9 Different Types of Prospects and How To Sell to Them

Types Of Prospects & How To Sell To Them

If you’ve ever launched into a sales pitch or presentation for someone you thought was a prospect but turned out not to be. You know how frustrating it is to waste precious prospecting time! Especially when you’d rather be doing something else. So tighten up your processes and maximise sales results by familiarising yourself with prospects’ traits, qualities, and personalities. Read on to discover 9 different types of prospects and how to sell to them in this article.

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What are prospect clients in sales?

Prospective customers are potential buyers who have been qualified using specific criteria. Once a sales lead is qualified, and you’ve determined they need your offering, they become a ‘prospect’. A prospect is someone who will most likely buy a solution soon, whether they buy it from you or not.

Why is it important to know the different types of prospects?

Most importantly, you want to ensure you’re talking to a qualified prospect and know there’s a good chance of making the sale. However, there are several other reasons why it’s important to know, identify and familiarise yourself with different types of sales prospects:

  • Create custom approaches: Get a better chance to appeal directly to prospects’ interests. 
  • Better negotiation position: by learning each type of prospect’s motivations and fine-tuning the relevant negotiation skill. 
  • Better decision making: by using prospect research to make informed decisions on when to approach them and how to deliver the sales pitch. 
  • Diversify customer base: and make more options for yourself – which usually means a higher chance of a successful sale – although particular prospects are hard to persuade. 
  • Improve sales: by being relatable to much more different types of prospects to grow a wider audience with better sales opportunities.

Prospects Vs Leads: What’s the difference? 

At the sales lead stage, businesses don’t know if the individual will be a buyer or not. As they simply don’t know enough about them. That’s why the term sales lead refers to a person or business at the very start of the sales process who may eventually become a client.

More so, leads are collectors of information from businesses. In contrast, sales prospects have already begun interactions and have possibly gone through multiple forms of communication. Channels like a chatbot, phone or email correspondence to liaise with the sales team.

As a result, companies’ sales processes usually involve gathering leads through various email or marketing campaigns. Then qualifying the leads as prospects or identifying them as non-prospects.

Also read: Swipe Our 6-Step Revenue-Winning Lead Nurturing Strategy (+Templates)

What’s an “Opportunity”?

A sales opportunity is a qualified prospect with a high probability of becoming a customer. Not only are they a good fit for what you’re selling, but they actively have a pain point that your product or service can solve. As such, they’re genuinely interested in your solution.

Difference Between Lead Gen and Prospecting

 Lead generation refers to the marketing activity that has the goal to generate leads. This could involve creating content like articles or graphics which then get people to opt-in for a free download. This generates ‘leads’. Prospecting on the other hand is an activity commonly done by sales professionals with the goal to generate leads from a target audience. This might involve cold calling, emailing cold leads or social selling.

What about Suspects Vs. Prospects?

Suspects are motivated by your knowledge rather than what you’re selling. That’s why sales calls and sales presentations don’t work on suspects, and you’ll often find them stale in your sales funnel. In contrast, prospects have already given you their personal information, such as an email address, in exchange for more content.

Suspects Vs Prospects infographic soco sales training

9 Different Types of Prospects

Discover 9 types of prospects to maximise your sales results and strengthen your prospecting process:

9 Different Types of Prospects infographic soco sales training

1. Bargain Hunters

Bargain hunters want what you’re selling but want it at the lowest possible price, no matter the value. No matter what price, quote, freebies or discounts you offer, they’ll still negotiate with you to lower the cost overall. The best way to sell to this prospect is to propose a lower price option to them that still allows you to benefit.

Also read: 10 Sales Needs Analysis Questions You Should Always Ask Prospects

2. Quick Wins

Otherwise known as “low hanging fruit”, these types of prospects are perfect for new salespeople who are still learning the industry and building momentum. While a helpful strategy for those looking to develop valuable experience and further their professional network. These types of prospects are a combination of friends, family and casual professional networking relationships. As a result, salespeople usually spend the same time on smaller deals. A problem when they could be using it for more significant opportunities.

3. Tire Kickers

Tire kickers aren’t ideal prospects by any means. They’re usually annoying slow-moving distractions disguised as prospects interested in what you’re selling – but will never, ever purchase. The best way to avoid this type of anti-prospect is to ask yourself if they’re a decision-maker and whether they match your ideal client profile. If that doesn’t work, you can ask them what they think their issue is because you can waste too much time on this type of prospect. So it’s important to feel out the conversation and determine whether they’re protecting information – if so, it’s time to move on.

Also read: Separating Suspects And Prospects: Improve The Leads In Your Funnel

4. Stallers

Stallers aren’t a bad type of prospect can be more challenging to move to action. It’s a big problem considering that prospects are less likely to buy from you the longer it’s been since your sales pitch, and no one wants to keep following up with someone who is vague. This type of prospect will use deflection strategies and phrases like “I need more time to think about it” or “we’d prefer to discuss this in more detail at a later date”. That’s why interactions with this prospect need to be quick, confident, and immediately target their concerns to avoid the chance of them stalling.

Also read: Questioning Cheat Sheet: 10 Questions To Move A Sale Forward

5. Sitting Ducks

Another ideal, quick win, sitting ducks are prospects who know they have a problem they need to resolve but haven’t taken any steps to research how to do so. As a result, you can be sure they’re not comparing you to any competitors, making you the most viable and accessible choice. However, to successfully sell to sitting ducks, they must be confident in your solution first. That’s why a segmented approach works best for diagnosing and understanding their problem in its entirety before proposing a solution that fully addresses their concerns.

6. Shoppers

This type of serious prospect is aware of their problem and is searching for a solution. As a result, they often have many providers bidding for their business – which means you often have to contend against their leading competitors. Success is usually achieved with this type of prospect by researching competitors and proving how your product performs better, is different, or has more value.

7. Wanderers

The wanderer prospect knows they have a problem; it just isn’t a priority to resolve it yet. Often, they’re too busy to be concerned with fixing the issue, so you have to appeal to them by waiting to agree on their terms. For example, be highly flexible and move around appointments if it means they choose that date.

9. Know-Alls

While they present as well informed about the problem and the currently available solutions, the know-all prospect also believes they have nothing to learn from the salesperson. To sell to the stubborn know-all prospect who brushes off suggestions. First, try to determine how accurate their knowledge is. Then help them visualise what it would be like not to implement or buy your solution.

9. Great White Whales

Landing this type of prospect takes much persistence, perseverance and focus. But well worth the long sales cycle for the big reward. While intimidating for most, salespeople should set their sights on this type of prospect. Mainly because they never know when life, organisational, environmental or personal factors will affect their needs and appeal to your solution.

2 ways to identify different types of prospects

If you’re still not sure who you’re talking to, here are a couple of tips to help you identify different types of prospects:

Ask questions & listen

If you want your potential customer to pay attention to what you say, you have to be willing to listen to him first. That doesn’t mean just giving your prospect time to speak, but actively listening to what they have to say. 

Good salespeople understand that dialling back their presence and allowing the prospect to speak allows them a unique insight into their problem – giving them a better chance at pitching their solution and ultimately making that deal. Not only that, but it helps to build initial rapport and proves to the customer that you value what they have to say. 

Look for identifiers

Look for the subtle nuances, behaviours and attributes when talking to prospects to help identify which type of prospect they might be.

Maximise your Chance of Success with SOCO/

SOCO’s Prospecting Training equips sales professionals with the skills and techniques needed to hunt for new leads, manage their pipeline, and tap existing customers as prospects. Participants will learn how to generate leads using a modern prospecting method achieved through a combination of solid content, group discussions, case studies, and Q&As.

Suspects And Prospects, Prospecting Power Course Booklet
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