Some internet leads might sound familiar if you are a technology consultant or MSP. Others may hit a little too close to home.
Here’s how it always starts:
You’re checking your email inbox when you notice a lead from your website.
Before you get too excited, let me break some bad news.
Most leads on the web suck.
I can’t say “ALL” website leads suck —just those that fit the profiles shown below.
That doesn’t mean good web leads won’t find you and become customers.
I’ve found many of my best customers on the web.
My experience is you have to kiss a disproportionate number of toads before finding the lead that turns into a good customer.
Here are the eight most common time-wasting leads I’ve encountered in the past six months.
SERIAL DATER SEEKS FREE MEALS
The serial “dater” – has many ex-partners. And they bad mouth every partner to anyone willing to listen.
The partner names change, but one constant is the company.
Do you love “dates” where the main topic of conversation is the ex-partner?
Then you’re going to love this type of lead.
Maybe it’s not the partner that was so bad.
90% of ERP VARS think they “can change” the company.
Most are wrong. Those that try soon become the latest “ex.”
THE TALKER & DO IT YOURSELFER
Recognize this type of lead? They love meetings. Love to call or email with questions.
They never pay you a dime. Sound familiar?
Do you know why they don’t pay?
First, it’s because you keep replying ( STOP ).
Second, they are getting the needed information from your free consultations.
Third, they are do-it-yourselfers and don’t have a budget (or desire) to pay anyone.
- Hasn’t had a paid reseller in the past five years
- Have been supporting themselves
- Have numerous questions but no goals or deadlines for implementation
GAME SHOW WITH NO SHORTAGE OF CONTESTANTS
The “I’ve Got A Secret” game. AKA, the company knows they have a problem but doesn’t want to disclose it to you for fear of your higher price.
Hidden landmines are everywhere with this customer. It’s up to you to find them before you give a price for their project.
The most common response to your questions – is “I don’t know.”
Will steadfastly refuse to pay for any initial consulting to uncover possible issues.
They follow up all questions with “doesn’t everyone do it this way” and “we can’t be the only ones.”
I DON’T NEED (TO PAY) A CONSULTANT OR SOFTWARE SUBSCRIPTION
Let me talk to you for an hour about why I don’t need a consultant or pay for software maintenance/subscription.
Then follow up with a request for some recommendations.
My sister does this with landscapers by asking for a “quote” and then taking the detailed quote and buying the fertilizer herself.
Insert the image of Lucy pulling a football from Charlie Brown. Lucy is the prospect, and Charlie Brown is the VAR. VARS falls for this type of lead regularly.
RESCUE 911 – LOST IN THE WILDERNESS (UNPREPARED)
This type of lead starts with,
“I’m in IT (and I underestimated how complex a project I already quoted will be) – can you give me a fixed quote so I can mark it up and present it to my customer?”
And if you could start today and bill me when it’s finished, that would be awesome. Once I get paid by my customer ( which might never be), I’ll take 60 days to pay you, maybe the already reduced fee you regrettably charged me.
That price includes callbacks and “quick changes” to the original poorly scoped problem, right?
(Spoiler: This is how these types of subcontractor inquiries seem to roll)
IT’S NOT CHEATING IF WE ONLY SEE EACH OTHER OCCASIONALLY
My ERP partner is a great person – can I subcontract you for the occasional question?
Usually followed up with “what would it be hourly,”
And when you try to bill, they’ll ask, “why are you billing me for a quick question?”
Spoiler: Most never leave their partner ( or pay you ).
QUICK QUESTION FREE ( AND EVERY QUESTION IS QUICK )
I need to pay you for one thing ( report, query, upgrade, etc.).
Then I will only review it after six months.
When I call back, I’ll criticize you for not doing a good job.
Then I’ll ask for three more “quick changes” that I’ll guild you into doing for free.
Go ahead and laugh — because, you know, this happens pretty regularly. This type of company is a cousin of I DON’T NEED (TO PAY) A CONSULTANT OR SOFTWARE SUBSCRIPTION.
Another way to recognize this type of lead is they use “we are only a very small company” more than once during your initial call. Run Forrest Run.
I USED TO BE A VAR
This one is always followed up with some variation of “so, can you help me for free.”
And, start the violin playing in the background because next up with be sad tales of woe about:
- How they have only one or two customers they currently support ( and would be grateful if you’d help then do so for free)
- How expensive it is to maintain a partnership with any of the publishers ( but expect you to maintain one so you can help them for free)
- How much has changed since they were a var (but they’d love for you to help them solve this one issue they are having ).
These types of leads are like stray cats. Feed them once, and they’ll be on your doorstep forever.