So, I’ve been talking about qualification of leads for most of this month. I’m exploring this topic because when I first started my own business, qualification was the first step that really helped me. Qualifying leads before I spent time with them saved me so much time, and led me to work with some wonderful people.
I’ve had multiple leads talk about how the qualification questions helped them clarify what they wanted out of a project. Sadly, in the same breath, a couple said they didn’t have the guts to ask qualification questions because they were afraid their own leads would be turned away.
First qualification form iteration
The first time I added a qualification form to my web design website, I asked only a couple of questions. They were very open ended and asked for a project description. Pretty basic. But this was much better than nothing. I wasn’t really trying to qualify people at this point, just to get a little information to make our first phone call more productive. But, when people talked about projects out of my skill set, or that I was opposed to, I could pass without taking a hour for a phone call first.
Second qualification form iteration
The very best thing I ever did for my web design business was go through Troy Dean’s WPElevation course. If you’re working in web dev/design/implementation, I highly recommend this course. One thing that Troy talks about quite a bit is a qualification form. I immediately put a version of his questions on my site. And then slowly, I added and subtracted questions as my experience grew and I figured out what I really wanted to know before talking with someone.
Current qualification for digital marketing
As I’m building out my digital marketing business, I’ve put up a qualification form on this website. Just like I used Troy Dean’s model for my web design qualification form, I’ve used Michael Killen’s APEX marketing form as a starting point for this form. I’ve modified it a little, and I plan to keep modifying as I see what questions help me and my clients the most.
I’m calling it a Project Planning Worksheet because it really does begin the planning process for a successful marketing project. I’m using questions that will help leads get clear on their project needs and goals. I’m also asking questions that will help me know whether or not I could help a lead get to their goals. Win-win – I always like those.
Some of the questions seem a bit prying, but without the information, it’s impossible to know if/how I can best help out. And really, I only have so much time. I can’t run my business and have family time if I have to talk with every single lead that comes my way (and I really don’t have all that many!). This work is time consuming. So, I want my qualification form to disqualify anyone who isn’t really ready to get started and ready to start working!
What if I get a lead who doesn’t find me through my website?
About 80% of the time, if someone meets me in person or calls me up, I will direct them to fill out my form before we schedule a call. Every once in a while, I get a feeling about someone – and I talk with them one the phone instead. BUT, I walk them through the qualification questions on the phone. Everyone has to go through these questions because that’s how I know if we’d be good working together.
I suggest that you just get started with something – even a few questions. And then, modify as you build your business and gain some experience. Having a qualification form on my site feels like armor against the wrong folks, and feels like a helpful planning tool for the right folks.
Tl;tbtr: (Too long; too busy to read):
If you’re sitting in the emergency waiting room while hospital staff asks you what happened for the 10th time, you don’t have time to read this – go check out my Project Planning Worksheet and set up your own.
(Apparently, when your 10 year old trips on a deer antler left out by the dog and slices open his foot, it’s a bit suspicious. Seriously, though, that seems tame compared to some of my friends’ kids’ stories…)
You're a business-owning mom, so you use this guide to prioritize your tasks in 2 minutes, and have 41 minutes left to knock out a task.