I use the word “lead” carefully, because every lead is actually a person with desires and hopes and dreams and fears. And it’s worth humanizing them.
But, a “lead” is also a prospect for business. When I ran my consulting company, I was always happy to take coffee because you never knew what could turn up. However, I enjoyed this medium post about how Seamus qualifies leads for his consulting business by asking two simple questions. I also like that he’s explicit about projects that aren’t a fit. It’s hard and scary to niche and yet so worthwhile.
From the post:
I can’t control how I’m introduced to people or how OTL Ventures has been described. So I have found it helpful to be upfront about what OTL Ventures does. This also gives the person who wants to meet with me an opportunity to self-select out of the meeting if they aren’t a good fit. I’ve been doing this by including my answer to the same two questions in my response. It only seems fair.
When you think about it, having this kind of prep conversation is good for both sides. It makes everyone think about what kind of value they bring and can get from a meeting.