I have a nose attuned to the delicate smell of half-ass prospects. Being half-assed is not a birth defect; it’s a sign of weakness. Such a person gets excited by shiny objects. He is easily distracted. He has no sense of direction. He wants it, but he doesn’t Want it. He starts things but rarely finishes. He is always busy, yet he never gets anything done, and he always finds a reason to fail. My company has been providing website design services since 2007. We get a lot of prospects inquiring about, you guessed it, website design, online marketing, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and we are no strangers to the half-ass prospect. One of my goals in business is to help them shed their half-ass prospect uniform and help them into our best customer jersey.
We don’t pitch to our prospects. Instead we talk about their business goals and how we can build a web presence that supports their goals. Shockingly, many of them drop the ball. It makes me feel like they don’t want to think about their goals and the direction their business should go. These prospects are half-assing, if there is such a word, what they contacted us for in the first place. But why? It can’t be the money because we are not talking about the point in the process when it’s time to put a deposit down for a website.
Half-assed prospects have the following characteristics:
- Imprecise about goals
- Easily excited
- Quickly lose focus
- Unclear about what should happen next
- Scared about commitment
Here is the 4 step program to cure half-ass prospects:
Step 1. Extract the Pain – For what reason has the prospect has contacted you? In our case it is never because they just want a new website. We have to dig deeper to find out the real reason. Our goal is to find out what triggered their call. People are busy and they don’t go around calling businesses or completing their contact forms randomly. During the time they have contacted your company they had to have a reason or multiple reasons for contacting you. As a business you have to have a clear understanding of the reason for their call. For example, in our case, we design websites, but nobody just wants a new website. There is a reason behind the need for a new website. Possible reasons are declining sales, lower conversion rates, increased competition, introduction of new products/services, entering new markets, and many more possible reasons. Can you really get to the bottom of why someone contacted you? Never assume anything about why they want your help. Get to the bottom of it.
Step 2. Reiterate – Repeat what you understand about the prospect’s pain. It is your job to fully comprehend the pain. When you describe your understanding of the pain you give the prospect an opportunity to clarify. It helps both of you to move further in the process and it forces the prospect to stay focused and to think systematically about his business. Don’t rely on your gut. No, sir! Understand the facts, and make sure that so does the prospect. Don’t move on to the next step until you made sure the prospects knows that you understand the pain.
Step 3. Solution – It is only at this point that you should offer solutions. Unfortunately, many that try converting prospects into customers start with step 3, and offer solutions, prematurely. You now understand the pain, and you are ready to offer solutions. Explain how your solution will help with the pain. This is your time to talk about your service, but still you are talking about the prospect, not about yourself. Don’t make this a long list of features. Make it about what you have learned during step 1.
Step 4. Remind – It is your job to remind the prospect, if necessary, their initial reason for seeking your service. You are at the closing stage now. You understand the pain, the prospect understands that you understand, you have offered the solution for the pain. You are not allowing the prospect to make a half-assed attempt to improve his business.
Can half-assed prospects be completely eliminated from business? No, but the ones you can help are on their way to become your best customers. You have managed to understand their pain. You have explained them that you understand them. You have offered solutions, and you continue to remind them about the ways you help them. It is your job to continue to communicate the value you are providing them.