Here’s another interview we did about pre-qualifying your customers with – is the industry leading website that connects businesses with professional voice talents. Radio and television stations, advertising agencies and Fortune 500 companies rely upon the marketplace to search for, audition and hire voice talents with the assistance of our innovative SurePay™ escrow service and our award-winning Web application. has a global network of over 25,000 voice actors in over 100 languages and currently serves more than 107,220 users online. Over 69,662 MP3 voice-over demos are listened to by 1,159,901 unique visitors, creating 6911 job opportunities on average, each and every month.

Here’s our interview with David Ciccarelli:

How do you pre-qualify your customer?

At, we qualify our customers by carefully directing their usage of the web service and monitoring actions taken which identify them as promising prospects. White papers and special downloads are available free in exchange of contact information granting us permission to follow-up with prospects in the future.  In effect, we qualify prospects first by appropriately matching their needs with free information.  Once the prospects information is saved in Sales-force, our customer relationship management system, we score the “Lead” based upon completeness of data, record age and if comments are left in a comments box. A simple rating system of Hot, Warm and Cold allows us to work quickly and efficiently.

What is the one and most important thing to ask while getting to know the customer (pre-qualify) and to see if they are a fit for your business?

In our line of work, we have to turn projects around quickly.  Our clients are often deadline driven, so asking what is their deadline or if there’s no pending project, when is their next project.  This allows us to prioritize our follow-up process.

Do you require a percentage down before you work with them? (Depending on what type of business you are)

Business users can sign up free and be able to search our global network of voice talent, view profiles, request quotes then receive and manage responses online.  Only one they have found the best candidate for their job do we require payment.  In fact, payment is made and reserved in a neutral bank account, commonly known as an escrow service, which protects the buyer in the unlikely event of dispute or if a project cannot be completed to their satisfaction. 99.9% of the time, projects are completed on time according the agreed upon price.

What advice would you offer a business on how to pre-qualify their customers?

Develop a script for your telephone sales representatives.  Even if the script is used loosely, which it should be, you’ll be sure the entire company is on message and asking the appropriate questions.

Invest in a CRM package that will allow you to capture leads, distribute leads to sales people and provide reporting tools so you can gain visibility into the sales pipeline.

Requiring payment up front improves cash flow and means that people that do business with you are serious. 

Have you ever had a customer that was difficult or caused problems for your business? If yes, tell us what happened and how you handled it.

While we strive to meet the needs of all our customers, there are occasions when a customer’s expectations were simply outside the realm of what we offer.  We often find that clearly communicating what our service is and isn’t – is the best way to minimize customer support inquiries.

If the customer resorts to name calling, I will open the email with something like “If your intention was to hurt my staff, then you succeeded.”  Pointing out the fact that they succeeded in upsetting us often causes them to realize that they are being unnecessarily hurtful.

We like to call bad/unruly customers – CustoMonsters. What would be your definition of a CustoMonster?

A CustoMonster is a person who makes demands which escalate into threats when we haven’t even had the opportunity to attempt to resolve an issue.  CustoMonsters often see the world only from their perspective and forget that there are people on the receiving end of a phone call or email.  In short, good judgment goes out the window.

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