8 Haggis-Filled Ways to Identify Your Hottest Prospects and Stop Wasting Your Time


Knowing when you’re wasting your time is extremely important wouldn’t you agree? And being able to identify where you should spend the majority of your efforts is also incredibly valuable, don’t you think?

When time is short and your to-do list long, working smart is vital. Being able to determine which of your sales prospects are most likely to buy from you and where you should spend your time is crucially important. And it is even more important to identify where your efforts are likely to go unrewarded so you can redirect yourself where you’re most likely to see results.

Painful deaths

Far too many careers have died at the feet of the sales cycle that never completed, that went on for years, that got distracted, went down blind alleys, and got shot out of the water at the last minute by the competition. Or simply faded away. Or perhaps never was in the first place. And when time is money, too many businesses have failed for exactly the same reason.

A fabulous tool for being able to identify your hottest, and coldest, potential clients follows. Remember it by the acronym S.C.O.T.S.M.A.N. The more checks you put in the box next to each of those letters per client, the hotter your prospect is. And, if there are fewer, the colder they are – the less likely it is that he or she will be buying from you in the near future.

Be watchful, aware

Use this information as a guide to where and how to spend your time. Your energy should chase those clients who have more checks next to their name….and perhaps you should evaluate the rest with a wary eye.

For each business deal, individual client, a trainer looking for certification, any opportunity you face, ask yourself the following information. Those questions you can’t answer are the ones you need to raise with your potential client at your next meeting. And how soon that is is dependent on the answers to the questions you can answer – the hotter the prospect, the sooner you should be having a conversation.

1. Solution:

Do we have the right solution for this particular clients situational need?
• Can we supply and support the solution?
• Can it be met within the Six Seconds current portfolio?

2. Competition:

Do we know who the competition is and can we beat them in this situation?
• Do we know who we’re competing against? Could it be lethargy?

3. Originality:

Do we have a unique solution and has our prospect bought into it?
• Can we offer something ‘original’ or unique to this potential sale?

4. Timescale:

Do we know the timing for the desired solution?
• Do we know their timescale?
• Is their timescale reasonable?

5. Size:

How large is the opportunity? Is the price of the deal sufficient for our needs?
• Is the potential order value worth the effort?
• Is our company large enough to handle it?
• Is the potential client of a size that we normally deal with?

6. Money:

Does the client have the money in their budget?
• Is there a budget allocated?
• How much is it? Is it approved?
• Can we provide a decent solution for the budgeted amount?

7. Authority:

Are we talking to the person/people who have the decision-making/purchasing authority
• Is anyone else is involved?

8. Need:

Do we know what our prospective client really needs? What is their business problem?
• Are we aware of all their needs?
• Can we fulfill them?

Seasoned sales veterans will say the last three are the most critical – money, authority, need. Without having a good handle on those three elements, many will walk away or downgrade the prospect drastically.

Selling smart often requires a degree of ruthlessness (or perhaps it is really self-respect.) Whichever, it is certainly a quality necessary to value your business and your time and skills in order to cut through the pleasantries to get to the heart of a business deal. You must honestly evaluate a potential opportunity because otherwise it is all too easy to have comfortable, but ultimately unprofitable, business relationships.


Take some time now to work through this process with each of the client opportunities you are working with.

  1. Work out which questions you have the answers to and which need more clarification.
  2. Then honestly appraise each opportunity and rank them from hottest to coldest.
  3. Identify one concrete action to take each prospect to the next level – hotter or colder. Either way is progress because as long as you understand what you’re dealing with you can allocate your time accordingly.

Do you have questions? Not sure how this fits your clients? Drop me a line at alison.golden@6seconds.org or we can connect via Skype. I am happy to brainstorm ideas with you to move your business along. 🙂


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