The Coach's Corner

Sandbox “Hunters” Game Plan: Do You Know Your “10” When You See It?

December 14th, 2015 // Dan Doescher //

Dan Doescher photo & Sandbox Partners logo

OK, let’s get to the point: They can’t all be “10s.” However, beware of chasing whatever comes along. Defining your perfect target isn’t meant to restrict you; rather, it creates a guideline for determining where to proactively invest your time and resources for hunting, and it acts as a filter for deciding whether you should respond to opportunities that come to you.

Some of the target criteria you’ll want to consider includes:

  1. Determine the product or service providers you already have, or with whom you intend to develop a specialized capability in serving.
  2. What is your potential new customer/client size?
    • Number of employees
    • Number of locations and where they are located
    • Revenue
  3. Think about their culture — the way they do business.
  4. Do you have recurring and/or single-project work?
  5. What work may lead to other opportunities?
  6. Remember that clients of your potential new customer/client may be new opportunities for you.

Part of defining your perfect target includes determining the least desirable target. Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman’s book, The New Strategic Selling, suggests making a list of the following, in the order noted:

  1. Current and past:
    • Best customers/clients
    • Worst customers/clients
  2. Characteristics of the above clients:
    • Best characteristics
    • Worst characteristics
  3. Now define your ideal customer/client from these four lists.

Before you pursue new clients, a next step — and one also recommended by Miller and Heiman — is to review your current customer/client list against your ideal profile. The purpose is to consider whether you should continue these existing relationships. This is a healthy process that you should go through periodically, perhaps every year or so. There may be some clients you should dismiss, and others that you’ll keep after making certain changes to the relationship. Regardless, it helps you focus your limited resources.

With your perfect target defined, a refreshed list of current customers/clients and renewed commitment to serving them, you’re now well-positioned to effectively and efficiently begin hunting for new ones.

Choose your analogy — shotgun or rifle, hurricane or tornado — the more you narrow your definition, the more likely you’ll find your “10.”

Next post: Goldilocks Was On to Something

Tom’s editorial comment: If, while reading this series, you believe Dan could be helpful to your company, please contact him directly at, or 248-701-8787.

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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