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When Should Your Agency Say No To New Business?

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Gaining new leads and converting them into paying clients is a crucial part of any agency’s growth. In order to keep your agency afloat, you need to effectively bring in new business and retain them as clients. However, once in a while, a client will come to you that just doesn’t fit.  

When you’re not in a position to turn away new business, it can feel tempting to onboard them as a client anyway. Unfortunately, if a client isn’t right for your agency, you may find yourself struggling to maintain a positive client relationship.

The truth of the matter is that not every client is the “right” fit for your agency. There will be some circumstances where you will need to turn away potential work. Sometimes, you need to be the one to say no.

Here are a few circumstances in which your agency may want to consider turning a potential client away.

1. They don’t have a realistic budget.

As agency owners, it’s not uncommon to run into a potential new client looking for a deal. Maybe they’ve just started their business, and they don’t have the budget to meet your financial expectations right now.

While you may think any business is better than no business, taking on clients without the ability to pay you will put you in the fast lane toward closing your doors.

Beware of potential clients looking for a discount or with a budget far below the price you quote. They could lead to bigger problems down the road, such as unpaid invoices.

2. They’re unclear about needs and expectations.

When a potential client comes to your agency, there is usually some back-and-forth about their needs, expectations and how you can help. However, sometimes clients just aren’t sure of what they’re looking for — or worse, they don’t want to be upfront about their needs. Unfortunately, you could waste time trying to figure out exactly what your new client expects you to accomplish.

While establishing goals with a new client can take some back-and-forth, avoid clients who are entirely clueless about what they’re looking for. If you’re unable to come to an agreement on needs or expectations, step away from the client until they can figure out what they need.

3. There isn’t a long-term need.

Acquiring new customers doesn’t help your business grow if you’re unable to retain them. In order to help your agency reach the next level of success, you want to work with clients who will work with you time and time again.

It’s not uncommon for a client to come to you hoping for a one-off project or some short-term work. While this can help you get some cash now, it won’t help you long-term. Instead, you’ll become caught in a revolving door of attracting and onboarding new clients.

Focus on attracting leads that want to work with you month after month. When you’re able to retain the clients you onboard, you’re more likely to see more growth.

4. They don’t value the whole agency.

Occasionally, you might run into client who only wants to work with a certain section of your agency. They only need one or two services, and they’re not interested in your complete package.

In some cases, this is fine — especially if you offer your services independently already. However, if you start piecemealing your agency, you could interrupt your team’s flow. When things are too complicated, you could waste time and money.

If a potential client doesn’t see the true value in what your agency has to offer, it probably isn’t the best fit. Instead, focus on clients who are excited to work with you and your whole team.

When you’re trying to grow your agency, it’s tempting to say yes to any work that comes your way. However, if you’re constantly taking on work that isn’t a great fit, you’re only creating new hurdles for your team to get over.

Don’t be afraid to be picky about the new clients you take on. By focusing on onboarding clients who value your work, are ready to pay and want to stay with you long-term, you can better build long-lasting client relationships that will help take your agency to the next level.