For many companies, especially service companies, the time wasted by engaging with unqualified prospects is substantial. And, depending on circumstances, this could really impact your profitability.
So let’s talk about this, and what you can do about it.
When I first started copywriting in the early 2000’s, the prevailing thought was to NOT put pricing information on your website, and instead say “I need to see the project first”. This is still quite common for many service businesses.
The idea behind this is you want as many contacts as possible, and if you put any type of pricing, you might “scare off” people.
Honestly, I never felt comfortable with this, but I did it anyway. And I quickly learned two lessons:
- You waste a TON of time with people who are never going to hire you.
- You will never “convince” someone who cannot afford you to hire you.
Around 2008, I became an outlier and started putting ballpark pricing information on my website, and both business and my mood improved markedly (I still do it today – on three different pages no less!)
Yes, the raw amount of contacts went down. Way down, in fact. But my level of business went up slightly. I spent less time quoting, but actually closed more, because price was out of the way.
I look at it this way: I simply do not have time to engage with people who cannot afford me. It wastes time for both of us. And wasted time is expensive.
This can be important no matter how large or small your company is.
I have an 8-figure client who lends money to businesses. But they have certain criteria for lending – their customers must be in business 2+ years, be profitable, and have good credit.
No startups, and no bad credit. That’s not their customer.
The problem they run into is any type of advertising is going to attract these types of businesses in massive amounts. When your phone is ringing 50x a day, and you get hundreds of emails a week, it becomes extremely counter-productive to have “bad” leads.
So we take steps to alleviate this (negative PPC keywords, making sure the website funnels them out, etc.)
And it’s a constant battle, as online marketing is constantly changing, and algorithms are updated. But working on alleviating unqualified prospect engagement is almost always a big win, as it exponentially cuts down on wasted time.
So How Do You Avoid Unqualified Prospects?
Simple – you tell them.
You make sure your website appeals to your target customer, and it also (nicely) lets non-target prospects know they should look elsewhere.
If you are a service type business, don’t be afraid to put ballpark pricing on your website. The only people that will actually ‘scare away” are people you have no hope of closing anyway. If you put ballpark pricing in, interested prospects will still want an exact quote, so you’ll still get to engage with them.
In advertising, use negative keywords in Google. If you are advertising on social media, take the time to really hone down your audience.
There are plenty of businesses that want as many prospects as possible (retail, food service, etc.) But there are plenty that could use a break from the constant “oh, that’s too expensive” conversation.
I know this is a big step for a lot of companies. But trust me, it’s ok to cut down on your contacts if it means cutting out the price conversation.