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Save Precious Time by Prequalifying Leads

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“What a waste of time”

Sometimes, that is what springs to mind after a potential project falls through.

Perhaps the prospective client walks away after you spent hours making your pitch, or you learn a client has chosen another design/build company that claimed the project could be done at half the cost.

Whatever the case, prequalifying leads — investigating if they meet your pre-determined buying criteria such as project scope and budget — can save your company from disappointment and from time spent wooing property owners who do not intent to move forward with a project.

Time and effort are zero-sum resources. Like a restaurant with limited tables and too many reservations, you need to know who is actually going to show, who is hedging their bets, and who is on the fence and needs a gentle nudge. Prequalifying leads ensures your time and effort are focused on the most promising revenue-generating opportunities.

Knowing what needs to be done and doing it can be the difference between getting by and taking your landscape business to the next level. Even if you already have a process for prequalifying leads, doing it right means regularly refining your process for attracting the most promising clients.

Prequalification Process

One way to rethink your process is to think of it from the customer’s point of view. Every purchase process goes through these stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Intent
  4. Signing the contract

The prequalification procedure typically targets prospects during phase 2: consideration. There are plenty of smart ways to triage real prospects from those who are merely considering your services— and this should certainly be done before you spend your evening hours traveling to anyone’s property.

A phone call continues to be the most personal. It is an opportunity to decide whether or not to pursue the lead. It is also a chance to encourage fence-sitting prospects from “consideration” to the next step: intent. Not every phone call is about closing a sale — sometimes a successful phone call is simply about filtering prospective clients from those who are not serious at this time (while leaving it friendly enough that they may think of you if they do become ready).

It can be tempting to get in front of property owners and dazzle them with your portfolio of dramatic design visuals and successful jobs. But why make the trip to the county limits only to sit through two hours of tension leading up to the “What’s your budget?” and “What’s the ballpark price?” conversation — especially when it’s only to find out that the prospect is really just testing the waters. Prequalifying by phone can save a lot of time, effort, and frustration.

For that first phone call, you’re simply looking to either:

  1. Move them to the next step,
  2. keep them as a potential future client, or
  3. eliminate them as a potential client.

By speaking ahead, you can save time for yourself and your lead if it becomes clear the project is not going to happen anytime soon.

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