It starts with a project inquiry form

In last week’s newsletter I talked about how my sales process has really been clicking lately, and asked if anyone was interested in a breakdown. I got quite a few responses, so here we go.

For me, it all starts with a Project Inquiry form.

Although my first point of contact may be an email, a DM on Twitter, a ping on Messenger, or (God forbid) a phone call — I try to keep those interactions as short as possible and get people to my inquiry form right away.

The inquiry form sets a standard baseline for how all my projects start and kicks off some automation work — so, for me, the inquiry form is non-negotiable.

Besides, if someone can’t be bothered to fill out a quick form — imagine what it’s going to be like trying to get content from them 🙄

I’ve toyed with my inquiry form a dozen times over the years, but I’ve been running this current one consistently since sometime in 2021 (I only know that because the form’s name is “intake 2021” in the back-end of my site 😅).

It’s simple, but I’ve created some conditional logic in the form so I can get more information when I need it, but keep the questions to a minimum.

You can see a visual flow of how the form is structured here.

You might be wondering “what about asking them their budget?” — and that, along with a lot of other questions I’ve tried, I’ve found clients are really bad at answering.

Either they honestly don’t know, or they pretend its something its not to play some kind of little negotiation game that just ends up wasting time. Besides, I’ve had people with no budget end up spending $10K+ and people with a healthy budget waste my time being cheapskates.

I’ve put my minimum price, as well as my average project price on my website and I’m just assuming if they are really interested in hiring me that they’ve seen it.

Most of these questions are pretty basic and don’t require any explanation, but there are a couple that I skip to read immediately — they tend to tell me most of what I need to know…

In all fairness, I’m sure that I’ve picked all these questions up from other places, but I don’t remember where so I’m not sure who to credit.

  • “Why is now the right time to get started” – This question produces some great answers about their urgency and seriousness. People will knowingly go years with a busted website… So having an idea of what’s motivating them now makes for some great insight. This question also produces a lot of indication as to what’s important to them.
  • “Is there any reason you reached out to me/us specifically?” – This one is my favorite question of all time. If they don’t have a good reason to reach out to me (specifically), then there’s a good chance they’re price shopping or likely to base their decision on dollars. Here is where prospects will tell you how they found you, and their answers can give you a pretty good indication on how warm they are. If they don’t have any specific reason on why they chose my form to fill in (over the thousands of other web agencies), then I’ve found the chance of he inquiry turning into a project drops dramatically.

Next week we’ll dive further into how I process these leads to make determinations on who to move forward with, what I do with the leads that aren’t a great fit, and the automations I run off of this form.

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