give a last name, ask for it)
You: Great, is s/he available?
Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: No
You: Ok. I’d like to send over some information about us. Do you have an email I can send it to?
Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: You can send it to ________
You: (identify email) Is this your email address or _____?
Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: Mine
You: (if name is not stated in the email) Ok, great thanks, and your name is?
Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: _____
You: Is there a direct extension for ____ if I call back?
Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: No
You: Thanks, ______. I’ll send some info over and thank you for your time!

Using a stopwatch and acting this out vocally at a slow pace, you’ll see that this should take on average less than a minute. Again, these calls usually don’t take very long.
Overall, this would be a successful call. While it would be great to get the decision makers email, or especially be able to speak with them directly, you still achieved your primary goal:

• You found out who makes decisions regarding office cleaning
• You got contact info

With the information provided you’ll now be able to send a direct, personalized email to your contact, be able to visit the business and ask for your contact by name, make follow-up calls, etc.


If you notice, some of the responses are in bold. While many aspects of the conversation can vary (you might even get hung up on!), it will usually play out this way. The bolded responses highlight the more common variances.

When asking to speak with the decision maker:

Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: No

This can happen frequently. In some instances the gatekeeper might be dissuaded from transferring calls in general and perceived sales calls in particular. The decision maker could also in fact be genuinely busy and not able to talk. In either event, you don’t want to lose rapport by being pushy. The gatekeeper can have significant influence with the decision maker on matters such as hiring service contractors. Continue with the conversation by asking for an email.


Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: Yes
You: Great, thank you very much. What’s your name by the way?

This will change the remainder of your phone call substantially. If you’re transferred to the decision maker you’ll want to quickly explain who you are and especially how you can benefit their business.

Decision maker: “This is _____”
You: “Hello, ______. My name is ____ and I’m with 123 Cleaning Company. I spoke with ____ a moment ago and s/he said you make the decisions regarding cleaning for the office”
Decision maker: “I do”
You: Great. Well, I’d like to send you over some info regarding our company and how we can help keep your floors looking amazing. What’s your email address?
Decision maker: “Sure. It’s _______”
You: Thank you very much. While I have you on the phone, would you like me to go ahead and schedule a time to come by and give a quick demo? There’s no cost, no obligation and you don’t even need to be there to watch, but you’ll notice the difference when you see it!
Decision maker: Yes
You: Great, when should we stop in? (Continue to schedule, etc.)


Decision maker: No, send info first
You: I’ll send some information over to you shortly and thank you for your time!

This is another example of a great call. Booking a demo would be a grand slam, but even getting the decision maker on the phone along with direct email is a solid home run.

When the gatekeeper gives you their email (and not the decision makers):

Gatekeeper/General Receptionist: Mine

When this happens (and it will), be sure to get the gatekeepers name. While being able to contact the decision maker directly is ideal, the gatekeeper is an excellent starting point and may often times end up becoming your primary contact. This will still allow you to send personalized information, make follow-up calls, etc. and you already have the decision makers’ name.


Not every call will be a success. In some cases you will be given little to no information. Sometimes you might hear ‘no thank you’ or even a click as they curtly hang-up the phone. But you’ll find this to be uncommon. In most every instance if you have pleasant tone, are polite and not pushy, the gatekeeper and/or decision maker will provide you with the information you’re seeking.
If you’re request is rebuffed, make a note and either call back at a future date or perhaps visit the location in person or send information via physical mail as these may prove to be more successful.
Remember, this is not a sales call; you’re simply requesting some basic info for future contact.


You might sometimes come across the occasional voicemail, but this isn’t typical when dialing an office unless you’re calling after hours (which you shouldn’t be). If you do reach a voicemail, leave a simple message requesting a call back. Include the obvious basics including your name, business name and phone number. Mark this as a return call in your notes.


Once you practice your script, become comfortable with the process and begin making phone calls, you’ll quickly build a large list of contacts within a short amount of time. This should require no more than 1 – 2 hours per day on average. You can also employ a number of people within your staff to make these calls. If they have a great phone voice, can engage in simple conversation and will make the calls, they’ll harvest lots of potential leads for you.

Thanks for reading and we hope you found this information helpful.