Watch Your Language

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If you’ve decided to become a professional organizer, you probably enjoy organizing and are pretty good at it. You may even know a few things about running a business. But do you know how to speak to potential clients in a way that they’ll want to buy your services? Linda Clevenger does, and she’s here to share a few techniques that she’s developed since starting her business, Organization Direct.


When I started my organizing business, I felt so alone.  I live right in the middle of two great metropolitan areas…Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia.  This was the good news and the bad news.  There was just one Professional Organizer in the area and she had been the only person in my area for over 15 years.  (I don’t think she cared too much for me).  I didn’t feel like spending hours and hours in time and gas to sit on highway 95 to “learn” how to be an Organizer.  And, I just wasn’t finding anything at all online that was helpful.  After all, I felt called to start my business, and how hard could it be?  Wow…the things that I did learn!

The journey of being a Professional Organizer can be stressful.  The what, how, when, and why of the business can be slightly daunting once you move beyond your family and friends who need help. How do you find clients, keep clients and maintain an income that is meeting your needs?

Invest in Yourself and Your Business

One of the biggest investments that I made early in my business was to hire a business coach. I was fortunate that she lived close by and had decades of experience.  One of the first areas that we worked on was my language.   And, let me just say this…”her cost was abundant.”  (Notice the choice of words….abundant has a positive feeling vs. expensive which does not.)   I thought that as long as I wasn’t being rude, it was okay. I thought that I was positive and genuine.  Boy, was I wrong!  Using the techniques that she taught me, I began to close 90% of my consultations.  Talk about a boost in business!  I want to share just a few with you:

  • First – God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason….use them in that manner!  Listen more than you speak.  Take good notes while your potential client is speaking that will allow you to go back and ask them questions.  A lot of the time, they really just want to make sure that someone is listening to them.
  • Second – Repeat what they said to you occasionally.   I found, with my home organizing clients, that they really want justification and validation for their feelings.  (Good notes will help you with this part of the Consultation).  I say things like…”Susie, when you mentioned that you had trouble keeping up with paperwork, what systems have you tried in the past that have not worked for you?”
  • Third – Don’t share too many personal stories.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to share too much of your personal story.  Of course, they want to know that we can relate to their situation in some way, shape or form.  However, be cautious with how much you share.  You can easily be sucked into forming an unproductive relationship.  After all, you are the professional.

Avoid the Term, ”I Understand”

I never use the term, “I understand”.  To me, that is condescending.  After all, unless we have been in their exact situation, we cannot make the “I understand” statement.   It is like calling a customer service representative who says over and over again, “I’m sorry for your inconvenience.”  After a while you get tired of hearing the apologies, because it isn’t fixing the problem.  Instead of “I understand,” I say phrases like “That must have been difficult for you” or “let’s see how we can find a solution that fits your personality.”

Be an awesome Professional Organizer.  You are not their neighbor, friend, or close relative; you are simply there to help organize their space.  Be conscious of the words that come out of your mouth by staying positive all the time!  Your positive attitude and language will boost your clients up to a new level that will allow them to get organized and stay organized.  They, in turn, will refer more business back to you!

Photo © Odua Images –

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Linda Clevenger is a Holistic Organizing Consultant and the owner of Organization Direct. Located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Linda works with business owners, Professional Organizers and homeowners to develop systems and processes focusing on Schedule Management, Time Management and Paper Management. If you would like to find out how to get out of your own way and find the success you deserve, contact Linda @ 540-220-5912 or

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  1. Avatar Samantha on March 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Great tips Linda! I find I want to share a little to much sometimes. It’s so easy to fall into that trap because the client is being so open so you want to make them feel at ease by sharing too. Thanks for the reminder of be the professional and you are there to do a job.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 29, 2013 at 6:53 am

      I’ve caught myself doing that on occasion too, even with my VA or web design clients. I’m so pleased that Linda was willing and able to share this valuable information!

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