The Perfect Prospect List

A few days ago, I wrote a post on qualifying. Salespeople, especially desperate salespeople, try to sell their product or services to people who don’t buy what they sell. This requires that they make a bunch of different and difficult sales. It is time-consuming and mostly ineffective.

Qualifying and calling on your dream clients is critical.

But there is a darker side to qualifying. Some salespeople go way too far the other direction, believing that they must have a list of prospects that are pre-qualified, that absolutely need what they sell, that are deeply interested, and that will be automatically receptive to their message.

There is no such perfect list of dream clients.

And wishing doesn’t make it so. The time you spend trying to acquire the perfect list is time that is better spent prospecting and qualifying.

Defining Your List Too Narrowly

Prospecting and qualifying isn’t easy, and that’s why most salespeople don’t do enough of it.

Because prospecting and qualifying is hard work, some salespeople wish for ways to make it easier. They want to call on only pre-qualified prospects. They want the narrowest of narrow lists. Instead of leveraging technology, they try to use it as a substitute.

They want just the right contact with the just the right authority with just the right set of problems. They want to be certain before they start making the effort to get in that the prospect is perfect, their dream client. They want to know that the prospect will be receptive, and that they do in fact need whatever it is the salesperson sells. They want it to be easier.

It isn’t easy. Nothing worth doing is.

They imagine that a list by title or job duty will help them to make fewer calls and to be more effective. Sometimes this helps a little. But the title or job duties only tell you what that person might be dissatisfied with–not that the dissatisfaction exists. Calling only on titles and perceived authority means you miss calling on all the stakeholders north and south throughout the organization that may be dissatisfied enough to help you get in.

Do They Need What You Sell?

Prospecting and qualifying means calling on the people and companies that use what it is you sell. It means calling on targets.

These companies weren’t waiting around for you to call on them. If a company uses what it is you sell, then they have already found a partner (or more likely, the partner found them). Maybe they are using a substitute for what you sell, or maybe you sell a substitute for what they buy now. This is enough to make them a suspect, but not enough to be a prospect or a dream client.

Determining whether or not they are a prospect or a dream client means that you have to make the call. It means you have to do the work to qualify them and move them from being simply a target to being something more.

You want the perfect list of dream clients to nurture and pursue. Go build it.

Questions

What makes a company a viable target?

What makes them a qualified target?

Beyond the criteria that makes a prospect qualified, what has to be present for you to create and pursue an opportunity?

Is there a way to obtain what needs to be present without calling? How do you know dissatisfaction exists?

How do you build a killer prospective dream client list?

Filed under: Sales 3.0

Share this page with your network