Who Here Heavily Screens Calls / Leads Before Bidding?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JimLewis, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Just curious if there's anyone here who heavily screens their calls / leads before they ever go out to bid a job.

    I know a guy who owns a really large landscaping company in another state (e.g. $5Mil a year revenue) who really heavily screens any call or lead that comes through. They don't set any appointments at the time of calling. Each call goes through a 5 minutes questionaire over the phone and then the owner reviews the list of questionaires at the end of the day and tells the office manager which ones to follow up on and set an appt. with and which to ignore and not call back. His criteria is pretty high. But he says this has lead to him landing 95% of the jobs he goes and bids.

    Just wondering if anyone here has a fairly rigid screening process and if so, what kind of results do you get with that?
  2. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    I screen pretty hard. I have to, because I make my living doing landscape design, and I get a good number of calls from people who clearly have no idea what a designer is or does, and they're expecting me to meet them on site, give them a drawing, give them an estimate, and while I'm there would I mind cleaning the gutters over the garage? So we talk about what it is they want to do, I walk them through the process step by step - including cost and fees - and then we discuss whether or not we're a good fit. Occasionally I'll still get through a 45 minute sales call at the house and a particularly thick individual will say "wait- I have to PAY for a plan?" But heavy phone screening has really cut down the BS appointments, and I no longer have to spend twenty minutes at their house explaining what a designer is and why there's value to what I do. If someone doesn't value a designer's level of service before I walk in the door, I'm not selling them into it that day.

    Where I used to work in AZ we would ask budget over the phone because we had certain minimums, but most people seem to find that pretty forward and aggressive. There are better ways to get at that than saying "are you planning to spend more than $X?"
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Well I think we all screen calls to some degree. I make a habit of returning every call/email I get. I tend to make certain implications that if they are not willing to seriously consider my company than we are not interested. I like to get the idea across that we are not interested in price matching or price shoppers. I used to land about 40-60% or higher without a fuss. This year I have turned away at least 50 people on the phone, been on about 120 estimates, and contracted on about 15% of that. Of that 15%, probably 95% was referral. I also have had about 100K worth of contracts back out within hours of closing which has never happened before either. I also have been toying with the idea of a pre-meeting survey for a few years now. I think in these times prescreening is more important than ever before. We have a very large number of people out there basing decisions soley on low price. If you went on every call you received you would not have anytime left to actually run a company.

    I will say however, that some of my initially cheap clients have turned out to be some of the highest spenders after a relationship was established.

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