A lead is a potential client—someone who has been referred to you, contacted you, or who you’ve reached out to, that you can potentially offer your firm’s services to.
A prospect is a lead that you’ve had an initial qualifying call or discussion with. You, or the member of your team that spoke to the prospect considers that there is a reasonable likelihood that you will do business together and your firm can solve the needs of this potential client.
Now, before setting up your first lead, have you defined what your business development process is? Do you follow a list of tasks while trying to win new business?
Defining a process will maximize your success rate in converting leads into clients. A consistent process that is followed by everyone on your team means every lead is getting the same experience while engaging with your firm. This is important when trying to win new business as it’s an opportunity to provide excellent service and outshine your competitors.
Creating item a work entitled “Lead Management” is the simplest way to manage leads. Here you can keep track of all your correspondence with leads and actively determine who you think you’ll convert into a paying client.
Qualifying your leads
Your next step is to quickly weed out any leads that won’t convert to paying clients because you want to maximize your time acquiring new business. We recommend starting with a quick phone call where you ask a couple questions to make sure you’re a good fit for each other. Remember, you’re there to solve the needs and issues of this potential client. Ask probing questions that get to the heart of the customer’s requirements.
What is the number one thing that you wish your accountant would do for you?
What keeps you awake at night?
What are the strong points in your business/life?
What are the opportunities, weaknesses?
Where can we help the most?
What are the most pressing issues to solve first?
Once this is done and you’ve determined that this lead could become a prospective client, turn them into a Prospect and work towards converting them into a paying client.
More here on Managing Prospects.