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When it comes to potential clients, there are two situations in building a service-based business:
Not having enough leads is a marketing problem and off-topic, but start fixing this problem by reading our Time Allocation Formula for Creating a Viable Business, watch our Barcamp Orlando Talk and then read how Sales isn’t about Selling.
Okay, you have leads flowing in, and you’re hopping on the phone to chat with potential clients. You quickly realize you cannot spend time talking to each person on the phone, because it sucks your whole day away.
These “unqualified leads” are “wasting” your time because:
Getting potential clients on the phone to chat is very time consuming. You have to set an appointment, which can involve two to five emails. You have to talk to them for 15-45 minutes. So in total, each lead takes 50-90 minutes of your brain space. If you’re receiving a few leads a week, you can see how fast your time gets sucked away by talking to people that aren’t the right fit for your company.
Within 30 minutes of being on the phone with this potential client, you’ll realize it’s not a good fit and spend the rest of the call finding a way to kindly end the conversation.
Side Note: I’m a nice guy, and I believe in helping people. I also believe your time is precious and you should focus on building a profitable business.
I can’t say what types of projects or technology you prefer, I can only list the qualities of any ripe client lead.
Remember, you only want to spend your time talking to ripe client leads.
Here are a few ways to vet potential clients before you waste time with them on the phone.
We’d reply to potential clients with the following:
Question: Give me three sentences describing the project.
Purpose: I want to see if they’ve thought about their project enough to clearly explain it.
Question: When is launch?
Purpose: This will scare off people that aren’t serious about starting and launching.
Question: Are we designing and developing?
Purpose: Doesn’t matter, this is a filler question.
Question: Who is hosting the project?
Purpose: I want to see how much research they’ve done, and how serious they are.
Question: Have you run a software project before?
Purpose: Helps knowing their background so you can shape your sales pitch.
Question: Is your budget over $35,000 for the initial launch?
Purpose: THIS IS THE ONLY ANSWER THAT TRULY MATTERS!!!!!
Question: How did you find our site?
Purpose: This also doesn’t really matter, but it might give some insight into why they decided to contact you.
When you read potential clients’ answers, focus on whether they are serious about their project and have truly done some planning, and whether they can afford your rate. If so, then that ‘ripe lead’ might turn into a paying client, and a future source of new leads.