How to Identify and Convert Your Ideal Prospects

by | Aug 23, 2018 | Growth Management

How to Identify and Convert Your Ideal Prospects

Just how do you identify your ideal prospects?!

A simple system to get it right. Every time.

The handy acronym SPANCOP will help you place everyone in any stage of buying from you.


  • Suspect
  • Prospect
  • Approach
  • Negotiate
  • Close
  • Order
  • Pay


They go after their target prey, the ones with enough nutrition and substance to sustain them in order to make it worth the effort.

The whole purpose of this pipeline process is to be able to identify which stage a potential customer/client is at, so that you can act accordingly.

However, if you’re trying to fit everyone down it, you will find that people rarely get to the end.

There’s a big difference between a suspect and a prospect. It’s important you identify the difference for your business. A suspect might have once said they like the sound of what you do. A prospect has a budget, the authority to spend it and they have a need for your service.

It’s fine to have conversations with suspects, but the conversation should only be about whether or not they are a prospect at this stage.

What you don’t want to be doing is wasting three hours talking to a suspect to find out they don’t have the money to buy right now.


“I don’t just have one ideal customer, though.” You’re right.

The likelihood is, you’re going to have more than one ideal prospect. But it’s still important to be able to categorise and characterise a few different ideal prospects.

A good way of doing this is to think about who your best existing customers are.

Why is this important?

If you understand what your ideal prospects look like, then when someone who fits that profile comes to you, you know exactly how to act.

In the APPROACH stage, you’ll be able to identify their problems and solutions a lot easier because you’ve already given it some thought.

When approaching a prospect, focus on discussing their problems and solutions. This is not the appropriate time to discuss price, as you haven’t yet established the value of the solution to them.

The negotiate phase is where you can talk money. The prospect is now warmed up to the idea that they need what you have, so they are less likely to haggle on the price, provided you have set it appropriately for their budget.

Closing is where you seal the deal. Be careful not to seem too eager to close, as just as you are about to close is where buyers can have their last moment of doubt about whether to buy or not.

Order and Pay have their own nuances too, but if you’ve gotten to this stage properly, those should be the most straightforward of the phases.

Key Points to Consider

Don’t waste time on suspects. Give them enough time to figure out whether they are an immediate prospect. If you think they might be a future prospect, make a note to contact them again when you feel it’s appropriate.

Don’t mention the price until you’ve established value. A seemingly high price initially can be justified and made to seem reasonable by giving the context of what it returns. If you’re going to charge someone £100s but help make them £1000s, £100s won’t seem like a lot.

Be clear on what an ideal prospect looks like for you. Doing this means you’re able to deal with them in a more effective approach that will seem a lot more professional.

For more about your business sales plan and how you can actively enjoy selling in your business, why not consider becoming a part of the Sales Growth Club. This is a package designed specifically with the smaller business in mind. You can find out more about the Sales Growth Club HERE

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