As a professional in the service industry, I have developed a protocol for interacting with potential clients that has proven to be effective in saving time and ensuring a successful working relationship. One aspect of this protocol that I highly recommend is pre-qualifying clients before engaging in any negotiations.
When a prospective client contacts me, I ask them to visit my website and fill out a contact form. This initial step serves as a filter to weed out individuals who are not serious about obtaining my services. In my experience, approximately one-third of people will not even take this simple step, which is an indicator that they are not likely to be committed to the process.
Once a potential client has submitted the contact form, I take the time to review the information provided, including the location of the job site, the scope of the work they are requesting, and any photos or descriptions available on Zillow. Based on this information, I can usually provide a "ballpark" estimate of the cost of the project and an approximate timeframe for completing the work.
If my initial estimate aligns with the potential client's expectations, we can then move forward with scheduling a physical meeting at the job site. This meeting serves as an opportunity for both parties to verify the information discussed previously and to ensure that we are a good fit for each other.
While some clients may try to negotiate on price during this process, I have found that it is best to stand firm on my original estimate. Negotiating on price can lead to a difficult working relationship and often results in a dissatisfied client who expects additional concessions. By being upfront about the cost of the project from the beginning, I can set realistic expectations for the client and reduce the likelihood of any misunderstandings or conflicts.
I believe that pre-qualifying clients is a crucial step in any service industry professional's protocol. By taking the time to review potential clients' information and providing a realistic estimate upfront, you can save time, avoid difficult negotiations, and ensure a successful working relationship.
This column was written by Ian Cheadle with the assistance of ChatGPT.