How to NOT settle for non-ideal clients

How to effectively build your ideal database  of clients 

Maybe your company is happy to say yes to more non-ideal inbound opportunities than you’d prefer, and it’s only later down the track when you step back, you’re able to see that there are a whole bunch of clients that you’d never really choose to work with, if you had a choice. 

It’s not unusual for service or solution-based companies to receive many inbound leads, as these companies don’t have sales teams. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: you don’t need a sales team. You don’t even need a salesperson. 

By upskilling your existing frontline team with a sales process, they can carry on with their existing role, and be more successful with bringing in new clients. Doing this can easily (and quickly) lead to:  

  • more satisfying clients 
  • clients who are suited to your skill level 
  • clients who your team will love working with 
  • clients who won’t eat away at your time or margin 

2 elements you can implement. 

There are 2 BIG elements of a sales process that can completely change your client base so you can have a better balance of clients, which makes for more engaging work for your team. 


1. A partial outbound approach. 

Making a small adjustment here, will ensure you are not 100% reliant upon referrals or word of mouth.  


Because you have little control over when these are coming in, and what kinds of clients they will be, a partial outbound approach allow to target specific companies you want to work with, then you build a relationship with them, and convert them over time. 


This is not a strategy requiring you to take your frontline team off the “tools” to do whilst they become salespeople. It’s quite the opposite.  


This is something they can do, almost passively (or more intentionally, if that’s your preference), to commence building relationships with who you see would be great future clients. 


Winning new clients, that are larger, takes a long time, so this is easily something your frontline team could incorporate into their existing roles. 


2. Qualify people (prospects) before you spend time meeting with them 

If your frontline team is too accepting of non-ideal clients, you’ll end up with a majority of clients that you are unsatisfied with serving.  


They will take up more of your time, eat away at your margins, or they might simply be too small, or too big for the level of expertise your company provides. 


Qualifying prospects before you invest time will empower your team with clarity around who you really want to serve. If the approach is to go and visit everyone, then not only is this a potentially giant waste of time, but it will east into the time your frontline team should be spending on delivery and other tasks. 


Consider a 5-7 questions that you could ask your inbound opportunities, prior to meeting with them, that will help you determine if this is the best use of your time. 


Such questions could be: 


  • What problem are you trying to solve?  
  • Why might we be the right people to help you? 
  • What is level of your urgency on this work? 
  • What products/services are you interested in? 
  • What is your level of intended investment to solve this challenge? 


By asking qualification questions, we can work out pretty quickly, if someone might be worth further conversation, or if there is another area of your business better suited to communicate with this person, rather than your highly skilled team members. 


We only have so many hours in the work day, so taking these two steps, will ensure your team are more productive, and you have an enviable client base.