While it may seem counterintuitive to turn away potential business, the reality is that there are potential clients that are great fits and ones that are not-so-great. In this stage of the sales process, the prospect has still not committed to anything so it is important at this stage to determine if they are a prospect worth pursuing. The best way to do this lies in a single word: BANT.
B-Budget: Does your prospect have a budget? Having a clear budget allows you to gauge what services you can offer and the size of the retainer.
A-Authority: Does the person you are contacting have the autonomy to make decisions? It is important to know whether your point of contact actually has the ability to hire your agency in the future. It is hard to sell and expend effort with a potential client if they are not able to hire you.
N-Need: Does your prospect have a qualified need? This is a harder question than merely just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Think about their goals, plans to reach their goals, and the challenges that stand in the way of reaching the goals. These goals should be more specific than “increase traffic”. Increase traffic by how much? Plans should be more than “using inbound marketing”. Which specific tactics are you planning on using. The same goes for challenges: they should be specific challenges that the client has experienced or is planning to experience as they execute their marketing strategies.
T-Timing: Is your prospect ready to buy your services now? Spending time with a prospect that is just not ready to make any decisions right away will waste valuable time that could be spent with a prospect that is ready to buy now.
Once you are able to answer these questions about a prospect you should be able to tell which clients should be a priority. Spend more time with these prospects. If the prospects are low priority, you could spend less time with them, probe deeper to see if they should actually be a larger priority, or assign homework to test whether they are interested in your services.
Rather than cast a wide net of potential clients, spending time with prospects that are actually interested and able to use your services will ultimately help you close more sales in the end.