How to turn suspects into prospects into clients

We all know the proverb – “You can`t see the wood for the trees.” This can also relate to the markets we operate in. All people we view to be prospects for our business will not turn into paying clients, because they might have been suspects all along.

Confused? Let me explain my perspective:

  • A suspect is an individual who is part of the whole population of consumers i.e. everybody. They might not be “in the market” for your product or service.
  • A prospect is an individual in a niche market, who has an interest or need for your product or service.
  • A client is an individual who has decided to take you up on your service or product offer.

Our challenge in business is to target our marketing message and associated marketing elements (advertisements, online messaging, articles, e-books etc.) to a “willing and able” niche market.

We need to cut through the clutter to develop a clearly defined picture of who our real target audience is. The following examples of elements can be considered to help you on your way to define your niche market(s):

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnic background
  • Language
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Employment status (business owner/employee/retired)
  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Needs preferences
  • Unique challenges
  • Place of residence

By spending enough time in defining your unique niche market(s), you can save a lot of effort and money, because you would have eliminated the suspects from your marketing endeavors. Sow your seeds on fertile ground (niche market) and reap the rewards (sales) of your efforts.


The content in this article was provided by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across a number of selected global markets.

For more information, contact:


Tel: 0860 726 526

Contact form:

No votes yet