How I Created An Automated Prospect Screening System
One of the best things about being an automation developer is that I am contacted by very interesting business owners from across the world who have big ideas about how they can automate their company.
It’s also my biggest problem.
Not every potential client is an ideal client. Actually for me, it’s probably more like 10% of leads are the ‘right fit’.
I got to thinking — why can’t I just automate the first step in our lead management process?
Usually, we’d book in a 10 minute call (using Taki Moore’s very effective Triage Call) to ask a few questions to work out whether there’s a mutual fit. The good thing about a call is that it is interactive, and you can get a good sense of a person.
The challenge with calls is that they take time. And time on calls is time we’re not automating everything for our amazing clients.
Enter the Prospect Screening System.
It’s a five minute questionnaire that asks very targeted questions based on years of experience of what makes a good client, and what doesn’t.
My goal was to create a pivot point for prospects to either move on to an in-depth call with me, or to show a ‘thanks but no thanks’ message.
Coming up with the questions was the hardest part to start with. So, I made some prototypes and did some field testing.
First, I thought I would ask about the size of their company, or details about the project. That didn’t work. Too broad.
Then I figured I would just ask the questions I usually would on a call. That kinda worked, but there wasn’t really a way to make it quantitative. It had to be scoreable so I could create that pivot point.
I probably made a hundred different versions of this before I was happy with it.
The eureka moment was when I started to think about the ‘red flags’ that define a bad client, or one that just doesn’t fit into the way we do things at Agility Automation.
So, I created a list of those red flags (or their green flag opposites), and gave each one a positive or negative score. And I made some questions worth more than others — so the most important things to me are given the most weighting.
But I guess you’re wondering my own screening system works, right?
I’m not going to let you in on all of my red flag secrets, but here are a few examples of what would screen a potential client out for me:
- needs someone to work fixed hours or times (we just don’t do that)
- very attached to their current systems, and not open to change (we need experimenters)
- they use particular buzz-words like ‘growth hacker’ to describe themselves (just nope)
None of these red flags alone would necessarily exit a prospect, but the sum of their responses will determine whether they move to the next stage.
After they pass the scoring step, that’s when I ask some open-ended questions. That way, once it is time to have a call with them, we’ll have some basic information to start a conversation.
Of course, your questions are going to be unique to you and your business, and mine won’t necessarily be right for you.
You might be thinking — won’t people just ‘game the system’ and say what they think you want them to?
Yep, sure! But what they think are the ‘right’ answers and what actually are may be quite different.
Some might even make it through your gauntlet. The good thing about having that information from the screening system is that you can easily reach out to the lead before a call happens to let them know you’re not the best fit.
And naturally, the Automated Prospect Screening System is available as one of my Automation Hacks. We can have your very own version up and running before you know it.
tl;dr: You can screen potential leads with my Automated Prospect Screening System to save yourself from calls with people who aren’t the right fit.