The Coach's Corner

Sandbox “Hunters” Game Plan: Goldilocks Was On to Something

December 21st, 2015 // Dan Doescher //

Dan Doescher photo & Sandbox Partners logo

You’re confident you’ll know your “10” — that perfect potential new customer/client —when you see it, because you’ve taken the time to define your target. The real test, however, is figuring out where you can find your 10 —or even the 7s, 8s or 9s. Given the many ways to hunt, consider experimenting until you determine the most effective and efficient approach for your business and your team.

Brainstorming with team members who are in any way involved in the hunting process, including the inside administrative members, can be extremely useful. With your ideal target profile in clear view, consider:

What companies, both generically and as far as specific names, best meet your criteria? Aspects to consider include:

  1. Specific industries and/or professions — this may include those where you currently have or where you plan to have specialization.
  2. Their location, if you’re trying to expand geographically.
  3. Their size. While they can’t all be “10s,” Goldilocks had the right idea: she tested the porridge, chairs and beds until she found the one that was “just right.”

Where do you find your target? This can be daunting, so break it down:

  1. Generally, the narrower the field, the more difficult it is to connect.  Experiment with a mix of both broad and narrow efforts.
  2. Associations, community service organizations and clubs can provide networking opportunities.

Who are the likely influencers and/or decision-makers?

  • Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman, in The New Strategic Selling, identify four potential influencers:
    1. Economic influencers — they have the final say.
    2. Users — they can kill a deal, but not close it.
    3. Technical influencers — they can keep a deal from getting to the Users, but they can’t close it.
    4. Coaches — they want you to close the deal, and they can provide some leverage.
  • Current “loyal” customers/clients — with the emphasis on “loyal.” These individuals aren’t likely to refer you if they’re not completely delighted. Following up to ensure they’re pleased is a great way to entrench your existing relationships.
  • Referral sources — don’t overlook some unsuspecting places! There’s more there than you may think:
    1. All your staff
    2. Current suppliers and service providers
    3. Family and friends

If you want new customers/clients, the key is for people — all of the people you know, or at least most of the people you know — to understand you’re “open for new business.” Equally important is something my dad taught me. I heard it hundreds of times, and it’s had a distinct and profound impact on my life: “Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no.”

Next post: “First, I Look at the Purse,” Motown’s The Contours

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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The Advisor’s Corner

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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