A new business director at an agency asked me this week if we had any posts on qualifying prospects.
And while we touch on the subject often, short answer was, interestingly, no.
It is a particularly important agency new business question, and one you should define within your own firm.
You might be surprised to hear that a good majority of agencies we talk to, when pressed, aren’t all on the same page with their definition, and taking it a step further, actually miss opportunities because they don’t think about the definition in the long term.
Agencies often tend to discount a meeting unless there’s a “work-in-hand” opportunity-that’s a mistake.
A few guidelines in regards to qualified meetings:
1) Your definition of a qualified meeting needs to first start with the prospect-is that prospect the right fit, initially, for your agency, at least on paper?
Do you have that ideal client defined prior to prospecting?
You need to and that starts with any lists you’re building-nail that down that criteria.
2) Next, you have to embrace the fact that agency new business is a process and can and often will take more than one meeting to close business.
What you don’t want are useless meetings, of course, but defining a qualified meeting too tightly as “work in hand” only will lead to frustration and ultimately hamstring your new business person/team.
Walking away without the work is not a first- meeting defeat.
Walking away from a first meeting with no action step after a mediocre conversation is.
So-create a set of criteria for first meetings and employ those with every initial prospecting conversation.
You of course will need a good salesperson (could be you) who can subtly work those into an initial conversation, coupled with the right parameters guiding which prospects you’re reaching out to in the first place.
And remember that prospects have to hear how you might help them, both in how you describe your firm and in the questions you ask.
Take the time this week to ask yourself or your team how they define a qualified prospect meeting-are you aligned?