How do you determine a quality prospect?

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.

Important Resources from the Episode

Project Brief & Sales Based Automation in Feast
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