What comes to mind when you visualize the prospecting process? You might see a funnel with prospects going into the wide end and new accounts emerging one by one from the small end. That’s the typical picture, but maybe there’s something missing.
If you’re prospecting regularly you probably know how important it is to keep replenishing the prospects so the funnel stays full. You probably also know the ratio of prospects to closed sales you need to make the process work.
But what if those seeming prospects turn out to be wild goose chases instead of legit sales opportunities? What if it turns out those prospective clients are just tire kickers who’re never going to change agents but only want to have a quote from you to keep their incumbent agent “honest”?
These kinds of situations happen all too often, and if you don’t anticipate the possibility and act accordingly, they can be major distractions and time-wasters.
That’s why you need to add a screen to the prospecting funnel to filter out targets that don’t actually qualify as legitimate prospects.
There are a multitude of reasons businesses just aren’t willing to change agents even though you’re able to cut their costs and add value.
Quite possibly you’ve run up against prospects like these who aren’t going to let you in on the whole picture because:
- They don’t want you to know they’re just window shopping to keep their incumbent agent on his toes
- They don’t want you to know they’ve had three claims in the last three years
- They don’t want you to know they feel uneasy taking the business away from their son’s soccer coach
- They don’t want you to know about all the reciprocal business their agent sends their way.
You want to learn about these kinds of situations so you can address them directly or pivot away before you’ve invested more time and effort.
At PMA we separate the real prospects from the tire kickers by asking, “Is there any reason you couldn’t change agents if we’re able to deliver worthwhile improvements?” You might choose to do it differently, but however you qualify them, it pays to make sure to check people’s buying attitudes before you spend time reviewing their insurance.
These aren’t the only kind of situations that should be qualified in the selling process either. If you have a killer program for staffing agencies, you want to make sure those prospects aren’t already covered through that program.
If you’ve decided on a minimum premium or revenue threshold, you’ll want to be sure and screen out targets that won’t meet those limits.
Sometimes too, you might have collegial relationships with other agents or agencies who you’ve agreed not to compete against. Potential prospects of yours who are already their clients need to be identified and filtered out before they go into your prospect funnel.
What other kinds of circumstances might disqualify a business prospect for you – even though they’re willing to meet and have you quote?
Don’t let wishful thinking or naivety short-circuit your prospecting efforts. It’s up to you to make sure every prospect meets your qualifying criteria and is “sales-ready.” There may be critical details prospects aren’t always going to tell you – unless you ask.