Your Clients – Friend or Foe? Pre-Qualification sets the tone.

Let’s start with a question – have you been in business long enough to have had a customer that could not be satisfied? That constantly questioned everything you said or did, wanted extra work for free and then was not appreciative at all?

Well, I’m going to show you two ways to curtail that from the beginning.
First, I have to qualify this article as I own a custom software company – websites, custom business systems/database, and digital marketing. I also mentor those that are driven to succeed – a lot of them, so I know what to look for in what makes them a success or not. Only people who understand how to run/grow a business use our services, but in our outreach we get all kinds.

Instead of wasting our time on people who don’t understand what it takes to grow their business, we’ve learned to qualify them. We’ve worked with realtors, physicians/medical, mortgage companies, auto dealerships, consultants, home contractors (plumbers, electricians, carpet cleaners, landscapers, roofers, construction, etc.), and many others, so I can include their point of view here as well.

So let’s get started.

#1) Do you use an initial questionnaire/survey to find out their needs, budget, expectations (ROI), long term goals (results), and past experience with companies that do what you do? I even ask their net profit/worth. Below is an explanation of why, what and how.

And then, especially if it’s a startup, do you look at their company from a marketing and business point of view to see if it’s even a viable business? Do you do the research required to find out? Even common sense can keep you out of some problems – some business ideas are just going to be a harder sell than others, and that may well affect their budget for you.

How do you measure motivation? Because that’s what separates the successful from the 90% who don’t make it.

Regardless of who you believe (on statistics) when you start a business there is a good chance that you will fail. Your job as an entrepreneur is to maximize your chances to succeed in business.

Budget is another one that you may have to keep pressing (and asking the same question in different ways). If you don’t require 100% payment up front, without the long-term budget to finish the project they are probably going to drop out on you, which does no one any good.

I think the most important factor to note is their expectations, which may be based on their previous experiences. If it’s not in line with what you can deliver, you’re already in trouble from the beginning.

EX: Digital marketing, covering all three areas of SEO, Social Media and PPC needs a minimum of a six month period to produce the results most companies are looking for. They need to understand that.

You need to make sure they are realistic about time frames and results. Even if you’re a contractor and are building custom cabinets, you need to find out their tastes, preferences and wood choices, right?

That’s all BEFORE you agree to take any project.

How do you accomplish this?

When you start with any marketing, whether it be PPC ads or a Social Media Campaign, you must have a landing page. On that landing page, you must gather information that you can use to make the judgment if this is a viable lead or not.
First, you must have a FREEBIE, as we call it in the marketing world. Something that might benefit your target market. I’m now explaining what your marketing funnel should be – or at least one that’s worked for us.

It can start with a simple form that asks for name and email, which triggers an email back to them with a link to a survey. Once they’ve opted in and gotten something for it (law of reciprocity), they are more likely to do the survey. But that’s OK – only serious buyers will do your survey and that’s a good thing.

This is your sign – if they can’t be bothered to do that, you can be sure they won’t take the time to provide you what you need to do your job for them. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be concise, to the point and mostly yes/no or multiple choice questions with an option to comment.

There is a certain amount of questions that we’ve found optimal, but more importantly, the questions have to be worded correctly – any room for multiple interpretations cause confusion and confusion will stop immediate response. In other words, they’ll never finish it if it’s not easy for them.

Technically, this is easy to set up right inside your current website so they are not sent off to some 3rd party piece of software that won’t integrate into your CRM or business system. I won’t even start in on you here if you’re trying to grow a business without a CRM and an email list that you can market and remarket to.

After you get that survey back, don’t be afraid to spend the time discussing this submission with them. They took the time to do it, and it can keep you from making a big mistake. A bad client can cost you time, money and future clients and worst of all, if they know where to post, can ruin your entire internet presence where even an internet reputation manager can’t fix it.

Plus pre-qualification lets your client know you’re not new to this rodeo – it fosters respect in you and your company on its own merit, just by its presentation.

For the next portion of this article, sign up here —>
It will be a real eye opener on how simple it is.

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Dawn Cassara Speaking Topics:
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