Identifying a turkey in ad agency new business

From time to time we all have them. A prospect that is a time-waster. Someone not really qualified to do business with your firm. Nowadays, with the advent of  social media, agencies and other professional service firms can fall into this trap more than they used to. So, what’s a billable soul to do?

Ask some opened-ended questions
Here are some for you to consider when you get the sense a prospect might not be a good fit. They are not listed in order and are by no means complete:

  • How have you tried to solve this problem in the past?
  • What have you done to identify potential outside firms to help you?
  • Who else have you been speaking with? What are you hearing from them?
  • How does what we’re talking about fit into the bigger strategic picture for your company?
  • What kinds of financial resources have you identified to address the challenge?
  • How did you come to find us?

Listen to the answers
Not only the “what,” but also how the answers are delivered. That’s right, ye olde content and context. Both will speak volumes. If your prospect is giving you what you might consider bad answers, poorly delivered, sharpen those knives…

Think a bit, too
Here are some other questions to ask yourself:

How big is this company? How long have they been in business? If you can’t find them on the inter webs, or don’t like their site because it doesn’t look professionally done…pass the gravy.

And of course, consider all the other criteria you use to qualify a prospect. How does this prospect relate to your typical client? Think about it in terms of size, feel, challenges, scope, etc. How does taking on this client fit into your own strategic big picture.

Should you find yourself about to tuck into a heaping plate of bird with all the fixings, push yourself away from the table. Put down that drumstick! Consider referring the opportunity to another agency. After all, everyone’s gotta eat.

Here’s to enjoying Thanksgiving just once a year! Your turkey stories more than welcome.