Goal: Don't waste anyone's time!
My goal of qualifying a prospect is to get them to essentially disqualify themselves.
I look at sales this way. There are way more people and projects in this world that I’m not a good fit for. If I can have them figure that out as early on in the process as possible without wasting too much of their time, the better.
It’s all about time for me. I don’t want to waste time on things that aren’t valuable and so I feel that most other business owners don’t want to either.
Who wants to sit on a sales call for 30-minutes, or an hour, go through all these questions, then have a few emails back and forth, and then write a proposal. Have a few more calls only for the project to never happen.
No one wants that. No one has time for that. Not the prospect, not me.
First step is educating the Client
So through education about the types of businesses and people I work with is really critical. That education comes by way of writing, vendors, my website, podcasts, social media, testimonials, and referrals.
Before someone reaches out to you to potentially work with them, they’ve made 70% of the decision. That’s what all that education and being visible is about.
Second step is being very specific about the details: Basics
After they reach out, that’s where more specifics about the budget, timeline, goals, what sort of business they are, what they sell, who they are as people, and a number of other factors that can determine whether or not I’m a fit for their project.
I point every single prospect to a Project Brief.
This Project Brief is a questionnaire that asks all the preliminary questions I need to be answered for me to have an intelligent conversation on our initial sales call.
Without that Project Brief, we don’t get on the phone.
If they fill out the Project Brief, I review the answers, make sure that things line up with me being able to help them out and then we schedule the call.
The Project Brief
The Project Brief does a few things for me.
1. It shows me that they’ve thought a bit about the project.
That it is not just a quick fleeting thought that they are shopping around for prices on. It’s a questionnaire that takes no more than 5-10 minutes to fill out if you’ve already spent some time in thinking about the project.
2. It tells me that at the most basic level the prospect doesn’t mind using electronic means for communication.
For me and my business, I communicate mostly over email. If someone wants to hop on the phone or video chat all the time, that just doesn’t work for me. Not saying I won’t do it, but it’s not the best means of communication for us to work together.
3. It helps me get the basics out of the way and have the sales call be as productive as possible.
I’d much rather ask questions on the call around business goals, dive into the business problems, why they need my help than to ask questions like who is the decision maker, what’s the timeline, what is the budget. I look at the sales call almost as a mini-consultation where I can provide some value to the prospect even if we don’t end up working together.
4. Makes sure that I’m talking with the decision maker.
Most of my clients are the business owners, but there are times where the business owner has tasked someone to lead the project and so they are the prospect. If they don’t have the power to pull the trigger on the decision to move forward with the project, I want to have that person also on the call.
5. It gets their project down in writing in their own words.
There are always 3 sides to every story. What you think, what they think, and what’s real. For me, the project brief is what’s real. It’s the starting point from which we work off of to build the scope of work, proposal, and deliverables around the project.
I dive real deep into my Project Brief strategy, process, implementation and automation of it inside of Feast, the roadmap, and community for freelancers looking to specialize and build recurring revenue.
I didn’t start off my business with all the content out there and the Project Brief. They came a bit later in my freelance career. But by specializing, learning who I serve, the common questions I would ask, the aspects of what my business can provide for successful projects, and understanding the problems I help people solve, the educational content and Project Brief has been the point of entry for my services to not just help me determine the quality of a prospect, but also help the prospect the quality of me for them.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
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How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
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How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
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How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
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What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
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