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How to target the right customers


If you’re facing poor conversion rates, ignored phone calls and emails, and long hours spent in meetings for minimal results, then there is a simple reason for this: you’re not putting yourself in front of the right people. 

Chances are, you think that your pipeline is healthier than it is, so you don’t undertake more prospecting. This often results in lower than expected sales each month. You need to dig deeper and identify who these people are – are they genuine prospects with a high potential of becoming a paying customer, or are they simply suspects wasting your time? Can you tell the difference?

Talking to the wrong people isn’t just bad for business; all those wasted hours can negatively impact your motivation. Don’t waste precious time heading in the wrong direction, instead use it wisely and look out for these five tell-tale signs that distinguish a prospect from a suspect.

How do they perceive value vs. money?

You need to understand the prospect’s concept of what value a product/service brings compared to the cost of doing so. For example, if you offer something that saves time, those hours you have freed up could be the difference between them working weekends or spending time with their family. A prospect will see the value in your offering rather than the pure cost.

Are they willing to share information?

If a prospect has a genuine interest in converting to a customer, then they will be willing to share vital, often sensitive, information with you. If you ask what budget they have available and what ROI they expect to see, a prospect will be happy to provide these details. A suspect will be guarded and won’t provide definitive answers to your questions.

Have they provided a deadline?

Don’t be afraid to ask for a timescale for completing a project or potentially implementing your product or service. A prospect will provide you with a deadline, suggesting that they have a firm plan in place, a sense of urgency and an element of commitment. Spending time with suspects who keep stalling isn’t beneficial to you or your business.


Who are you dealing with?

You can’t sell to someone who doesn’t have the authority to make decisions, so you need to speak directly with the decision-maker. If your contact is not willing to introduce you to the right people, then it is likely that they are not confident in pursuing a sale with you. Your contact will also not relay your proposition and value effectively to enable a positive decision.

Do you know what their critical need is?

A prospect will highlight where their business is struggling, which is your time to share your expertise knowledge. By sharing their problems with you, the prospect shows they are serious about using your product/service. You need to understand their pain and if they aren’t willing to divulge, it’s likely that they can’t see you relieving it.

It is these five questions that help me differentiate a suspect from a prospect. By gaining this understanding, you will be able to improve your conversion rates and sales figures, leaving you with time to enjoy your life as well as your business.

Gary King is the founder and managing director of Tendo