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The Fifth Commandment of Agency Ownership

Thou Shalt Audition Prospects Instead of Impressing Them

Clients need to qualify for the privilege of working with your agency. That may seem like such a foreign concept. But it’s crucial to your agency’s growth.

There’s this mentality among agency owners that any prospect is a good prospect.

But the idea is to audition the client, rather than trying to impress them. However, most agency owners try to showcase the awards they’ve won when they speak to a prospect.

Unfortunately, that leads to you getting clients that aren’t good fits for what you do.

The Symptoms

The big symptom of this issue is who takes control of your qualification calls.

If you’re trying to impress clients, you place the control of the call in their hands. Say you have an hour scheduled to speak to the client. If you’re trying to impress them, the client ends up asking tons of questions for the next 45 minutes.

They control the call and you’re just responding to them in an effort to impress. There’s no uniformity to the process. Plus, you leave yourself with no time to actually qualify the client.

This bleeds into the second symptom. The lack of control in your qualification calls means you don’t get all of the information you need from the client. This leads to you sending out forms or calling them again.

That makes the whole process more difficult for the client.

The Root Cause

The big cause of this issue is that most agency owners started their careers at agencies that tried to impress clients. These agencies talked about their awards and what they’d achieved.

Thus, the agency owner thinks that’s just the way they’re supposed to work with prospects.

The problem here is that you’re only as good as your last award. If the agency hasn’t won anything in a while, you can’t impress the prospect.

Another cause of this issue is that your business development people may be too focused on getting the sale. That means they’re trying to be as slick as they can be when dealing with prospects.

Instead of qualifying them, they’re trying to distract them with the shiny balls. When the prospect asks a tough question, they try to divert their attention elsewhere.

Why You Should Fix the Issue

Why is this one of my commandments?

I have a client whose account manager had this constant need to impress prospects. He’s now teaching his people how to use appropriate questions to take control of conversations.

Such questions include:

  • Why is this a “now” conversation?
  • Why us instead of some other agency?

Thus, they can audition prospects instead of trying to impress them.

The result here is that my client now gets a detailed collection of answers that show where the prospect’s at right now.

From there, they can choose whether to go ahead with turning that prospect into a client.

Dev “Prospect Auditioning Master” Basu