What Does an Ideal Prospect Look Like?

The highest leverage of your time is to focus on ideal, high-probability prospects to begin with.  But that begs the question: What does an ideal prospect look like?

Here’s a list of criteria you should be looking at:

Ideal Customer Criteria – Areas to Consider

Using this criteria, the process to identify ideal prospects is simple:

  1. List your best customers
  2. Identify their defining  attributes
  3. Identify commonalities

This will give you the criteria to identify your ideal customer.  You’ll have a template you can use to target ideal customers.

In this short article I want to focus on two of the most important criteria:

  1. Problems
  2. Leverage

The Problems You Solve Determine Who You Sell To

To know your most ideal targets, you must do a problem inventory because the problems you solve determine who you sell to.  A problem inventory is a list of all the problems you solve for customers.

Problems & Messaging

We will discuss this more in an upcoming post on messaging.  For now, know that you absolutely MUST know what specific problems your prospect has and the value to you bring before you can craft a message that will cause them to engage.  It’s isn’t optional.  This is mission-critical work that must be done to succeed in selling.  No amount of of sales incentives or brute force effort can compensate if you can’t communicate to your prospects the problems you solve and the value you bring.  Don’t shirk it.  It has to be done.

 

“No amount of of sales incentives or brute force effort can compensate if you can’t communicate to your prospects the problems you solve and the value you bring.”

Who’s Got Big Problems?

Once we have our problem inventory we need to ask ourselves: Who has those problems?  And who has those problems in the biggest way?  That’s our target market.

Target Problems & Pain

You have a splitting headache.  You open your medicine cabinet and rifle through a million expired and half-used tablets only to realize you’re totally out of pain relief medication.  So you rush down to your local pharmacy in the hope of getting the tablet that’s going to give you the relief you so desperately need.

Do you worry about the price?  Does it even enter your mind to shop around and see if you can buy the same product cheaper at another pharmacy?   No.  You’re in pain and you want immediate relief.  In fact, even if the tablets are priced at double or triple you’ll probably still buy.

Ordinary ways of shopping get thrown out when we’re in pain.  The exact same is true for your customers and prospects.  Salespeople get lost talking about “features and benefits” rather than speaking to problems and pain.  How much selling does a pharmacist need to do to sell a medication to someone who needs it?  Zero.  I’m in healthcare and I can tell you that this is true even when the cost per dose is tens-of-thousands of dollars.

The same is true regardless of what you sell.  Selling features, on the other hand, will turn your prospects into price-shoppers.  Be a problem-solver and pain-reliever instead.  Targeting problems and pain results in higher conversion, higher customer satisfaction and lower price resistance.  Sell the problem not the solution.

Leverage

You wouldn’t initially think of this as part of your effort to identify your ideal target, but existing leverage is an extremely important factor in engaging your target market.

Leverage is the existing proof you have that you can solve the problems and affect positive change for your target market.

 

Sales Leverage – Proof that you can solve problems & affect positive change for your clients.”

 

Sales Leverage is about having proof.  What researchers have discovered is that of all the elements that improve response, proof is the most important element.  It improves response more than anything else.

We’ll address this again when talking about messaging.  But in this context – where we’re targeting our ideal customer – it’s important that we target an area where we actually HAVE some proof to use.  Don’t choose to go into battle without a sword.  When selecting a target market, pick areas where you have the strongest proof – because you’re gonna to need it.

 

Key Point – Focus on target markets where you have the strongest proof.

 

Salespeople waste massive amounts of time creating and re-creating their own marketing material.  To the degree you can, avoid spending time creating your own proof materials.  Collaborate with your marketing team and boss for that.  You need to be in the trenches.  Focusing on areas where you already have the greatest proof represents a huge time savings for you.

What Constitutes Proof?

This begs the question: What constitutes proof?  In a future post we will discuss what constitutes proof, the psychology of it and how to generate it.  But for the sake of brevity here are the top two things that constitute proof:

  1. Recognizable, referencable clients.  This includes things like: testimonials, case studies, market share and large numbers of clients.
  2. Objective 3rd Party Endorsements.  This includes things like: awards, studies and reviews.

Why are these two areas the strongest forms of proof?  Because they come from 3rd parties.  Anyone can make a promise.  Anyone can claim they solve a problem.  Clients know this.  And they know that proof from 3rd parties is hardest to fabricate.  So they weigh it more heavily than other forms of proof.

Don’t lose heart if you don’t have this type of proof yet.  There are other kinds of proof you can use.  But your company should focus heavily on these areas because they are the strongest.

Conclusion

The key take-away here is this:  As you work to identify your ideal targets, take into account: 1. The problems you solve and 2. The leverage you have at your disposal in terms of clients, testimonials, case studies, market share and 3rd party endorsements.  This will get you focused on working with the most ideal and high-probability opportunities.  And as a result you will get a much higher return on your time and energy invested.

Prospecting Secret:  As you work to identify your ideal targets, take into account: 1. The problems you solve and 2. The leverage you have at your disposal in terms of clients, testimonials, case studies, market share and 3rd party endorsements.

Until next time!

James

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