How to Weed Out “Bad” Prospects Earlier and Faster

I love attraction marketing strategies. But one of the challenges with this type of marketing is that you have less control over who contacts you.

You might generate excellent leads. But you will also attract not-so-great prospects.

The key to making it work? Take active steps to weed out bad prospects early and efficiently. That way you can focus your valuable time and attention on the right prospects.

Or taking more time off!

When (and When Not) to Weed

Before we go too far, there’s one important caveat to the advice I’m about to share:

When you’re just starting out, you need to adopt a “Say yes to everything!” mindset.

This doesn’t mean that you have to literally say yes to everything! But you do want to open yourself up to as many opportunities and potential clients as possible.

That’s because when you’re in an early launch stage, you’re trying to build momentum. You’re trying to get some practice and grow your confidence. And you can only do it by taking on clients … even if they’re not your ideal clients.

However, as your business grows—and you become less concerned about finding clients and more concerned about managing your capacity—you can start to weed more aggressively.

So with that stipulation, let’s take a look at what you can do to weed out bad prospects.

Get Clear on Whom You Want to Work With

The first step in weeding out bad prospects to understand whom you want to work with.

If you’re just starting out, you may not have this clarity yet. But the more clients you work with, the clearer it will become.

The guiding principle here is that you can’t serve everyone. Often, we see traditional businesses serve the masses, and we think we need to do the same.

Not true! We’re not Walmart. We don’t have that kind of capacity. We’re not looking for volume here. So getting clear on whom you serve best is a powerful tool in weeding out “bad” clients.

Communicate This on Your Website

As you start to figure out which clients you serve best, communicate it on your website.

When you do this, people who find you through random searches will start to self-qualify. They may see that you specialize in a particular industry or project type and decide that you’re not a good fit for them. Which is a good thing!

You can also communicate project types or industries that AREN’T a good fit—but you have to do this carefully. You don’t want to alienate or offend.

However, if you’re regularly receiving a certain type of inquiry that you don’t want to pursue, this can be a useful approach.

Implement an Intake Form on Your Website

Having an intake form (also known as a pre-qualification form) on your website is a more decisive way of reducing the number of “bad” prospects.

Again, this isn’t something you want to do if you’re still building your business. At the early stages, you want to remove obstacles that might prevent people from reaching out to you.

But, if you’re more established—and you’re spending too much time on the phone qualifying prospects—then a pre-qualification form is a great way to optimize your process.

Simply add a “Request a Quote” call-to-action button on your website with a link to an intake form. Interested prospects can then fill out the form and submit it online.

What questions should you include on this form? Typically, you would ask:

  • Prospect name
  • Contact information
  • Project description
  • Timeframe
  • Budget

You can also include questions you’ve found useful in qualifying phone calls.

Try to keep the form short. You’re not trying to encapsulate your entire qualifying process into one form! Rather, the form is a preliminary qualification step which will help you decide whether to proceed with a phone call or not.

To optimize this process further, you can also set up an auto-responder email that automatically confirms receipt of the form when submitted.

You Can’t Serve Everyone—Nor Should You Try

Weeding out bad prospects becomes increasingly important as your business grows and evolves.

If you’re still getting established, don’t weed too enthusiastically or you’ll risk undermining your efforts.

But once you are more established, you can start to be more selective … and start passing on “bad” prospects and landing more good ones.


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