This was last Sunday’s newsletter. I thought the topic made sense to post here on the site. Hope it helps!
I started taking on consulting clients again this year, and one of the common threads it seems we continue to pull from is, how to qualify people quickly and get to either a yes…or a no.
In the world of lead qualification, a no is just as good as a yes because it gives you the ability to move on to someone else who might say yes. You see, in true, full-contact selling, there is a rule of 100.
For every 100 contacts, even the salesperson with the least amount of ability is still going to close something. So, it really becomes a numbers game.
But qualifying who to keep calling and who to let go is a bit difficult. I’ve adopted a philosophy over the years that I am going to call you UNTIL you tell me yes or no. That’s my job, to confirm YOUR intentions. After that, we can go our separate ways either having done business or not.
But, it is a cold, hard reality of business that not all potential clients who bombard you with questions will end up doing business with you. In fact, some of them will ask a number of questions knowing that there is very little chance that they will hire you.
In business-speak, these people are referred to as ‘tire kickers’. As you would imagine, the time you spend dealing with them is time you could spend on genuine leads. While you can’t predict precisely how every conversation will turn out, you have to think of this as a cost to your business.
Spotting the Tire Kickers
Separating the looky-loos from the serious enquirers will save you time and money. Before you know it, you will become a pro at deciding who is seriously contemplating using your services, and who is just looking around.
Lack of details: Tire kickers are notorious for asking for estimates without having a full idea of exactly what they want. What most of them try to do is get the contractor to give them a ballpark idea of material and labor costs. Then they will use this to decide if the project is worth pursuing.
The discount: Whenever someone you’ve never worked for before asks for a discount by teasing the prospect of more construction work later on, this should send up red flags. Your time is precious, and you can’t afford to take less than you’re worth just for the hope of future jobs.
The rough draft request: If a potential client has not committed to hiring you, doing a rough draft is not the best way to spend your time. Chances are, other construction companies have been approached with the same request.
Some potential clients may seem to be in a hurry to get started. This should be seen as a bad sign as well, especially if the person is not prepared to deal with the premium rate a rush job requires.
Be careful of anyone who is hesitant to pay the deposit. You could be setting yourself up for payment issues as the work progresses.
Picking Good Leads
Naturally, the best way to use your time is to determine which calls offer the best leads. A few steps to doing this are:
Find out how the person heard about you: This is critical to learning whether your marketing efforts are paying off. If for example, the individual came across your blog or is a regular reader, your discussion could be short and to the point. They know you.
Get all the details: Find out exactly what the person wants to do so you can decide if the job is right for you. This will allow you to present a realistic estimate even if there are other factors to be covered.
Nail down a timeframe: Some potential customers already have an idea how quickly they want the work to be done. Based on your expertise, you can present the homeowner with a timeframe, and then break it down to each segment of the project.
As a contractor, you should know who the point person on the project is. This makes communication much easier and ensures that there are no misunderstandings. Keep this information in mind and you will weed out the tire kickers and continue to use your time doing what you do best.
If your trouble is developing leads, or you are tired of paying for leads that get sold to a bunch of other contractors, forcing you to lower your price, then stay tuned, we are going to have an answer for that shortly.