Keep Your Pants On (Customers v. Leads)
I used to confuse leads with clients. I would get contacted by a potential lead. We would discuss their project through various mediums, phone, emails and face to face.
I would get a little excited about the project. But a lot of the time the project didn’t happen for many different reasons.
I used to get confused between a lead and a customer. Here is the difference between a customer and a lead.
A customer has paid you a deposit.
One of my top tips (soon to be in a book of the same name out in 2024) is don’t do a scratch of work till you get a deposit, If you have started projects without deposits in the past then you are an idiot.
So don’t do a thing till the money is sitting in your account. I don’t care if the cheque is in the mail.
My parallel tip to this is don’t get excited about leads. Of course be professional with leads, be helpful, engaging and provide a great response to them. This is what will convince them to use you for your services (and no it is rarely your Portfolio). But don’t count the chickens.
I maintain two lists. One is in Pipedrive for leads and a Google Sheet where I track my customers.
But nobody on Pipedrive is on my sheet and vice versa.
Thinking every lead is going to turn into a customer is hopelessly naive. Not having an established process for following up on leads is borderline foolish.
I used to get a lead, do a proposal and never follow up thinking that my proposal was their reason for living. Far from it. Often it was number 7-8 on their To Do list. You must have a follow up process. Mine (in Chapter 4 of the above to be published book) is something like this.
After a lead contacts me then….
- I get in touch we discuss the project through whatever means.
- I create a proposal and send it (using Pandadoc)
- When I see them open it (Pandadoc notifies me when this happens) I send a scripted email (using Textexpander I can do this in seconds) asking them if they have any questions.
- If they haven’t opened the proposal in 2 days I send them an email reminding them to the proposal and to check their Spam just in case.
- If they respond and are ready to go I send them the booking deposit invoice and once paid we do up a plan for delivery.
- If they don’t go ahead in step 6 then we may go back and forward with questions till we can move to step 5.
- If they don’t respond they get emails 5 days later, 3 weeks later, and 6 weeks later until we get to 5 or they don’t progress.
- If I get no response I email them 3 months later asking how the project went or if they even progressed.
I used to stop at step 2. This is a huge mistake because of both the priority item above and often the person requesting the project may not even be the stake holder so they need prompting. It might seem like a lot of steps but it isn’t and it isn’t time consuming as with Pipedrive and Textexpander I can do all of the steps from 3-8 in under a minute.