Pre-Qualify Your Prospects

When business slows and funds are trickling in, it’s tempting to just take the next project that comes along to keep operations flowing. But will that project be worth your time and effort? Do some planning before accepting just any client or project that comes calling.

- What are the characteristics of your ideal client? Think back to those clients with whom you have enjoyed working in the past.

- What’s your ideal project? For instance, if your focus has been on educational design, you may not want to take on a residential remodel.

- What is your work style? If you have a short attention span, reconsider that year-and-a-half-long project (unless you can get yourself to think of it as several smaller projects). You don’t want to get bored and end up giving your client less than your best.

- How do you relate to people? Say you’ve determined that the prospect who calls several times a day will turn into the client who asks for daily progress reports. If you’re not a good hand-holder, maybe you should consider referring that prospect to someone else.

Resolve that it is okay to keep a list of business partners to whom you can refer prospects if you don’t think they’ll be a good fit for you. Your partners should do the same for you.


Is pursuing that project worth the effort?

It’s a money-making (and saving) Monday.

Have you ever considered how much it costs you to pursue a client before an agreement is signed and before the actual project begins? Consider the following to save time and money and avoid frustration:

- Determine the average number of meetings – including phone meetings – it takes before you sign an agreement. Can the number be reduced?

- Ask your prospect if they are qualifying other professionals for the job. If they are, ask for names and research your competition so you can position yourself as the best candidate.

- Prepare a list of questions to determine if your prospect is really ready to begin their project.

- Explore ways to win the project without providing work product (sketches, cost estimates, etc.) before signing an agreement.