Should you have an intake form on your website?
Or does it put too much of a burden on prospects?
And could it even make you look a bit, well, pretentious?
Intake forms (aka pre-qualification forms) are a special type of contact form.
They require prospective clients to provide a bit of information about themselves and their project.
But should you have one on your website?
After all, haven’t I often preached the importance of removing friction from your client acquisition process—and not adding to it?
In today’s article, I argue that the benefits of intake forms outweigh the risks—for you AND your prospective clients.
Intake Forms Save Everyone Time
The main benefit of having an intake form is that it can save you and your prospect a lot of time.
If you realize the prospect isn’t a good fit based on their answers, you can find out BEFORE arranging and spending time together on a Zoom call.
I mean, is there anything worse than spending an hour with a prospect, only to find out they have little or no budget … or their expectations are completely unrealistic?
They Position You as a Professional
Another reason to have an intake form is that it positions you as a professional.
Remember, the sales process starts with the very first interaction you have with a prospect.
Prospects pay close attention to how you treat them and how you behave during those early interactions.
If you show prospects from the start that you have a clear process to qualify them and their project, it immediately positions you as someone they want to work with.
They Reassure Prospects
We’ve all been on the other end of these forms.
If we’re truly interested in working with the person on the other side of the form, we’re motivated to provide complete answers.
We don’t want to waste our time either. So, we WANT the service provider to ask whatever they need to know (within reason) to determine if it’s worth progressing to a conversation.
In fact, I feel reassured when I see that a service provider has an intake form.
It makes me feel more confident that they’re not going to waste my time and will be honest about what they can and can’t do for me.
Warning: Keep Your Intake Forms Short
These benefits can evaporate if you don’t keep your intake form short and to the point.
It’s tempting to add question after question (“Wouldn’t it be good to know this? And maybe this?”) over time. But there are limits.
And if your intake form is too long—and if you include questions that don’t seem strictly necessary or relevant—you risk turning off good prospects.
Intake Forms Are Helpful to Everyone
So yes, having a smart, well-thought-out intake form on your website is a good idea.
It’s not too much a burden to prospects because it actually helps them.
If the occasional prospect doesn’t want to fill it out—that’s valuable information (and a big red flag).
And it may save you from pursuing someone who’s difficult to work with.
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