The SDR™ Mindset: Defining “Suspects” v.”Prospects”

By July 8, 2014 July 22nd, 2014 Business Development, Entreprenuership

In our last blog, we introduced to you the concept of Shortest Distance to Revenue™ (SDR™), a business and financial forecasting tool for managing time, expectations and ROI in the sales process. We explained why (SDR™) is a mindset, a behavior, a way of looking at any opportunity as, well, an opportunity. It’s being honest to yourself and realizing that not all opportunities are equal. SDR™ forces a way of proactive thinking and control by promoting the ease in buying, increasing your chance to win, and win more often. We also touched upon the “two compelling moments” in a the sales cycle and introduced you to Suspects and Prospects.

In Part 2 of our series, we’re going to dive a little deeper into what those two compelling moments. We are going to define what a “suspect” is and how they compare to prospects in a sales cycle. Inclusive to (SDR™) are Suspects, Prospects and Clients. A Suspect becomes a client through behavior, not promises.


A suspect is a pre-determined target that you “think” you want as a client, however they may not be. A suspect would be an opportunity in which your 120-90 days out and they have expressed some interest in working with you, however they have 5 other companies they are looking at as well. A suspect is an opportunity of which you don’t have too much information on, or they weren’t referred by one of your referral sources. Suspects only become prospects when they’ve  provided you with the clear commitment to proceed in one or more steps forward in the sales process. Suspects remain suspects when their words and promises do not match their actions, or non-action, up to the very end of the sales process.

A prospect, on the other hand, is when a suspect has moved forward in the sales cycle and clearly indicates they are interested and want to know more. A prospect can also be a solid opportunity, one that you’ve vetted yourself or you have a clear connection to through a referral source. The trust is already there and the process to close is shorter. How do you identify a suspect vs. a prospect? There are two compelling moments in the sales cycle that help to determine this.

Compelling moment #1: A prospect is a suspect that gives you clear direction to move one or more steps forward in the sales process or cycle. Period! There is no grey area, it’s black and white. They either do or they do not. As you can see, in this compelling moment, you could make the fatal error of allowing hope to take over. Now you have lied to yourself about the genuine opportunity.

Compelling moment #2: When the “prospect” (who may have been a suspect all along) either decides against you, or worse, appears they will never make a decision. The latter are told respectfully they’ll have to buy from someone else and are sent to the  “suspect parking lot” for another time. ROI can’t include a waste of time and resources!

Hope in a sales effort is a four letter word, helping buyers buy defines success. Being close to winning counts, that’s called experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay the rent. So how to get a suspect to a prospect is about qualifying and qualifying again and again, at every contact.

Ultimately, forecasting, guessing and or worse “hoping” a suspect will become a prospect is simply lying to yourself and is failure.

Contact us today and learn how BigFish Consulting can help guide you on the pursuit of new revenue!

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