Do you know the right questions to ask to find your ideal clients?
I bet you LOVE how inspiring it feels when your clients get the results they want. They’ve achieved what they never thought they could, and you’ve helped them work miracles. They have what they’ve always dreamed of, you’ve fulfilled your mission. EVERYBODY is happy.
It’s why you started your business in the first place: to use your gifts and talents to change lives.
Then there are the “other” clients…
Nothing you do pleases them. They’re emailing you at all hours of the day and night, demanding one thing or another. And despite your best efforts, you’re falling into exhaustion, frustration, and resentment.
If you’re not careful, one bad apple really CAN spoil your business. (Or at least make it a lot less fun!)
Recently, I let a client in that shouldn’t have gotten past the first sales call. Someone who set off all the alarm bells from the moment I first talked to her. I knew deep down that she wouldn’t want to do what it took to get results, and I should’ve just said NO.
But for some reason, I bent my own rules. And I let this person into the inner circle thinking that maybe we could save her.
Needless to say, that didn’t work. This client caused us nothing but grief. And I knew it was going to happen, too.
But even the best of us have moments where we think we might be wrong. And we let our guard down and let in a client that should’ve been a solid NO.
It was a reminder that boundaries matter. They’re there for a reason. And you need to honor them in your business life just as much as you do in your personal life.
In other words, we ALL need to qualify who we work with before we say YES!
It’s pretty logical. If you qualify your leads, you’re going to start working with quality people. So why can it be such a hard thing to put into practice?
Because it’s hard to say NO. Turning people away doesn’t make you feel good, especially at first. You want to help everyone, right?
But the truth is that you can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. You can’t make someone decide that they’re ready to change. You can lead a horse to water, but whether or not he drinks is NOT for you to say.
Aristotle said, “Quality is not an act, it’s a habit.” And for the good of the people who want your help AND for the sake of your own sanity, it’s a habit that I recommend you start cultivating NOW.
What do I mean by “quality?” I mean qualifying your leads before you talk to them. Weeding out the truly interested parties and letting the “not ready for prime time” ones go.
That means setting boundaries. Asking the right questions. And sticking to your policies without exception, as much as you can.
The wrong clients make you feel like you’re stuck in a one-sided friendship. But there are even more reasons why letting the bad apples in can make you feel trapped in your own business.
What else happens when you say YES when you should’ve said NO?
You waste your precious time. Time is your number one asset. And when you spend time with clients who aren’t ready to change, you lose hours, days, and even weeks that you never get back. (Not to mention cheating the right clients out of space on your calendar!)
The quality of your work takes a nosedive. The more you try to please someone who wasn’t a right fit in the first place, the more frustrated you get. That leads to exhaustion, anxiety, and worst of all, resentment. From there, the quality of the work you provide plummets.
It could damage your reputation as a business. What happens when the quality of your work suffers because you’re trying to become something you’re not? You don’t meet the client’s needs. They might feel just as resentful of you as you do of them. That does NOT lead to stellar testimonials or glowing reviews, to say the least.
Sure, you can’t guarantee that a screening system will catch every single unqualified person. But you can take the steps to avoid as many of the pitfalls as you can by setting standards and sticking to them.
Back in the day, there used to be red velvet ropes that blocked off the entrance to exclusive nightclubs. Qualifying leads is a lot like that. So the question is, who are YOU going to allow to get past the ropes and into your club?
You get to decide who you want to work with, how you’re going to help them, and the criteria that they have to meet to get through your door. That part is entirely up to you, and you have the right to accept OR refuse anyone.
Not I’m not saying that saying “NO” is easy. It’s one of the hardest things there is to do in business. But the more you commit to your standards, the more you’ll find that the right people meet them. And that those people are drawn to your door in greater numbers, too!
You can’t be all things to all people. But you can be everything to the right people. That’s the goal.
So how do you make that happen?
There’s no one answer. Every business is different, and every individual has their own set of standards. But I recommend starting with YOU.
What are your values, what are you looking for in clients, and what are the absolute deal breakers in your business?
For example, at The Pitch Queen, I require that my clients are fully committed to changing. I want them to take their success seriously, and be ready to work. That means being on time for meetings, taking notes, and putting ideas into action.
Deal breakers for me are things like being late to meetings, not following through on tasks, and not being fully present and engaged during meetings (don’t do a call when you’re driving!).
Of course, those are just my rules. You might have different criteria altogether, and that’s OK!
Maybe in your world, your dream client has to be ready for a major investment. They might have to have been in business for a certain number of years or have a minimum top-line revenue.
They might have to demonstrate follow-through by completing a set of pre-work or a homework assignment. Maybe you need to go deeper into their needs and find out if you’re really the one to help them before you commit to a sales conversation.
It’s all YOUR call. Just be honest about what works for YOU in your business. You’re the only one who can answer those questions, so start doing that right now.
I recommend setting at least three to five boundaries and honoring them 100% of the time. For example, what kind of conduct do you expect, and what level of commitment do they have to show? How much time should they budget for homework and how available will you be to them timewise?
I also suggest having a list of qualifying questions that tell you where your prospect is, what they need and whether or not you are the one to help them reach their goals.
So think about what you’re selling. Then come up with the right questions that will help you sort out the good apples from the bad. It’s about creating the right questions that are well thought-out and specific, and strategic to the good of YOUR business.
I’ve wasted a ton of time over the years talking to the wrong people in sales conversations. People who didn’t know what they wanted or what they were talking about. People who said what they thought I wanted to hear in the moment, but ghosted on me when the time came to make a decision. I’ve even spent time talking to people who had no authority to make a buying decision in the first place (you can imagine how productive THAT was!).
Trust me, you don’t have to put yourself through that. The more that you find out about your prospects up front, the more likely the time wasters fall through the cracks.
If your qualifying system is spot-on, you end up doing what you love and working with clients that you adore.
And that storybook ending for both you AND your client has a chance to happen in REAL life.
Now, what if I told you that the ideal qualifying system was as simple as a four-letter word?
It’s true! Opening the doors to your ideal clients can be as easy as B-A-N-T!
What am I talking about? It’s the world’s simplest and most powerful client sorting system. It hits everything that you need to know about potential clients with four simple letters. Four letters that can spell the difference between the tales of DREAM business relationships and client HORROR stories.
How does it work?
My NEW checklist shows you how to use the BANT system to ask the right questions and tell a green light from a red flag EVERY time! Grab “3 Steps To Get DREAM Clients: Using The BANT Method To Snag HIGH Quality Leads” and start enjoying beautiful relationships with perfect client matches TODAY!