How to Build a Target Prospect List

Firestorm · Mar 6, 2017

If you want to be successful in sales, you need to understand who your target client is and go after them!

I’m all about efficiency and not wasting time and effort. I want an awesome ROI both on my money and my time! The better the prospect, the better my chances of making a sale. You’re probably an awesome salesperson. You probably practice and hone your craft. But if you’re talking to the wrong type of prospect, if there is no need for what you are selling, then it doesn’t matter how good you are! So let’s talk about this concept and this process. There are actually two main things that I want to talk about here: 

  1. How to identify your ideal clients and prospects?
  2. How to get in front of those ideal clients and prospects?

How to Identify Your Best Clients/Prospects:

First off, start with your existing book of business. Look at the top 10 - 20% of your clients and figure out what they all have in common. Are they in similar industries? Are they similar in size? How many employees? How much do they do in revenue? Are they located in a certain area geographically? Are they public or privately held? Do they all have office space? Do they own or rent that office space? Do they keep normal business hours? Think of it like this, if you were building out a dream team of clients, like a fantasy business league, and you needed to fill out all the ideal stats, what are they? I could go on and on here, but you get the idea. If you are really interested in digging in deep then hire a good data scientist to go through the data for you and find commonalities. If you need a recommendation for one, just let me know. Once you have a good idea of all the things that make up your best clients, put them all together into a “persona” or “ideal client profile”. You can even give your fictional prospect a name for fun.

How to get in Front of Your Best Clients/Prospects:

Once you have your ideal client profile, now it’s time to go to work on finding companies that fit your profile. For this you will need to combine your internet research skills, your intuition as a business professional and your relationship building skills. There are a TON of tools out there you can use to find information on companies, but remember, you are looking for specific characteristics so when you do a search you need to narrow that search based on the criteria you’ve identified above. Here are a few research tools you can use:

Remember to narrow your search and only look for companies that fit your ideal client profile.

Once you’ve got the company info, find the contact inside the company that you need to speak with. This will be different for everyone depending on your product or service. If you are selling payroll services you are most likely targeting an owner, controller or CFO. If you are selling staffing services this could be the head of HR. It will also depend on the size of the business. If you are unsure of who to go after, start at the top. The CEO or owner can always refer you down the chain and it is a lot easier to go down the corporate ladder than up it when you’re prospecting.

The last step in this process, and the one that I like the most, is trying to get referred to your ideal contact inside of your ideal prospect company. How, you might ask, do I do that? Well, all you have to do is ask. Go to your network, to people that know you and trust you, and ask them if they know these prospects. You’d be amazed at how simply asking for something specifically, triggers peoples thinking. The more specific you can be the better. I’ve talked for years about wanting to meet Harvey Mackay. Every time I mention it, someone new steps up with an introduction. Ask and you shall receive.

I believe that people are good and kind and want to help each other out. You have to make it easy for them however. Do your homework, identify your ideal clients and prospects, find the contacts within those companies, and then ask your network to introduce you to them.

The next time someone asks you how they can help you out, give them a specific name, not an industry or “anyone that owns a business”!

Philip Pelto is Chief Connection Officer of MyFirestorm, LLC a business to business networking organization. Firestorm® promotes business relationship building by organizing peer meetings, educational and social events. You can find more info on Firestorm® here


Top 10 Networking Screw Ups & How to Avoid Them

About Us

We are a high quality B2B networking organization dedicated to helping you identify your ideal strategic partners and facilitate the relationship building process.