You might decide to put a qualification form on your website at some point.
Especially once your business is more established.
But sometimes, my coaching clients who use this method to qualify prospects report that they’re getting “half-baked” responses.
By “half-baked” I mean that some of the questions are left unanswered. Many have only one-word or one-sentence responses. No additional details are given.
So what are you supposed to do with that?
What Is a Qualification Form?
Before we get into that, let me just review what a qualification form is — and why you might want to have one.
A qualification form is basically a form you ask potential clients to fill out in advance of progressing to a phone conversation.
They’re most commonly deployed on the contact page of websites.
The form doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it should contain a few important questions.
Some of the most common questions are:
- Name, title, and contact info of person inquiring
- Brief description of project
- Project budget
As I noted above, the most obvious purpose of the form is to gather basic information about the project that you can review in preparation for further conversation.
But often, these forms have an unstated purpose as well: to discourage tire kickers. Some people simply want a quick pricing quote to see if you’re cheaper than the next guy. These forms can help to discourage these kinds of inquiries, saving yourself wasted time.
These forms can also help you identify prospects who aren’t a good fit for your services. And it’s much more efficient to figure this out at this early stage than to continue with a phone call only to discover the relationship won’t work for either of you.
You can also use qualification forms to subtly communicate your pricing point.
For example, say the smallest project you’ll take is $2,000. If one of the questions on your form is, “What is your budget?” you can use a dropdown menu that starts at the $2,000 level.
When You Have an Expensive Problem
Before I get back to the question of how to deal with “half-baked” responses to your qualification form, give this exercise a try:
Think of an “expensive problem” in your business or personal life.
By “expensive problem” I mean a problem you really care about.
Something that has a high financial cost associated with it. Or big implications of some kind.
It could be a problem you’re currently experiencing, one you’ve had in the past, or one you see coming in the future.
For instance, maybe you need to buy a new home. Or you want to hire a fitness trainer. Or you have a big medical issue that needs attention.
If an expert in these fields — someone you thought could possibly help you — presented you with a qualification form, how would you respond?
Would you fill out the form half-heartedly? Would you give one-word answers and leave half the questions untouched?
Or would you think through your answers and respond in detail?
For example, if you were in real pain and needed a dental procedure, would you simply write, “My tooth hurts”?
Or would you write, “I’m having sharp pain in my top, back right molar when eating and when pressure is applied. It’s sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and I have swelling in surrounding tissues.”
My guess is that you would write the latter.
Because when you’re serious about working with someone on a problem that’s important to you, impactful (and potentially expensive), you WANT to provide that person with as much information as possible!
Let Your Qualification Form Do What It’s Supposed To
So when someone fills out your form half-heartedly, it’s a major red flag.
And the odds are pretty high that they won’t be a good client for you.
I’ve seen this in my own coaching business.
On a few occasions, I’ve admitted people into my coaching programs due to extenuating circumstances — even though their responses on my application form were greatly underwhelming.
In every case, it turned out to be a bad decision.
So let your qualification form do the job it’s supposed to do. Trust the process.
When someone submits a “half-baked” response, your qualification form is trying to tell you something.
It’s trying to tell you that this person probably won’t be a good client for you.
They might be a great person. They may be a good prospect at some time in the future.
But you can assume that they’re not a great prospect for you today.
And you should move on to the next one.