Do you answer your phone?
Do you spend an hour on the phone with a random caller?
I don’t because I have a client onboarding process and I don’t like wasting time.
Today I got an email that went something like this.
I’m looking for someone to setup an eCommerce site on WordPress for me. I’m only selling a few products. Are you available?
I replied with my normal email that asks a bunch of questions about why they need a site, why is it the most important thing to build, what is the timeframe and what is the budget.
You know things that help me decide if the client is actually a client I want to engage with.
Then they called.
Faced with a dilemma
When a brand new client calls you and says that they have a dilemma. Do you spend time on the phone with them?
Will it be a total waste of time?
Do they really have the money to pay you for that call, heck how about the money to purchase your services to build out their solution?
With simply the email above you have no idea.
Politely say no
Yup the headline gave it away, I politely ask for a response to the email.
See I book all my time and all my calls. Booking them out means that I can really put in some focus to the call and to the questions I need answered.
I book out at least 15 minutes (30 if I can) before each call to make sure that I’m fully prepped for the client and ready to deal with their project.
Today I said:
Thanks for the call, but really I’m busy right now. Send over a response to that email and then if it’s a good fit I’ll setup a call for us.
Can you guess what the response was?
Well the time frames didn’t match and the budgets didn’t match. So spending 15 minutes on the phone talking about the idea would have been more time put in to a client that didn’t have the time or budget to get in to my ‘ideal client’ pipeline.
Here’s what I sent back:
Hey $client, thanks for the answers.
Currently my time frame isn’t going to match your time frame. I’m booked till mid-October already.
We’re also out of alignment on prices. Setting up an eCommerce store with an existing theme and installing existing plugins (so nothing custom at all) starts at $6000. The plugins and security stuff you likely need probably cost around 500 – 600 out of the gate. So the $1000 you have simply doesn’t match with the requirements to set up a store properly.
I’m really sorry I can’t help currently. If our time frames and budgets come in to better alignment in the future I’d love to hear from you.
Good luck with your project and have an awesome day.
That email above is basically a template I have to politely say no. My total time spent was less time than it took me to write the first draft of this post.
Actually, probably half the time it took me to write the first draft of this post.
Don’t get on the phone without a plan
Yeah that’s right, don’t get on the phone with a possible client without a plan.
Don’t spend waste time until you’ve at least put them through the first part of your client vetting process. Make sure it’s a project you’re at least partially interested in, that may have the budget you feel it needs to do the job properly.
You’ve got better things to do and possible clients don’t care about wasting your time.