Get two email scripts for responding to a new project inquiry that didn't answer your questions or failed to provide useful details about their project.
What’s the comeback for when a prospective client reaches out about a new project but doesn’t provide the information I need or circumvents my project inquiry form altogether.
It can be tough to get the information you need to vet a new lead.
If you have a website contact form and a separate project inquiry form or quote request form, and you’ve made it blatantly obvious what path to take, it can be maddening to have someone purposely use your contact form to ask for a quote or request information about their project — especially because you know they’re doing it to avoid filling out a longer form and providing more information.
And just because you have a project inquiry form, it doesn’t mean the answers to your form questions will be good, clear, or helpful! Some people provide answers like “you tell me” or “I don’t know,” and when answering a question about the project goal, some will answer with one just word: Money.
This behavior sends the following signals:
- “I don’t want to or believe I shouldn’t have to follow the rules,” which translates to, “I also won’t work well within your project systems and processes.”
- “I’m not serious about this project,” which translates to, “I’m going to ask a lot of questions and never hire you.”
- “I’m lazy, I don’t pay attention, and I can’t follow instructions,” which translates to, “I’m going to be a challenge to work with and I’ll require a lot of extra management and handholding.”
- “I only care about cost,” which translates to, “I don’t value your experience or expertise.”
Yes, these are assumptions and generalizations but they’ve proven to be true in my business more often than not.
It’s why most general inquiries that circumvent my project inquiry form get deleted. A partnership is a two-way street — as much as leads are interviewing, assessing, and evaluating me, I am also interviewing, assessing, and evaluating inbound leads.
When an inbound lead doesn’t provide enough information, you must decide whether to follow up and request more information — and if you do, how strong of a request you want to make.
Here are two scripts you can use to do that:
If you’re interested in and want the project…
Thank you so much for reaching out about partnering with [COMPANY] on your [PROJECT]. The project sounds really interesting and I’d love to learn a little bit more.
Do you mind sharing a few additional details so I can better prepare for a conversation? Here’s what I’d love to know:
- [DETAIL NEEDED]
- [DETAIL NEEDED]
- [DETAIL NEEDED]
Thank you so much in advance! This information will help me better help you and make sure I provide the most useful recommendations possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
If you’re not invested either way…
Thank you so much for reaching out about partnering with [COMAPNY] on your [PROJECT] and filling out our project inquiry form. Unfortunately, the details shared were a bit vague and I don’t have enough information to schedule a consultation or provide an estimate or next steps.
Can you answer a few questions for me so we can move forward?
Thanks in advance!
Following Up With New Leads
Above I shared that there are occasions when I delete a project inquiry.
I have no qualms about removing follow-up from my to-do list for project leads that are completely half-baked, have zero effort applied, or are incomplete. I also don’t feel bad about ignoring inquiries that provide no information but ask questions like, “How much does a website cost?” because I know they’re never going to be a client.
Outside these extreme scenarios, I respond to lacking inquiries using one of the above lead follow-up scripts. And of course, I always respond to direct referrals personally out of respect for the person who believed in me enough to make the referral.
If a lead responds to your request for additional information and provides what you need, what happens next is up to you. If the lead is a fit, you’ll book a consult and move forward with the discovery and proposal process. If a lead is not a fit, you’ll make a referral to another provide or provide some helpful recommendations to help them continue on their journey.
Either way, you can rest easy knowing you followed up, remained professional, and provided a great experience.