Pursuing unqualified prospects is a waste of time. Lately, I’ve also been on a bit of a kick in terms of commitment versus interest. If you’re interested in the possibility of working with us, that’s very different than if you’re committed to getting the results you want in your business and working with us to do it.
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the pursuit of unqualified prospects. Welcome, Jay!
Jay: Hey, it’s so great to be here again, David, and I always love the topics that we get into. I think usually, or mostly, especially in my case, I’m in pursuit of just any prospect and I don’t give a lot of thought to are they qualified, are they not?
It’s like, just send me all the leads and all sort through it, and I’m sure that I’m wasting a lot of time doing that.
David: It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s like just looking for warm bodies. Anybody who can fog a mirror, right? And to some extent, that’s part of every process. Because we really don’t know who’s qualified and who’s not until and unless we have a qualification procedure in place to figure that out, or if we just sort of get good at it from having conversations and hearing what people say.
So I think you’re right. I think no one really sets out to pursue unqualified prospects, and yet, to some extent, we all do it every day.
Jay: Yeah, exactly. I will tell you that as a company, we’ve done some things. when we first started using Google ads, it was crazy. I mean, we were getting so many responses. And then after taking all of these leads and calls, we realized that 90% of them were not good.
Because, our key words that we were using for Google were bringing us the wrong type of client that we couldn’t help and that we couldn’t close. So once we just did something as simple as figure out our keywords, wow, that saved us a lot of time and money.
David: It really helps to dial it in, doesn’t it? When you’re more specific and it, you’re right. It could be the difference of one additional parameter, one additional thing that you’re saying in the messaging that you’re putting out there. Because all of that’s going to contribute to the type of people who respond to your ads when we’re talking about leading with advertising.
Jay: Yeah, exactly. The other thing we found is a seasonality to it, and you and I have talked about seasonality a lot when it comes to sales. But we’ve found that the same keywords don’t work the same all year long, that there’s different motivations that things change. And so, we’re kind of starting to keep track of that now for the first time, and I’m excited.
You know, we probably won’t reap the benefits of that until next year, but that’s how far ahead we have to be, to know when and how to start pivoting and adjusting.
David: Yeah, I can see exactly how that could be the case. And it’s something that you discover through doing it, right? Through iterations. You try different things and you say, Hey, this isn’t working. This used to work. What’s the reason for that? So a lot of it too is sometimes talking to people.
One of the things that we’ve done for a long time is when people make a decision not to work with us, or sometimes, if someone expresses interest in working with us, but then doesn’t follow through, we’ll reach out to those people and find out.
“Hey, it looks like you were thinking about contacting us. Looks like you were maybe thinking about scheduling a strategy session with us. You didn’t do it. What was it that held you back?
And the answers you get from that can be extremely helpful in terms of finding out what might also be holding other people back.
Jay: Yeah. That is so powerful and I think sometimes people are afraid, because they’ve turned you down and they’re afraid that if you make another phone call you’re going to be bothersome to them.
But if you do it in the right approach, or it can even be done in a form, a survey after the fact. You know, some way to kind of gather and harness that information. Something really obvious might rise to the top and you’re like going, “oh my goodness, why didn’t we think about that? It should have been so easy for us to see,” but we get that tunnel vision so often.
David: Yeah, and everything’s obvious in hindsight, right? Once we figured it out, I was like, “oh, of course. How did I not know that?”
You know, one of the things, too, that I think about unqualified prospects is that they’re everywhere. Right? They are everywhere.
And I know one of the early mistakes that I made in my business was assuming that everybody was going to be qualified until they proved otherwise. And that’s a tough mistake to make, too.
Jay: Yeah, totally. I mean, you have to be proactive about this process. If you’re letting them decide if they’re qualified, well then again, you’re going through a pile of paper, a pile of leads, whatever it is, and you’re honestly just wasting time and time is money.
And if you can get that down to where, your close rate you know, instead of one out of a hundred, you can get, five out of 20 because you’ve got 20 good leads instead of a hundred anybodies.
That could change your whole life. It could change your whole business with just that one simple adjustment.
David: Yeah. And numbers like that frequently do. They change everything. They change your life, they change your business, they change the number of sales you’re going to make. They change everything.
And when we look at it, and think in terms of the fact that, yeah, we have to determine if somebody’s qualified to do business with us. But on the flip side, they are also deciding whether or not we are qualified to do business with them.
So as you pointed out, sometimes people think they’re qualified. They think that perhaps they want to do business with us. But then when we have questions, when we ask them some things, we may determine that it’s not a good fit on our side.
It has to go both ways. One of the things that I’ve always maintained is that when two parties to an agreement want to put something together, they will figure out a way to do it. But if one of them doesn’t, it’s not going to happen.
If you and I are talking about putting something together and we’re both pretty excited about the idea, we’ll make it happen. But if one of us, even if he or she’s not saying it, if one of us doesn’t want to make it happen, there will be excuses, things will come up and it just won’t end up happening.
So when you realize that and you say, “okay, well these people think they’re qualified to do business with me, I’m either going to have a conversation with them or not.” I mean, if you can determine that somebody’s not qualified ahead of time, you can potentially avoid a conversation. Normally, if somebody is excited about doing business with us, we want to at least have the conversation.
But very early on in those conversations, you can usually figure out whether or not it’s going to be a fit. And if is, then great. You move forward and you work with them. And if it’s not, you determine that as early as possible and you either recommend another solution for them, or everybody just sort of moves on and goes from there.
Jay: Yeah. This is such a unique and powerful, perspective. David, I wa s talking to a financial planner the other day and I was asking him, “so what is your criteria for a new client?” And he said, “well, we sit them down and we interview them to see if they meet our standards for a new client.
I was sitting there going, wait a minute, you interview them? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around that they’re assessing you to see if you’re good for their business? And he’s like, no. We’ve decided years ago exactly what our potential client looks like because we know who we can help and who we can’t.
And if we choose the wrong client, then both sides are going to be dissatisfied because we didn’t do the work upfront to see, like you said, if there’s going to be a cohesive, kind of gel between the two parties.
David: Right. And the other reason that I think he’s right is that we can only ever decide if we feel that someone is qualified to do business with us.
We can’t decide it the other way. So if you think about it from the standpoint of a financial planner, yeah, they need to decide is this person going to be a good fit for us? Do they have enough money to invest? Do they have a similar philosophy to the way that we operate? And if those answers are yes, then it makes sense to work together.
On the other side, the client is thinking, “okay, is this person on the same wavelength as me? Am I going to trust this person with my money?” But those are the decisions that that person gets to make, right? The client makes a decision. And the organization, the salesperson makes a decision. They both have to come to positive decisions if they’re ever going to move forward.
And the thing is, we can’t decide for the person. We can try to convince or persuade them to do business with us. But generally, it’s far easier to find people who you resonate with and who resonate with you so that you can just put it together.
Everything becomes a whole lot easier when you’re on the same page. Like I said, when two people want to do business together, they’ll figure out a way to do it.
Jay: Yeah. An d it’s because, you know, and we’ve talked about this so much, it’s about relationships. no matter how you slice it, there’s going to be a long-term relationship between the two of you. It is going to be about more than just picking up the phone and calling you.
It’s going to be, “Hey, how’s it going?” There’s going to be understanding of each other’s lives and each other’s needs. I will tell you another point is I’m getting really good, because I spent so much time on the phone, at figuring out which clients are going to be so demanding that they will be problematic well through the process.
And so I’m getting good at assessing, whether or not, I want to just say, “you know what, we probably can’t suit your situation, but there are some other options out there. Have a nice day.”
Because if even on the first phone call they’re that way, well imagine how they’re going to get through the ordering process and through all of those things, I just don’t want to deal with the headaches.
And often I’m going to end up giving them a refund anyway, because I couldn’t make them happy. And so, you know, I’m realizing and starting to understand that I need to be picky about who I bring into our business and who we decide to service.
David: Yeah, no question. Because like you said, if they’re not going to be pleasant on that initial call, how are they going to be when it’s time to collect on what they purchase from you? If you’re going to have to go chase them for money, if they’re rude when you’re just meeting them for the first time, imagine how they’ll be when they owe you money?
But one of the things that I tend to think of, when we think in terms of unqualified prospect, well, what does it mean? You know, to me it means… Unqualified people are the people who don’t have the need, the desire, the money, the budget, the willingness to spend, right?
Because, and it’s kind of in that order, if they don’t have the need or the desire, then they’re not going to do it. If they don’t have the money, then they can’t do it. If they have a budget, but they don’t have a willingness to spend, right? Some people say they’ll do something, but then just won’t spend the money.
I mean, these are all sort of different things, but they all tie together. They’re all related, and they determine whether or not somebody is actually qualified to do business with us.
One of the other things I look at is if they’re rude, obnoxious, belligerent, uncommunicative. Woo. That’s a big one. And it didn’t used to be, for me.
In the early stages of my business, if people were not rude, not obnoxious, if they were personable or whatever, I would really pursue them to the ends of the earth. But if they weren’t communicative, it kind of kills all the rest of it.
And so I’m certainly at a point now where even if somebody is nice and pleasant and they seem interested in wanting to do something, if they don’t communicate, I tend not to pursue anymore.
Because if I have to chase somebody to remain engaged and remain interested and we end up doing business together, am I going to have to try to chase them to do the things they’ll need to do to get the results they want in their business? Because I can’t do that either, right?
And so there needs to be that reciprocal level of interest and willingness to communicate. Lately, I’ve also been on a bit of a kick in terms of commitment versus interest.
If you’re interested in the possibility of working with us, that’s very different than if you’re committed to getting the results you want in your business and working with us to do it.
Some people are interested in the idea of growing their sales. They’re interested in the idea of getting more customers. Interest is not going to cut it until you get to the point where you are absolutely committed to the idea of growing your sales and profits, growing your customer base, finally hitting the level of sales that you wished you would’ve hit years ago.
Until you reach that level of commitment to say, “okay, I’m going to take action. I’m going to do this.” Then all the interest in the world is really, nothing.
Jay: Yeah, really wasted. And, one final point that I’d like to make is that, you mentioned, you know, maybe it’s because they can’t afford it right now. Maybe it doesn’t fit into their plan. Maybe they don’t necessarily fit the perfect model.
These are not lost people. These are people that you can put in your drip program from your customer management system. And I’ve had this happen. I had it happen to me two days ago. I get an order out of nowhere and I’m like, “I don’t even remember talking to this guy.”
And I pull up my system and I’m all, I talked to him eight months ago. He said he probably was not going to use our service. I threw him into my drip program and he received emails from us every month. And then when the time came, he’s finally ready. Now he became a customer.
So it’s not like these conversations that we have are a waste of time if it’s the situation where they can’t afford it right now, they see the point, but it just doesn’t work for them. Those are still prospects.
David: Yeah, absolutely. And so when they move from interested to committed or when they… well, even there, I would still say that if they don’t have the money right now and they’re committed to doing it, then we’ve got somebody that is going to be a good quality prospect.
If you have somebody who’s mildly interested, they don’t have the money now, well, they may have the money later, but if they’re not committed to the process, they’re still not going to spend it. So I think we’re on the same page. I think maybe we just look at it a little differently in terms of who’s interested in and who’s actually committed.
Jay: Yeah, absolutely. So how do people find out more?
David: You can go to TopSecrets.com/call to schedule a call with myself or my team. If you are looking to get to the kind of prospects that you need, if you’re looking to be able to qualify those prospects as quickly as possible, and jettison the ones who are not good quality prospects for you.
A lot of times the reason that people don’t make the sales that they want to make is that they spend too much time pursuing unqualified prospects. So one of the things that we do in our Total Market Domination course is we give you a process for being able to do that as quickly as possible.
You know, speed of implementation is key. If I can get somebody qualified in or out. Within the first conversation, that’s a whole lot better than if I have multiple meetings, multiple phone calls, and then four months later I determine this person isn’t a good fit.
So if any of this resonates with you, and if you’d like to have a conversation, TopSecrets.com/call. Love to have the conversation.
Jay: Yeah, absolutely. David, as always, it’s a pleasure talking to you.
David: Thanks. You too, Jay.
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