As you build your company, you establish both a business model and processes that make it work smoothly for you. In addition to targeting your ideal customers, a good system alienates those you want nothing to do with. In other words, you prequalify prospective customers to save everyone time.
For example, if you’re selling a relatively expensive product, you’ll invariably implement procedures that quickly eliminate prospects looking for a cheap deal.
One of my service companies uses a model that prescreens prospects by making them jump through a series of initial hoops…taking small actions. Each hoop serves the purpose of weeding out those who will not be a good fit.
For most bad prospects, they take one look at the hoops and run the other direction. We don’t even hear from them because it’s clear we’re not what they’re looking for.
Of course, some will claim this is mean. Yet it’s doing each prospect a favor by helping them decide whether or not it makes sense to do business with us or go to a competitor that has different priorities that better match their unique needs.
A couple weeks ago, a prospect tried to short circuit the prescreening process by insisting we do business his way. When that failed, he came back a week later and reluctantly jumped through the initial hoop.
At that point, rather than acknowledging it was a mismatch and moving on, the prospect decided to teach us a lesson. After insulting us, he offered to tell us what we were doing wrong with our proven business model so that we could win prospects like him in the future. We declined.
Of course, he didn’t understand that we don’t want to do business with prospects like him because it isn’t a good fit. To learn and apply his “lesson” would mean to transform the company into something it isn’t — and doesn’t want to be.
Does this mean one should never listen to business advice from others? Of course not.
But take it with a grain of salt when a prospect insists you change your company to do business the way the prospect wants you to.
It’s your business. Your rules. Use them to prequalify prospective customers. Because there are plenty of prospects who do fit your model and are willing to do business on your terms. Those that don’t qualify should be shown the door as quickly as possible…and ideally don’t enter in the first place.