Automation Step 3: Who’s your target prospect?

Over the weekend I had a paradigm-shifting experience.

I was put solely in charge of both of my daughters for a full day as my wife took some well-deserved time away with “real people.”

Now don’t worry, everyone escaped without injury.

But at a particular point in the “thick of it,” I did have one of those self-aware moments where I started to question myself…

Who am I?

What am I doing here?

Why was I left in charge of these children without ample training on naptime order of operations?

This is exactly what happens as you’re about 50% of the way through writing and setting up an email automation sequence.

And it’s a real results killer if you can’t find your way out of it.

So all jokes aside, there are two additional things we’ll need to identify prior to building out the lead qualification system we started discussing last week. (Yes, we’re still chipping away!)

(1) Who your target prospect is with all of their surrounding context

(2) What your qualification criteria are

Today, we’ll tackle the first.

target prospect feature image

Now I know, I know…

You’ve already identified your target market and have a good sense of why they decide to do business with you.

But like my experience over the weekend, there’s this weird thing that happens when we put on the “marketing hat” where all of that somehow goes out the window…

And gets replaced with all sorts of templates, formulas, and tactics that may or may not bear any relationship to what you’re trying to accomplish.

So much like mapping out your sales process, it becomes increasingly helpful to have a reference point to keep coming back to.

Here are some questions we like to ask:

  1. In simple terms, who are your current clients? Who do you serve? This could be a specific job role, industry vertical (manufacturing), or problem (businesses who need more foot traffic)… however you usually define it.
  2. What sort of problems do you solve for your clients? These can be both physical (we handle their tax preparation), and emotional (we help them feel at ease). Often they’re hidden from view, even to the client.
  3. What kind of buyer are they? And where are they on the buyer awareness spectrum? Are they slow, fast, fickle, technical, require a lot of education?
  4. What is your ideal client’s story? Starting from when they first recognized they had a major problem, walk through how they make their way to your firm and eventually become a client.

That last one is sometimes difficult to pin down, so I’ll again use our friend Larry the lean consultant as an example (man, I’m getting some real mileage out of this guy):

“Jane, the plant manager was in charge of a facility that had been doing exceptionally well. However, this year, things started to go downhill, with quality complaints, missed deliveries, and increased costs. First, they tried throwing more labor at the problem, but that just ran up their overtime and didn’t solve the problem. Then they decided to explore investing in new equipment to increase capacity, but the Director of Operations wouldn’t approve the capital. She felt completely stuck, and to be honest afraid she might get laid off or reassigned if things didn’t turn around… until someone from Larry’s firm emailed her about the exact problems they were having and she decided to respond. At first, she was skeptical because they had hired consultants in the past who didn’t deliver results. But after Larry’s initial on-site assessment she was sold on the value of their method, and was thrilled to bring him and his team in to have him lead their effort to get the plant to adopt a lean methodology and get back on track.”

Give this one a solid run through, throw your answers into a Google Doc, and keep it close by.

Next, we’ll establish the final “hoop” that we need your new leads to jump through before speaking with you: your qualification criteria.

P.S. Is there an alternative method you use to identify who your ideal client is that isn’t covered by the questions I’ve listed here?

Email me at and let me know. I’m always interested in new ways of thinking about this.

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