The Five Types of Ideal Prospects You Must Understand

Ideal prospects come in all shapes and sizes. But most salespeople are focused on just a few of these key ideal prospects.

First, let’s define what an ideal prospect is: someone who fits; has the challenges that you solve; is the right size organization; is in the right industry—and ultimately, could have use for your solutions.

Five Key Types of Ideal Prospects You Must Understand

#1. The Bluebird. The Bluebird is a prospect out there right now and is looking for you. These people make up about five percent of your ideal prospects. They are a gift from the heavens because they’re simply looking to really work directly with you in some capacity. Most organizations make it their objective to get most of their business from just this very small category, however this group is too small to support a thriving business.

#2. The Shopper. This is a person who has a problem and is currently looking for a solution, comprising about 20 percent of ideal prospects. The Shopper makes a good prospect; however, this is also the most competitive prospect to get the business of, as they most likely will get multiple bids since they’re actively seeking a solution in many areas.

#3. The Sitting Duck. The Sitting Duck is a person who has a problem, yet has done nothing about it so far, comprising about 20 percent of ideal prospects. They’re one of the best prospects.

By definition this person isn’t currently looking for you; you must prospect consistently to find him/her. This will be a less competitive sell because they haven’t sought other solutions. You must fully understand their entire situation. Your biggest competitor in this situation isn’t going to be another organization, but instead no action at all.

#4. The Wanderer. Comprising 25 percent of ideal prospects, the Wanderer has a problem, but it’s currently not a priority today. They are working on a lot of things. You fixing their problem isn’t a priority.

It’s crucial you use a disqualification process to ultimately disqualify this prospect today to maximize your time, though you may do business with them eventually. It’s essential that you not waste a lot of time with Wanderers, but do keep them in mind for down the road.

#5. The Time Sucker. This prospect who accounts for about 30 percent of ideal prospects will always be a no. However, Time Suckers may fake you out, often saying, “Wow, this is great; get back to me in the future,” or, “How about submitting a proposal for my boss so we can explore this?” The truth is that they have no interest in your business. Disqualify them immediately.

Master the ability to quickly identify what kind of prospect you’re dealing with, as they will certainly fall under one of these five classes. By identifying these five types of clients and carefully categorizing where your current prospects fit into those roles, you’re going to maximize your sales time.

Which of these ideal prospects are you currently dealing with? And as a result, how should you be handling each of those prospects? Please share below in the comments.

Get 25 tips to crush your sales goal. Written by Marc Wayshak, sales strategist & author of the book, "Game Plan Selling."

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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