Do you think of clients as an alien species?

Even though I work in what is referred to as a “service” industry, my colleagues and many of the other people I come across think of prospecting for clients as some sort of nightmare they would do anything to avoid.  At best it is viewed as a necessary evil – something unpalatable but unavoidable. I have often wondered why?  Have their past experiences been so unpleasant?  Are they just scared of being rejected?  Do they think of clients as an alien species?

And rather surprisingly I have discovered that indeed they do think of potential clients as some sort of breed apart that has to be carefully unearthed and ‘handled’.  But potential clients are in fact just people that you need to get to know.  They do all the things that you and your colleagues do and can be found wherever normal people hang out.

I know some of you still suspect this is not quite true, but let’s agree for a moment that clients are indeed professionals or managers who work for an organization. The starting point in prospecting for them is simply to place yourself in the same places.  So, where are you at any given moment?

  1. Working at your desk
  2. Attending a meeting
  3. Talking to someone in the office
  4. Talking to someone on the phone
  5. Corresponding with someone by email (or postal mail)
  6. Commuting to or from work
  7. At the gym
  8. Eating at restaurant
  9. Having a drink at coffee shop or bar
  10. Attending a business function
  11. Taking a class
  12. Participating in a sports or leisure activity
  13. Going to church
  14. Attending an entertainment or cultural event
  15. At home with your family
  16. At the home of a friend or relative
  17. Driving somewhere

I am sure you will be able to think of a few others places and activities but the point is that your potential clients will be doing exactly the same things.

When you refocus and look at prospecting in this way the many opportunities for you to find prospect just jumps out!  Your prospective clients spend a significant percentage of their time either talking to other people or gathering in public places. When they are not doing one of those things, they are usually at their home or office and even these places can be “found” with a little detective work.

So, finding these people called clients really boils down to three possible activities:

  1. Talking to people who can put you in touch with clients.
  2. Going to places where clients gather so you can meet them in person.
  3. Getting names, phone numbers, and email addresses of clients you can call or write.

None of these are difficult and they do not deserve the loathing that prospecting for clients attracts.  If you want to improve your prospecting start the process with a simple description of who your ideal clients are. The more specific you can get, the better. For example:

  • HR Managers in growing midsize companies
  • Marketing Directors for health care providers
  • Small business owners in the Nairobi CBD
  • Midlife professionals in career transition

Then use your description to ask everyone you know these three questions:

  • Do you know any _____ you can introduce me to?
  • Do you know someone who knows lots of _____?
  • Do you know any places where many _____ go?

For many professionals, just that one step will provide you with enough names and places to keep you busy for quite some time. Just keep talking to people and going to places where clients gather. As long as you keep asking the same three questions of every person you meet, your prospect list will continue to grow.

And remember – clients are people like you and me.

Written by:

JANE DELORIE   |    Principal Consultant



It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. Marketing is not a battle of products; it’s a battle of perceptions” ~Al Ries & Jack Trout

The word brand originally referred to the mark burned onto livestock to set the animal apart as being the property of a particular owner. It this instance it provides a unique identifier, often in the form of a symbol, that protects the rights of the property owner. On some ranches and farms this form of branding still occurs but the marketing profession has effectively hijacked the term and made it their own.

Early marketers used the word brand in much the same way as the livestock owner –referring merely to the trademark, logo or slogan associated with the product. Nowadays brand is a lot harder to define. It is more intrinsic than extrinsic, and its value is in the position it holds in the consumers mind rather than the physical attributes of the product.

Although today’s brand is intangible, just like the livestock of earlier days, it is an asset and can have great value, contributing to the overall worth of the company that owns it. Marketing managers who invest in developing their brand, create and build customer loyalty. This in turn creates demand and allows for higher margins – exactly what most producers are looking for.

Customers like brands because they believe they know what to expect from them. It makes choice easier and the consumer feels knowledgeable and more secure. This is particularly important in complex buying scenarios. [read more – Branding by Jane Delorie – 111K – PDF]

Related Links



In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization.“ ~WIKIPEDIA

While branding and positioning are closely related they are very different animals. Branding is the place your company or product occupies in the mind of your customer. It is the emotional connection your customer has with your organization and as such belongs to the consumer even though you make have make great efforts to inform and shape it.

Positioning is what you own and control. It is the way you want your organisation or product to be perceived, relative to the needs of your target customers and the positions claimed by your competition. It is developed by you and it is up to you to communicate it to your audience. Good positioning is:

  • simple
  • focused
  • unique / differentiating (two objects cannot occupy the same space)
  • better to be first than best
  • translates into clever “tag lines”

[read more – Positioning by Jane Delorie – 120K – PDF]

Related Links