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The important of qualifying leads

Over the past year, I worked in excess of 60 hours a week, between my consulting, working full-time and the development of my prototype, and the education/organization aspects of establishing, maintaining and nurturing a startup.

I had the opportunity to learn some very valuable lessons as part of this process. One of these concerns qualifying your leads.

As soon as you have something of value to sell, whether it is a product, a service, a capability or information, you get into conversations with people in your network who want to benefit from what you are peddling. I have noticed that the ones who are the most enthusiastic about your startup’s offering are usually the ones that you want to avoid. They want to essentially spend your R&D budget on solutions that may be of use to them, without investing anything material into the process.

On the other hand, the people who are skeptical, and appear worried about whether they should work with you are the ones who have something at stake. They have a budget that they want to spend, and are weighing whether they should spend it with you, or with some other alternative.

The important thing here is that they have a budget, and that makes them the sort of customer that you want to spend your effort on.

Keep these customers, and the other guys who want to have endless meetings, and let you run with the development and expenses, and be there for the upside without shouldering any of the load, well, it may be time to discuss consultancy fees for advisory services :-)

  1. August 10th, 2010 at 21:16 | #1

    In the world of innovation not all enthusiastic contributors are looking for a free ride on a developer’s shoulders. Not all skeptics are protecting their budget and analyzing the win win possibilities of the development.
    For examples like salesforce.com, for every dollar spent under the hood in a relatively forecastable technical process they have to throw three to four times that at a highly volatile whimsical human process.
    The “take it to market” path will be the serious lessons still to come for most commercial innovative initiatives.
    Enthusiasm better abound on the customer approach!
    My experience to date.
    Lee

  2. August 11th, 2010 at 09:22 | #2

    @leecarey thank you for the encouragement. You’re absolutely correct in your assessment that there are good people out there, and I feel quite fortunate to know many of them, who are sincere in wanting to work with you, and are willing to take the risks required to attain the shared goals.

    There are a few cases which stand out in my mind where my time was wasted, but I suppose that is all part and parcel of the sales process.

    I wrote this with the intention of hopefully informing others who are considering a start-up that it takes all sort of people to make up this world :-)

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