Most practice owners I know waste an enormous amount of time meeting up with unqualified prospects.
Most of these prospects end up either not being right for their practice, or they are people who are just looking for some free advice without actually wanting to move forward.
This is an incredible waste of time and is time that could be much better spent meeting up with prospects who are your ideal clients.
So how can you ensure that you don’t waste time in this way and instead have more time to work on things that actually earn you money and move your business forward?
One effective way to do this is to set up an initial 15-20 minute prospect call before any face-to-face meetings.
This call will allow you to qualify the right prospects and, equally, disqualify any tyre kickers who aren’t the right fit.
The purpose of the initial call is quite simple.
From their perspective, it’s about figuring out IF you can help them.
From your perspective, it’s about qualifying them or disqualifying them if they’re not the right fit and not the type of client you want to work with.
You might think adding another step to your prospecting process is counter intuitive if you want to save time, but isn’t it better to spend 15 – 20 minutes on the phone and be able to rule out the timewasters, rather than spending 2 hours having a face-to-face meeting with them before you’re able to rule them out?
In order to effectively qualify someone to become a client of yours (or disqualify them), there are a few things you must know and keep in mind throughout the initial call.
The most important thing to keep in mind during the call is who your ideal client is. The more detailed your picture of your ideal client is the better.
When thinking about your ideal client this includes thinking about what size your ideal client is, what industry they work in, what their pain points are and what their goals and ambitions are. This should allow you to put together a crystal-clear picture of your ideal client.
There are certain questions and types of questions that you’ll want to ask prospects during this type of initial call. These include:
- Why are we talking?
- What are your long-term goals and plans?
- What is your current reality?
- Is this a sooner or later thing?
It can also be beneficial to ask these potential prospects to complete a fact-finding questionnaire ahead of the call.
You can choose to include whatever you wish in this questionnaire, but one thing that’s incredibly helpful to include within this is to ask for some basic financial information so you can ensure they’re the size of client you wish to work with.
Based on the answers provided in this questionnaire, you’ll get a better idea of what questions to ask during your follow-up call.
Again, you might think that this sounds like a lot of extra work that could be rather time consuming. However, if you set up systems and automate them as much as possible, it won’t be time consuming at all once the initial set up is complete.
Scheduling in these initial prospect calls could be automated using software (e.g. Calendly), where people can book themselves in.
They could then automatically receive a Google questionnaire that will be sent to them in the email confirmation.
Obviously, there are several ways of setting up and automating this process and this is just one way that would work. You could tailor this to suit you and your business easily.
You could even get other members of your team to assist by taking some of these prospect calls. All you would need to provide them with would be a script of what questions to ask and the knowledge of who your ideal client is and what type of clients you do and don’t want.
Having team members assist you with taking these calls would save you time and likely produce the same results as you doing the calls yourself. You could leave the initial prospect calls to your team members and then insert yourself into the process if they make it to the stage of a face-to-face meeting.
I’ve had a number of clients use this exact process over the years with great success.
In fact, one of my clients recently implemented the exact process described above in their accountancy practice.
And what they told me is that in the first 3 months since doing so they’ve spotted a few things:
- The overall number of clients they are signing up has dropped – this is expected because you are setting tougher criteria
- The quality and size of client they are signing up has improved dramatically – they are signing up their ideal clients and charging them their ideal monthly fees
- There revenue is increasing as a result. Although they’re signing fewer clients up, because the average fee is much higher, their revenue is growing
And isn’t that what every practice owner wants?
Would you consider completing initial client calls to qualify or disqualify prospects before face-to-face meetings? Do you see any potential challenges in implementing this in your practice? Let me know below…