November 7, 2023

How Well Do You Vet Your Prospective Clients?

People still laugh when I tell them I was the keynote speaker at a Pooper Scooper convention. There is big business in poop. But even more than that, pets are a big business. In 2022, Americans spent almost $139 billion on their pets.

Pets are like children to some people. Food and healthcare are the most common expenses. Then there are other expenses like training, pet sitting, toys, clothing, and daycare.

Our dog, Layla, has been going to daycare for as long as we've had her. It's not like a kiddie kindergarten. It's more about expending energy reserves than learning ABCs.

Vetting Dogs

Unlike a dog park (which is a virtual doggie free-for-all), dog daycare centers have a stringent vetting process before your dog is accepted.

First, they are required to have the right vaccinations to prevent doggie flu, kennel cough, and more. Next, they have to pass a temperament test. They put your dog in the play area with one to two other dogs that have been singled out because they play well and understand the boundaries of play. If your dog passes, then they can join a large group and are monitored to make sure they are not too timid or aggressive.

In case you were wondering, Layla is so good that she has always been one of the dogs used for those temperament tests. She is experienced, patient, and can correct other dogs who get too excited.

It may seem like a lot to do, but I am glad they make sure my dog, and all the other dogs, are happy and safe.

In other words, dog daycares have to vet their potential customers before they can become customers.

Is that something you could or should do with your business?

Getting To Vetting

I have multiple clients who use WPForms which is a plug-in for their WordPress websites. It's one of many free and paid form add-ons available. I have tried many of them but now it's my go-to tool for myself and my clients' websites.

It's so much more than just a form creator. It's a data ecosystem that captures client info and more.

There are add-on modules (plug-ins) with the Pro version that capture geolocation and user journey data and much more. Adding those can help determine if a request or a download of an asset was a potential client or a wannabe vendor.

It is important to know who you are really communicating with before you spend precious time tracking them down and investing time.

Geolocation gives you a map of where the request was generated from. This is important because people will pose as a US-based company, yet the geolocation shows that they are overseas (Philippines, India, Russia, etc.).

The second tool called customer journey, shows you how a prospect or client got to your site in the first place (Google, LinkedIn, others) then what pages they visited and how they clicked through your website.

It also shows if and when they had multiple visits before they downloaded an asset or filled out your contact form.

I think it's a huge advantage to know that someone has visited multiple times, not just once. This shows a higher level of interest in your products or services. It also shows you trends about how and what people visit before filling out a form. That can give you insights as to what marketing activities are driving traffic to your site and insights into which products or services brought them to your website in the first place. That may be different than why they end up contacting you.

Finally, WPForms not only captures data, it shares or integrates with email programs to add new contacts to your email list, CRM, or ERP. Some of the integrations include Salesforce, Hubspot, or email programs like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and others.

Don't see your program (like ConstantContact) listed? You can always use a tool like Zapier to integrate with almost any email or CRM program.

Email Vetting

Adding people to your email list is a way of vetting if they are real people and possible prospects. If you email weekly (52 times or more per year) versus once a month (12 times per year), you can see if the email bounces or the contact unsubscribes.

It's a good idea to send them an email immediately after being added. We also added an automation sequence for an eBook download. It consists of short recap emails that are spaced out over a couple of weeks. This sequence of emails contains a mini-review of each chapter to remind them why they wanted the download in the first place.

Don't worry about adding people to your list. Your website terms of use should include that any forms filled out will add you to that email list. Then, if they don't like what you send, they can also unsubscribe at any time. Most legitimate contacts will stick around for a little while if not forever.

I also learned about a new tool called Kickbox which will let you scrub your email list to confirm valid email addresses. Doing that may also improve your overall email list deliverability. (You can get a free trial to test your last 100 contacts.)

Vetting… Without Sweating, Upsetting, or Forgetting with LinkedIn

The other activity that we recommend is to have your salespeople reach out and connect with any new contacts on LinkedIn. If you can find them, don't just follow them but make a quality connection request.

They can search for them on LinkedIn or on their company page or website (easier if you know their company) and make sure you send a note with any connection request.

Let them know, “Hey, I saw you downloaded (X) or filled out a contact form, and I just wanted to reach out to help if you have any questions.”

Not everyone will accept and that's okay. Be patient and keep in mind that not everyone may be as active on LinkedIn as you.

Another thing to realize is you have about a 1000% (totally made up number) better chance of a connection seeing your content from a personal profile than you do from a business page. Only people who follow your page will ever see anything posted from it.

Let's say you have a sales team of 10 people. That amplifies your content being seen by multiple people if all of them have different contacts and share content on a weekly or daily basis. 10 posts x 10 people x 10 contacts = 1000 (so that 1000% number is not as made up as you think).

Closing Thought

In this dog-eat-dog world (hopefully figuratively, not literally) it makes sense to invest time in people who have invested time in you and your website.

Vetting people who could or would buy from you is much better than chasing people who probably were just trying to sell you something or even hack your data.

“Get in the habit of vetting your research as you go – particularly research conducted online. Verify facts from multiple reputable sources before you record them.” – Gayle Lynds

Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about business-to-business sales and marketing today! Do you have a sales or marketing communications strategy that is working for you? What tips or techniques can you share that work for you and your business?

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.

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