3 Practical Ways to Improve Lead Quality and Save Tons of Time

Are you tired of spending ridiculous amounts of time dealing with tire-kickers?

Responding to new business inquiries is a part and parcel of running an agency. Every week potential clients knock on your doors. Some look for information; others seek answers that would help them decide if you could help them.

Unfortunately, dealing with many of them results in nothing more but wasted time, doesn’t it?

But what if you could discourage tire-kickers from even getting in touch with you? Improve the quality of leads that inquire with your agency?

Well, that’s EXACTLY what I’m going to talk about in this post.

I’ll show you 3 simple strategies that will help you get rid of tire-kickers and improve the quality of new business inquiries. Intrigued? Then let’s get right to it!

#1. Publish Your Rates

Oh, I know, it’s a never-ending debate: Should an agency publish their pricing on the site? But leaving the most common arguments aside, given the variety of pricing models agencies employ, including a cookie-cutter price on a site might be impossible.

This is especially true if your company calculates the cost based on variable factors like a client’s desired speed of growth or expected revenue, etc. But you know, you don’t have to reveal the full-rate sheet for this strategy. Even a simple indication of rates could help you weed out poor quality clients.

As my friend and fantastic conversion copywriter, Joel Klettke, recalls in this post about different pricing strategies he tested in his business:

“Before I had any rates page up, I was inundated with quote requests and would often spend half a day just quoting people. It was awful. There were tire-kickers, there were legit leads, there were people who thought I should write posts for $20 despite a carefully curated brand and image… I needed a change.”

He then adds:

“To eliminate the friction of quoting above the range, I went “starting from”, with a base minimum price. […] I wasn’t dealing with tire-kickers (YAY!) and on the whole lead quality had improved from the time of ranges (YAY!)...”

And having tested all of the possible ways to display his rates, Joel settled on showing a daily rate as a point of reference for when clients receive a proposal. Here’s how his rates page looks like now:

pricing on an agency's site

Hitshop, a growth marketing agency prequalifies prospects on their home page by displaying their minimum price.

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Laura Belgray, on the other hand, offers set pricing packages:

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So to recap, here are the different ways you could show rates to weed out tire-kickers:

  • Include the full rate card.
  • Mention the project minimum.
  • Set minimum rates for specific tasks or projects.
  • Display average project ranges (the from-to)
  • Set pricing packages.
  • Show the hourly or daily rate.

#2. Ask About the Budget in the Inquiry Form

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice already:

Keep your inquiry form short and simple to fill. It will help increase the number of inquiries.

And it’s true. But here’s the catch:

Doing so might not always work to your benefit.

Sure, it might simplify the process of contacting you. But does that always result in better quality leads? Not necessarily.

However, you could use the inquiry form as a powerful screening tool, and prevent many tire-kickers from wasting your time.

How? By including a field asking about the budget. This method turns the tables around, and forces leads to revealing how much money they’ve allocated (or at least consider paying) for your services.

And also, it tells them the minimum budget you’re willing to accept. Simply, include a drop down field on the form asking a prospect to specify their budget range. Here are a couple of examples:

Vertical Measures ask for an annual budget, clearly communicating not only their rates but also the expectation for a long-term commitment:

iThink Media, on the other hand, makes answering the budget question super simple. The company includes only two fields with the budget form on the page. But simple as it is, it sets their budgetary expectations nonetheless. 5

Alexander from 199creative displays drop downs with different budget ranges. But note a little hack he employs there. The form is automatically pre-set to show the second range from the list, not the smallest one. I’d imagine that doing so helps Alexander communicate the minimum project expectation without forcing a prospect to actually check out the form.

#3. State What Type of Clients You Want to Work With

If you’re not comfortable with revealing your rates or asking prospects about their budget, then simply be open about who you want to work with.

Most agencies would include some indication as to their target market. But in most cases, they leave it quite generic, focusing on a too broad market or industry…

But just as this tells prospects if an agency has the experience in their field, it reveals nothing about the type of companies they would like to talk to. At the same time, your website copy gives you an opportunity to prequalify your prospects.

Take a look at this page by CoBloom. Instead of just stating they work with SaaS companies, the company makes it clear that they’re interested in working with companies in a scale-up stage.

Anyone involved with running or marketing a SaaS product will immediately know that they talk about businesses making more than $5M in annual recurring revenue.

Specifying the target market, company size or any other prequalifying factor will help you tell a prospective client if they should reach out to you in the first place. ** Most tire-kickers look for companies they could convert to their way, for example, to get them to reduce their pricing a little. **But if you communicate a firm dedication to the way you work, price, and target market, you’ll immediately deter many from even getting in touch.

Over to You

What’s your experience with tire-kickers? How do you deal with inquiries that most likely will never convert into a new business?