Recently I reached out to a company through their calendar link to inquire about their bookkeeping services. While booking the appointment, they asked me several questions about my income. The income ranges were broad. I do not know much about this company, so I am eager to find out if they are someone with whom I can trust my financial information. After the booking was completed, I was encouraged to watch a video to “prepare” for our meeting. The presenter mentioned that they only accepted income levels beginning at a specified amount and used the phrase “good fit” in the video so many times I didn’t even complete watching it.
I’ve been a thriving woman-owned home-based business for over 20 years. I’ve worked with several Fortune 50 companies, which did not happen due to incompetency or lack of business acumen. After 20 years, I’m more selective in my work. I’m a new grandparent!
I earned my income for the first quarter of this year intentionally. The questionnaire did not involve any inquiries about the number of transactions I conduct, which I presume is significantly lower than most other businesses. I don’t have payroll, which is a time-consuming part of bookkeeping. Neither did they ask about the length of time my business has been operating. I would have been an easy client for this firm. I can afford their rate.
I work with several accountants as I help with forensic accounting research. I could be a strong referral base for them by letting them know about my accountant clients who refer business owners who need bookkeeping.
After hearing “good fit” one too many times, I canceled my appointment. The person who had scheduled my appointment contacted me via email. She said she reviewed my website and questionnaire answers and believed her company could assist with my bookkeeping requirements. She requested additional information from me to determine whether we would be a good fit. Oh, that phrase again. We’ve already spent the same amount of time in this exchange that we could have spent conversing in a Zoom call.
Research shows good reasons for qualifying the best-suited type of client for our businesses. However, reading through the results, you will find many ways that experts suggest you determine fit, and most of those require more conversation than this company asked of me before warning me we might not be a good fit.
Reasons for Not Pre-Screening Potential Clients
There is nothing wrong with getting to know a potential client to understand if they will fit into your ideal client avatar.
There are several advantages to not screening potential clients before you get to know them:
Increased client base:
By not pre-screening potential clients, you open yourself up to a larger pool of potential customers.
A larger pool of potential customers can lead to more business and greater profits.
More diverse clients:
When you pre-screen clients, you may unintentionally exclude certain groups of people. By not screening, you can attract a more diverse range of clients, bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to your business.
When you don’t pre-screen potential clients, you show that you trust people to do the right thing. This can increase their trust in you and your business, leading to more positive relationships.
Reduced administrative burden:
Screening potential clients can be time-consuming and expensive. By not screening, you can reduce the administrative burden on your business and focus on other areas that require attention.
More growth opportunities:
By not screening, you may attract clients looking for something unique or different. This can lead to new opportunities for the growth and expansion of your business.
Alternative Methods for Pre-Screening Potential Clients
I agree that prescreening potential clients is a necessary process to ensure that you are working with individuals or organizations that align with your business goals and values.
Here are some unique methods for prescreening potential clients:
Create an online quiz that asks questions related to your business goals and values. This can help you assess whether potential clients share similar beliefs and interests.
Offer a free initial consultation to potential clients to discuss their needs and goals. This can help you determine if they are a good fit for your business. Personally, I would not make it as apparent as it was in my experience.
Develop a referral program that requires current clients to refer new clients. This can help you attract clients who have already been prescreened by someone who knows your business well.
Social media screening:
Check out potential clients’ social media profiles to understand their interests, values, and behavior. This can provide valuable insights into whether they are a good fit for your business.
Consider collaborating on a project or working on a smaller scale with potential clients to test out whether your working styles and values align.
Thoughtful Ways Of Prescreening Potential Clients
To sum up, prescreening potential clients can help you avoid working with individuals or organizations that may not align with your business goals and values. It’s essential to approach this process with kindness and respect for potential clients.
Here are some thoughtful ways of prescreening potential clients:
Ask open-ended questions:
Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that allow potential clients to express themselves fully. This can help you understand their needs and goals better.
Offer helpful resources:
Provide potential clients with helpful resources and information related to your business. This can demonstrate your expertise and build trust with them. In all honesty, the firm did offer me a link to an audio course.
Communicate your business goals and values to potential clients. This can help them determine if your business is a good fit for their needs and goals. This firm should have offered me information about the ability to keep my information secure, their knowledge about bookkeeping, or why they were asking me the questions.
Use positive language:
Use positive language when communicating with potential clients. This can help build a positive relationship with them, even if they may not be a “good fit” for your business.
If potential clients are not a good fit for your business, offer referrals to other companies or organizations that may better meet their needs. This can show that you care about their success, even if it’s not with your business.
Remember, businesses prescreening potential clients should do so with kindness and respect. These approaches can help you build positive relationships with potential clients, even if they may not ultimately become clients of your business.