Safe And Sound

Pre-Screen New Clients

Spending some time on the phone with potential clients will help you screen out problems before they come knocking on your door.

"Don't agree to meet with anyone until you talk to the person and make sure that what he or she is saying is feasible and makes sense," says Green. "Be wary if the person isn't speaking the vernacular of your business and doesn't seem to know what you do."

Before giving out your address to a prospective client, Green suggests asking for his or her phone number and calling the person back. If something shady is going on, the caller may balk at giving you a number or may give you a phony one. Also, ask for an address; then call information and ask for the caller's number, giving the address the caller cited--the operator will state whether or not the number is listed and if the address is correct.

When someone will be visiting you on behalf of another company, get the person's supervisor's name and call to verify that he or she has the company's credentials. Always have visitors commit to a specific appointment time, and, if feasible, let a spouse, friend, family member or colleague know in advance when the scheduled visit will be.

If the call is a referral, refrain from giving out your home address until you talk to the person who did the referring, advises Melissa Wilson, owner of Home Business Network, a consulting business in Greenwood Village, Colorado. She helps people develop their home businesses and is an independent distributor with Quorum International Ltd., a network marketing company, headquartered in Phoenix, that develops and manufactures a diverse mix of new technological products, such as personal security devices, vehicle security maintenance products and air treatment systems. "It's good business to thank the person who made the referral anyway," she says.

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This article was originally published in the October 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Safe And Sound.

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