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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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How to identify a hot prospect!


A ‘hot’ prospect? It’s enough to make a freelance trainer or consultant start to salivate!

But, what do we actually mean by a hot prospect or as we often call them ‘warm’ leads.

Ford Harding defines a lead, in his great book ‘rain making’ as “the opportunity to talk to a prospect face-to-face about a need that he has acknowledged”

Great definition.

It also identifies one of the big mistakes we all make – not qualifying the lead. In his definition it clearly states that you have the opportunity to talk to the prospect face-to-face. (Or in the new world, maybe by phone or skype?) How many of us define a lead when someone somewhere intimates that they have need of our training, coaching and consultancy services?

In this scenario, very often:
1) our prospect may not realise they need our services
2) our prospect may not be ready to buy (very often the case with training!)
3) our prospect may realise they need our services but also know they can’t afford them
4) our prospect may be all or part of the way down the process of buying from one of our competitors?
5) our prospect may not be able to buy from us due to a real or perceived conflict of interest?
6) an intermediary has told us someone needs our services, and ‘expect them to call’

If any of these six conditions exist then sadly we don’t had a ‘hot-to-trot’ prospect. We either need to invest some more time in the relationship to get them in a position to ‘have the opportunity to talk to the prospect face-to-face’. Or when the prospect can’t buy our services (for whatever reason) don’t waste time trying to progress the sale.

Let’s go back to Ford Harding’s definition of a lead again. I’d like to add a little bit more to it to help us identify a ‘hot prospect’. In my view, a ‘hot prospect’:

1) actually asks for the meeting with you - whether this is a meeting over the phone or face-to-face
2) has budget available to spend with you
3) is suffering enough ‘pain’ to want to commit to a course of action
4) has come to you based on another person’s strong recommendation
5) it’s the type of work or client which you would give your right arm to work with?

What helps you to identify a hot prospect?

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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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