We are all in search of ways to save time, myself included, and there’s no shortage of tips and tricks business owners have come up with for freeing up more hours in the week.
I am always open to trying new approaches—you can’t grow if you won’t change—but I’ve also found that when it comes to screening prospects, you have to really spend time to make time. That’s why my sales team at Grunder Landscaping and I sometimes spend as much as 30 minutes screening a prospect call.
We do this to ensure we are the right company for the prospect and the prospect is the right client for us. During the call, we ask our prospects a series of questions:
Where did they hear about us? If they have a friend who is a client, we know they are a strong lead. If they found us through a general internet search for landscaping, it’s less likely they are. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about optimizing our website for search engines (we do!), but we’re focused on the high-end market; if someone is calling around for the cheapest price, we are not the right company for them.
What is their budget? Many prospects have no idea how much a landscaping project costs, but most have a pretty clear idea about how much they’re willing to spend. Knowing their budget up front helps us understand the general scale of the job and if what we can deliver will align with their expectations.
When do they need the work done by? If the prospect is someone we want to work with, we’ll do everything we can to accommodate their schedules but, as we all know, sometimes it just isn’t possible to deliver what they want when they want it. Having this conversation at the start is crucial.
These questions are just the kick-off; they help guide us into deeper discussions that give us a clearer picture of who’s on the other end of the phone and if they could become one of our ideal clients. Are these calls time-consuming? You bet. But staying true to this process saves us considerable time in the long run. Earlier in my career, I’d eagerly rush out to any prospect who called, wasting hour upon hour on leads that were really dead-ends. Now my team and I spend the time up front and save ourselves the headache and heartache later.
How do you screen prospects? Focus on that this week with your team and see where you net out.