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Finding Your Best Fit Prospect in the Qualifying Call

Gray MacKenzie
Gray MacKenzie is a true operations nerd who has spent the past decade helping hundreds of agencies build more productive, profitable, and healthy teams by solving the core issues plaguing their project management.

To chat with Gray and have ZenPilot lead your team through the last project management implementation you'll ever need, schedule a quick call here.

Qualifying a prospect is an art.

On one hand, you want to build an awesome relationship and not ask questions that are too pointed or abrasive if the prospect is a good fit.

On the other hand, if the prospect is not a good fit you want to waste the least amount of time as possible with them.

The Qualifying Call

The good news is that qualifying is also a science. It is possible to create the right formula to help you get the answers you need quickly. With practice, this formula gets refined and you will become more comfortable leading a prospect through a qualifying call.

Before the Qualifying Call

The qualifying call is the second call that you have with a prospect. The first is the connect call, if you have not listened to that episode yet I suggest you start there. 

Before the qualifying call, it is important to set a clear agenda on what you will be discussing with the prospect. This call should have already been scheduled at the end of your connect call but you still want to give the prospect a reminder and an agenda 24 hours in advance. 

This should be a simple email, reminding them that you have the call the next day and a brief agenda and time estimate for the call. Typically I find this call ranges from 30-45 minutes. 

During the Qualifying Call

When the call starts you should have your “formula” written out and be able to fill in an answer for each part when the call is over. 

Here is the formula we use to qualify prospects at GuavaBox:

  • Challenges
  • Structure
  • Timeframe
  • Budget

I will almost always approach these in the same order with each prospect. Let’s break each of these down briefly. 

Challenges: In order to determine if a prospect is a right fit for your agency you both need to clearly understand what their largest challenge is. If you provide services to help them overcome that challenge that is the first step in understanding if they are a fit. If they need leads yesterday and your agency only offers inbound services that take 4-6 months to really start seeing results from, immediate red flag.

Structure: You need to understand how decisions are made at your prospect’s organization. Don’t beat around the bush with this one, simply ask them what their internal process is like for deciding which agency to partner with.

Timeframe: Understanding their timeframe and expectations is crucial to understanding if your agency is ready to take them on as a client. A timeframe has two main categories to pe into. What is their timeframe in regards to starting your engagement, and what is the timeframe in which they expect to begin seeing results?

Budget: Everyone’s favorite thing to talk about. Here is the deal with the budget. If during the connect call or as I make my way through the qualifying call I think this prospect may not be a good fit I will bring up the budget earlier. Typically right after “challenges”. This is the quickest qualifier or dis-qualifier. If I think that this is a good prospect I will save it until the end because before I start discussing numbers I want the prospect to speak to me in-depth about the pain and challenges their company is facing. This makes the conversation around budget much easier when they explain how badly they need change.

To wrap up the qualifying call I do some assignment selling.

I have them fill out the Inbound Revenue Calculator and email their results to me. If I am going to spend time helping identify ways to fix their problems, I want some commitment from them before we continue through the sales process.

The second piece of homework they have is to bring the decision-maker (if they are not that person) on the next call with them.

If they are unwilling to do both pieces of homework then they are not a serious prospect.

As always, assume that they will do the homework you have assigned and get them to commit to the next call. That will wrap up the qualifying call.

After the Qualifying Call

Once the call is over, send them an email thanking them for their time and a link to their homework. Send that email through your CRM so that it is recorded and log your detailed notes for the team to read. 

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