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7 Steps to Eliminate Unqualified Agency Sales Prospects

Posted by Mark Duval on Nov 25, 2015 10:09:21 AM
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If you work in agency new business, you’ve had your fair share of interactions with agency sales prospects, and you probably know they can be divided into two camps: the right ones and the wrong ones. Ideally, you want to cut the wrong ones off at the pass, because chasing down unqualified leads for follow-up conversations is a waste of everyone’s time. The following steps will help you identify and eliminate unqualified agency sales prospects before they start clogging up your pipeline:

  1. Determine the Decision Maker

    When speaking with a prospect, the first thing you want to do is determine whether they’re the decision maker in the organization. Ask about their decision making process, and who will ultimately make the decision. If you’re taking the time to talk to someone, you’ll want to make sure they actually have decision-making authority. Otherwise, you’ll waste precious time pitching and following up with them when you could have spent that time speaking to the right person instead.

  2. Ask the Right Questions

    Asking the right questions by developing an effective questioning strategy is crucial when speaking with a prospect. Further, having a sales process in place is actually the key to not chasing prospects. Asking the right questions throughout your conversation with a prospect sets you on an equal playing field and will allow you to save time and energy in the future if you are able to disqualify or qualify them as a viable lead. By asking them the right questions, you can extract their needs and pain points to better match your services to those needs. Some of the questions you should focus on asking are:
  • Are you currently working with an agency? If so, why are you looking to change? What can our agency do for you that your current agency can’t?
  • Why our agency? Why now?

  1. Talk Financials

    Are you going after a lucrative lead? Find out soon! Imagine spending time and energy going after a prospect only to realize later that they can’t afford your services. Oops. Verify that the prospect has money, and make sure you have a sales process that addresses budget early on in the conversation.

  2. Disqualify

    I’m a big proponent of the idea that it’s just as important to disqualify a lead as it is to qualify them. That’s why “No” is actually the 2nd best word in sales! You have to remember that not everyone is client material, and having a healthy pipeline is key to a successful new business program.

  3. No Free Consulting

    In an effort to close a sale, it can be tempting to give away everything upfront. Don’t give away your ideas or pricing – you’re not a free consultant! Make sure you stick to your sales process and questioning strategy. Lead the conversation. Be overly prepared, but hold onto more information than you give away. 

  4. Clearly Determine Next Steps

    Make sure you don’t leave anything up in the air at the end of a conversation.. You want to rest assured that you’re both on the same page about next steps. Get a commitment about the agreed-upon next steps before you hang up. Ask the question, “if I don’t hear from you on the agreed date, what should I do?

  5. No Strings Attached

    Finally, make sure you employ a healthy detachment. If this one doesn’t work out, there’s always the next. Don’t become so overly invested at the outset that you lose clarity about whether the prospect is even qualified in the first place.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to focus your time and energy on pursuing the right prospects that might actually lead to more closed new business.

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Topics: Biz Development Prospects & Lead Generation, Biz Development Processes & Tips

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