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How To Spot Prospects That Are Actually Worth Your Time And Effort

Contrary to a common belief, not every prospect is worth investing your time and efforts into. In fact, most of the people you with your sales will not buy from you. And quite often it is not because of the quality of your efforts.

Making a sale is a long process. It takes time and effort to win a new client for your business. There is the research that you need to do, prospecting, making the initial contact, meetings, presentations and follow ups. It could take weeks before you get any response from a prospect and in many cases, it is not the one you were hoping for.

Therefore, in order to make the most out of your sales efforts you need to target the very prospects that show the biggest chance to buy from you. Part of this is to learn how to quickly spot a prospect that’s worth going after. In this post I will show you exactly how to do this.

A good prospect, a one that’s worth putting time and effort into MUST have all of those 3 attributes:

They must need what you are selling

A highly qualified prospect will need what you are selling relatively soon. Of course, you can also go after prospects that might need your products or services sometime later in the future, although as a rule, the best prospect is the one that needs you right now, or very soon.

They must have the money to pay you

No budget no sale, therefore you need to ensure that the prospect is able to pay you for your work.

They must have the authority to buy from you

Lastly, your prospect must have the authority to sign the dotted line. There is no point for you to be talking to an employee, who in fact can be really enthusiastic about it, if the decision has to be made by someone else.

A good prospect is the one that can say yes to you and you shouldn’t be talking to anyone else.

Once you know what to look for in a potential prospect, you also need to learn how to assess people you meet against those criteria. This can be easily done by following the 4 steps below:

1. Define your target market

Defining the market helps you to narrow down the search for prospects and also helps in identifying prospects that have immediate need for your services or product.

2. Assess their need, budget and buying authority

Once you know who and where your prospects are, it is time to find out if they can afford buying from you and who has the power to say yes. The easiest way to do this is by asking simple pre-qualifying questions:

  • – what are the latest projects they worked on
  • – have they worked with my competition and on what size of a project
  • – when was the last time they used similar service/product as mine

and so on.

3. Evaluate their financial status

A company that recently laid off half of their staff will most likely not going to be able to pay you. A one in financial straits isn’t going to make up for a good client either.

Your next step is to find out about your prospects financial situation. Try to establish what kind of budget they might have annually for what you are offering, their history of recent purchases.

A great trick that I use to find out about my prospects financial status (and also how willing they are to invest in new projects) is checking the quality of their marketing materials, both online and offline. If they are done on the cheap, it might be a sign that either they don’t like to invest in their business or simply have no money to do so.
On the contrary, a high class marketing collateral tells you that the owners of the company take their business seriously and are not afraid to spend money on it if they see the benefit in doing that.

4. Develop a grading system

Lastly, you need to develop a grading system to differentiate your prospects based on the probability of making a sale. Such system will help you to focus on high grade prospects and invest your time and efforts where you might see the best returns.

Image: “Close up of a businessman with binoculars/Shutterstock

SEO Specialist at Staycity.

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  • One of the tips on how to make your lead generation initiatives the best and efficient, is to make a procedure for determining your best leads within the bigger share of wannabes and it all begins by profiling your best customers.

  • Hi Pawel, welcome to Bloggertone and as an ex salesperson and sales manager, I think is a really great first post. In fact, I would go so far as to say what you have described here is the difference between the average salesperson and a great sales person. Brilliant salespeople are brilliant prospectors – they spend the majority of their time dealing with prospects that are in a position to do business.   

  • Michael_Dineen

    Great post. Really like the tip on assessing the quality of their previous marketing materials. Great way to find eager prospects.

  • Niall, wow, thank you and great to be part of the community 🙂 I agree, the best sales people know exactly where to invest their time and efforts. Having said that, I am playing smart here but I was on the other side for a long time myself and it took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong. 

  • Thank you Michael, it’s my own little invention 🙂 Work in almost every single case…

  • Swayne Hill

    Your point #4 is probably worth an entire post. Having a grading system will also help you identify ‘Risky’ deals in the sales pipeline. I separate ‘probability’ into two components – win probability and close probability. Close probability is subjective and tied to sales stage progress, win probability is based on how close the attributes do e deal are to our sweet spot. Swayne –

  • Thanks Swayne 🙂

  • Impressive first post for TYB Tom. Looking at the huge hikes in PRSI for me over the next two years I should consider moving home……not to mention the increase in the price of wine!! It’s half that price in Wales – if that isn’t incentive what is? 😉

  • Thanks for a great first post, Tom. I’m going to digest this later this evening.

  • Thanks Niall – feel like the new kid in among all the pros!!

  • Cheers for the help – don’t be drinking that cheap Welsh plonk – get yourself some nice French white!! 😉

  • Elish Bul

    Thanks for getting that useful summary out in such timely fashion- shared for all our SMES audience in the buidling sector and interiors sectors

  • Cheers Elish!

  • Dan Delaney

    I use a process I call level of motivation. If they ask questions like can I keep my number, how long will it take to get it installed, or what do you need for me to do? They will go to the top of my list.

  • Thanks Niall – yeah the 25% R&D tax credit is a very useful tax break to consider and it’s not just test tubes in a lab type stuff that qualifies. The definition of what constitutes R&D is quiet wide ranging and could very easily apply to a lot of corporate businesses out there! Cheers 🙂

  • Cheers Fiona – hopefully it will help to save a few quid for someone. Have a good Xmas break. Chat again soon!

  • Tom,
    A huge welcome from me to TYB, this post is hugely informative and beneficial for all. Some really valid and accessible reliefs and refunds to be had.
    A great post – thanks for the timely share – pity for some, 2 weeks won’t be enough to avail of un-known or forgotten reliefs and claims. I hope people act with haste as you suggest 🙂

  • Thanks Elaine for the welcome – feel like the new kid!! Anyway glad you found the post useful and informative – hopefully it can save someone somewhere a few euros. Happy Christmas to you and hope you have a successful new year! 🙂

  • Semmick Photo

    Great image 😉 Always nice to find them back on the internet.

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