In the Moment: The Lost Art of Pre-Qualifying Leads
It’s a basic principle. Your business depends on people calling up and saying they are interested in what your company does. The thing is that most of the folks who call are not what your company is looking for in a client; they aren’t the right fit.
So how do you avoid going out and visiting all those who happen to call?
Define a “Good Client”
You need to have a clear understand of who this client is. And the easiest way to define a good client is to look back at the best clients your company ever had. What are the common characteristics?
In my company (back in the day) the definition was; they were able to trust us, they were interested in following our process, and they had respect for boundaries.
Build a Lead Intake Sheet
With the information in hand you can create a form that reminds you of what to ask a client. Here are some of the questions we used:
- “Who referred you?”
- We wanted to know this because we could make a judgment about the potential client based on what we knew of the referrer. We could also reach out to the referrer, if need be, for more insight into the potential client.
- “Why are you calling our company?”
- There are so many remodeling companies to pick from. Why they decided to call you is, again, more insight into what is important to the potential client. Sometimes you find out that there is not a fit between why they called and what your company does!
- “Which is more important to you: Price, Quality or Trust?”
- If they say Price free up their future so they can make other contractors miserable. If they say Quality they will not be as good a fit as if they say Trust. Everybody does quality work. Only a few companies can be trusted and only those potential clients who value Trust are the best ones to pursue.
Follow Your Process
Call all potential clients. Do a download with each, using your lead sheet every time. ALWAYS follow your process. Don’t take shortcuts.
If someone you are talking to does not want to follow your process shout “Hallelujah!” because you just saved yourself from wasting time going to visit them. They were never going to be your client anyway.
If someone does follow your process, then it makes sense to visit them.
The Art is in the Moment
The thing about qualifying is that it is not a science, although like much of life I wish it were. It takes more than worksheets and definitions to execute successfully.
It is an art.
That means you have to listen and ask lots of clarification questions to truly understand what is motivating the caller.
The art in this is staying in the moment — staying present and thinking on your feet. Any time they say something let them know you appreciate what they said and ask a follow-up question. The more engaged you are when doing this, the more open the potential client will be and the more you will learn.
Why is this worth doing?
Have you ever found yourself driving some distance to an appointment only to realize as soon as you are in the house that you and the potential client never were — and never will be — a fit? Use that experience as motivation!