How To Identify Prospect Clients

How To Identify Prospect Clients

How to identify prospect clients is key to our business. When we run a business, we need to create a pipeline of prospect clients that we want to work with and help them and their businesses.

The question is threefold:

1. How do we get prospect clients?
2. Where do we get those prospect clients from?
3. How do we identify them?

How To Identify Prospect Clients

Grading Criteria

Let us look at this from a grading point of view. We need to identify a criterion of who we want to act for. When we first start up in practice we might want to act for anyone who can sign a cheque to pay a bill. Over time, we begin to find that we have a specialism in certain areas. We find that we work better in certain sectors, other than industry sectors for example, and so our criteria builds and evolves over time.

How To Decide On Your Criteria

1. Profitability

You need to have two criteria. A and B. The criteria would be made up in terms of how you would see it. For me, I most often see some form of turnover or profitability range. I prefer the term of profitability because the more profitable a business, often the less urgency they have got to do anything, so changing accountants is not necessarily top of their list. You can make more of an impact on a business if they have a great business but they have issues that you can solve. If they have an urgency to solve those issues then you will have a much greater perceived value to them.

2. Turnover

You can consider your criteria to be within a certain turnover range. You might want a million pound plus business, you might want a half a million-pound business, in whatever currency you choose.

3. Geography

You might need the business to be in a certain geographical location.

4. Industry

You might want those businesses you seek to be involved in certain industry sectors.

5. Directorship

You might want to consider the age and experience profile of the CEO or Managing Directors.

You might have a number of preferences, so I would ask you to build a criteria or checklist for these preferences. You need to start by deciding if they are a Grade A or Grade B client, using the variety of criteria above. You can begin to set your own criteria as you understand what is important to you and your business.

The Next Step

Once you have that information, then you need to know where to look. If you want a strong manufacturing business then research on LinkedIn to find strong manufacturing LinkedIn groups to be part of.

We might want to purchase database lists from data providers that allow us to get a full list of the types of businesses that we can serve best. We can perform a search on other platforms of Social Media. We can become involved in our local Chamber of Commerce and obtain a member list and discover those businesses that are best suited to us there.

There are different ways in which we can identify the prospects, but it really starts when you begin targeting. If you can imagine in your area, wherever you are in the world, there are thousands and thousands of businesses. Not all of them are for you and you are not a great fit for all of them.

How to Find the Right Businesses

So, let us start by finding out the best of the best, the cream of the crop and take those thousands of businesses down to hundreds or evens tens of businesses and start to work on them. That is where you will create the most impact and that is where there will be the greatest case for owners of those businesses to consider changing to you.


We have made a plan of how to begin to find the businesses in our region or industry. We need to create our criteria and bring in the data from our research and identify businesses that we would want to work with.

Once we have our list, we can decide which businesses we would want to approach and how to approach them. For the next step, read How To Progress Your Prospect Without Being a Pushy Salesman to move your prospect to the next stage.

For more help and guidance on how you can identify your prospect clients consider the Addviser+ courseĀ How To Build A New Client Pipeline, which provides insights and techniques to identify and build your prospect client pipeline.

Author: Martin Bissett

Martin Bissett is a premiere level consultant, author, and keynote speaker for the accounting profession worldwide. He founded the Upward Spiral Partnership Ltd., a UK-based consulting firm that specializes in implementation of business development and leadership skills for superior quality accounting professionals. Browse Martin's courses OR