Your ideal client are those ”suspects” you target, not prospects

To be successful in sales, you must not just understand the selling process, you also must know where you are in the process at all times.

In no area is this more important than realizing who is your ideal client.

Too often top salespeople and managers make the mistake of “customizing” their ideal client depending on the situation. Much like the initial benefit statement, there is no customization. The reason is that delivering your ideal client refers to how you target “suspects” – not “prospects.”

What is the difference? With suspects, you don’t know what you don’t know- or simply you don’t know with who you are speaking- so how can you customize it?

Suspects become prospects, prospects become hot prospects, and hot prospects become clients.

Of course, you will have customers (who are first prospects) beyond your ideal client. But when it comes to deciding which networking events to attend, which companies to cold call or door knock, and who are the best referral sources, knowing your ideal client- as defined per above is critical.

The best way to understand the ideal client is to ask yourself:

  1. Can I create a list of potential clients by typing in criteria on the Internet – or speaking to the receptionist
  2. Can a referral source send me prospects without talking to others?

For instance, TBN Sales Solutions idea client is as such:

  • Company with between 10 and 100 salespeople
  • Company with between 50 and 1,000 employees
  • Revenues between $1 million and $100 million
  • Company has multiple locations
  • There is no director of training
  • There is a VP of Sales
  • Salespeople have had formalized training, but not in the past 10 years (info can be answered by receptionist)
  • Outside salespeople (same as above)
  • Salespeople have salary plus incentive to surpass $100,000 (same as above)
  • Salespeople compensation part “farming” and hunting (same as above)


  1. Look at your 10 best clients (or your company’s clients)
  2. Write down 10 distinguishing characteristics of each
  3. Narrow to 10 total characteristics (per above definition)
  4. Now you know your ideal client