Qualifying your leads is critical to operating a business filed with customers that rave about your service.
How so, you ask?
A qualified lead is a prospect who has expressed interest in buying your product and passes a set of lead qualifications in order to progress further down the funnel. This lead definition is determined by the specific qualification, characteristics, or standards determined by you as the business owner. These characteristics are generally those of your Buyers Persona, Customer Avatar or what simply is your Perfect Customer.
We all have them.
Our Perfect Customer may be Medium Sized Business who operate out of Commercial Office Spaces within a 10km radius of the City CBD for example.
When you start a Cleaning Business you often take work wherever you can get it, right? After all, we have mouths to feed and bills to pay. Not all our customers initially, are going to meet the characteristics of our Perfect Customer, but in the back of our minds, we all have a perfect customer.
If you take a look at some of the larger businesses within the industry, it may seem that they do everything which is a characteristics of facilities services companies, however, even they, often have a sector or niche that they service. Some only deal with National Retail Outlets, others have a focus on Healthcare, Schools, Multi-Nationals or Distribution centres. It's their focus on a certain niche within the industry that would have often lead to their greatest growth.
Ever heard the saying?
“I Know A Little Bit About Everything And A Whole Lot About Nothing”
You can't possibly be a specialist in every aspect of the Cleaning Industry, so why promote that you are.
So knowing your Perfect Customer is important first step to be able to qualify leads better. Qualifying leads isn't aimed at getting you less leads. Knowing you Perfect Customer means you can market to those people, and therefor, get more leads.
Qualifying them ensures you close more deals, because these are your perfect customers, that were looking for exactly what you offer.
We know at freshOps that we are not the perfect solution for every business within the cleaning industry. It would be naive to think so. However, we definitely have a Customer Avatar that thinks we rock. So, we just need to go get more of them. Are you with me?
It's not that they are after a cleaning company that can also do carpet cleaning. That's not why they buy from you. They buy because of you. While the tender process takes the emotions out of the decision process, a lot of contracts are won, simply because they liked you and everything your business stands for.
People still buy from people. Whether you are a B2B or B2C, we are all actually P2P, People to People.
So without giving every lead a 40 page questionnaire how do we qualify them?
Well if they found you online through your website, you've already done some of the qualification process without realising. This was because of the images on your website, the design, the copy, it all gives your leads an insight into your business. If your website, looks like it was built 15 years ago, isn't mobile responsive for example, and you talk about being innovative and using modern cleaning practices, they'll just think "What ever".
If they saw one of your Vans or Staff in uniform going around, which directed them to your website, which then pointed to a website form, they've actually been qualifying themselves through your marketing material. Obvioulsy, they consistently liked everything about your brand. This is actually called a Marketing Qualified Lead, to be specific.
So let's discuss how we can qualify these leads further through the 2 channels most cleaning businesses direct their leads to. Phone Number and/or Web Form.
So most WebForms will collect the leads First Name, & Email. Cleaning Businesses will often collect Last Name and Phone Number as well. Just so you can call them to arrange a quote, but generally that's it. However, we can use our web forms to collect further information in a very clever way.
Conditional Logic in Website Forms allows you to configure your form to show or hide fields, sections, pages or even the submit buttons based on user selections. This allows you to easily control what information your user is asked to provide. Form Plugins such as Gravity Forms pass data entered into one form and pre-populate it in another.
Ok Martin, why would you want to do this?
This means we can Qualify Leads further without them really realising it using a Quote Request Form or similar. I used a form similar to this (See Below, Right) in my cleaning business and it was a great way to qualify out the time wasters. Now this form wasn't sitting on every page of my website. Half the reason leads want to fill out a form is that they want to provide the minimum as quick as possible and move on. So the first form was just asking for First Name, Surname, Company and Email.
However, it's human nature to want to complete things that are incomplete. So what we did was submit the first form and then redirect them to another page asking them for a little bit more information with the data from the previous form already populated.
Populating the second form was a trick we learnt after measuring how many leads would fill out the 2nd form. Populating the fields, increased completion of the 2nd form by 45%. So all of a sudden, our completion rate increased to about 72%.
So now when someone made an enquiry, 72% of them submitted both forms, which gave us a huge amount of information to be able to qualify them with.
I had a nice little autoresponder replying back to those that were after a weekly service, politely turning down their enquiry. Because I wanted 5 day a week sites. Simply put, every client I took on that wasn't my Perfect Customer, pushed me further away from my business goals of getting more 5 day a week sites.
You'll notice the last 2 questions on the form are the real crackers. Those 2 alone, qualified out all the leads that just wouldn't buy in to what I was trying to sell, which was a highly valuable cleaning service. We were never the cheapest, so why would we waste our time quoting on sites, when the lead had very clearly said that the are price shopping.
I left the race to the bottom on price, for the cowboys and the newbies to the industry, that have nothing else to compete on.
This same process, is obvioulsy much easier on the phone, but make sure that your team who answer the phone, have a list of the qualification questions.
What kind of premises do you need cleaning? Domestic, Commercial, Medical etc
How many staff are onsite?
What frequency do you require the service?
Do they currently have a Cleaning Contractor?
What’s the reason for the change?
Are the willing to increase their current cleaning budget?
Would they like you to provide consumables (Toilet Paper etc)?
Is price more important than the service?
All these questions start giving you a pretty good idea on whether you want to do business with this person or company. Then you can politely turn down any Leads, that you are not interested in servicing.
Your kidding aren't you
Now my business was by no means a multimillion dollar behemoth. However, it was a very profitable one, and this was due to the fact that I acquired my Perfect Customers year on year and sacked those that weren't.
We continued to qualify the customer further even after these steps above by then sending those that had booked a site inspection a Pre-Inspection Survey. Amazingly, people are often happy to share some pretty interesting things in business surveys.
So what details continued to qualify out these leads in our Surveys?
- What their cleaning budget was,
- How long the current cleaners spend onsite,
- What there monthly consumables costs are,
- What are their payments terms,
- Do they have custom payment terms in certain cases.
Now there were plenty of leads that didn't jump through all my hoops. They still became our customers, it was just an easier pitch to those that did jump through them.
I simply knew more about those leads than any other when I first met them, which meant when I pitched my business to them, not only had they already qualified themselves through our marketing, but I had all the answers to close them not only when I met them, but our Proposals were perfectly matched to these type of leads.
Too often, we chase a buck and not a customer. When you're new to business, so you have to take what ever is on offer, but as your business becomes successful, identify the most profitable customers you have and double down.