A quote I return to often is, "The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of the questions you ask." Another one is, "The quality of your outcome is directly related to the quality of the evaluations you're prepared to make."
These quotes are key in understanding the nature of the prospects you should be pursuing. In my opinion, one of the best places to find more prospects is by carefully examining your past, rather than looking at your present or gazing into the future. In short, you need to sit back, roll up your sleeves and look at the customers you’ve already done business with, then ask the following questions:
- What do these customers have in common?
- Are your customers in the same or similar regions?
- Are your customers in the same place on the decision-making tree?
- Do your customers tend to be small businesses or big companies, and do they exhibit decentralized or centralized decision-making authority?
- What technologies do your customers use?
- What segments are your customers in?
- How much do your customers buy from you and how often?
I’ll give you an example from my personal playbook. Back in the day I used to sell real estate securities. At one point, I decided to look into who my customers were to get some insights. At the time our company had a portfolio of 1,700 investors, but oddly enough, 17 of them were high school principals. I thought, “Well, that’s really weird. How could 1% of my client base be high school principals?” After some investigating I teased out why I was resonating with them, then ramped my marketing in that direction. Long story short, I ended up selling to even more high school principals!
I can tell you with authority that if you take a look at your past customers, you’re going to find themes that will lead you to making smarter, better decisions on how you’ll market and sell going forward. It’s a great way to grow your business.