The Usual Suspects

If you are in a telephone based sales role making high volume calls it can be easy to lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. By creating and applying a template, a potential customer can be benchmarked against your template to:

  • See how attractive it is likely to be
  • Check whether work is worth pursuing
  • Decide what sort of activity needs to be undertaken
  • Decide how much activity needs to be undertaken

This is undertaken by screening ‘suspects’ against a number of preset template criteria to see if they ‘qualify’ for further attention and be worth considering as prospective customers (‘prospects’).

Another comparison against templates created to reflect ideal customers (example) will give many clues as to how to progress. Focus can be given to where success has been achieved in adding value, and the type of customer most suited to this type of work.

By knowing how and where to add value, following analysis of fit against such templates, further models can be used to both create a suitable proposition to the customer, and to map out ways in which to achieve this. Also, by feeding information back into the template criteria, all “examples” will be continually improved, yielding more insightful data.


  1. Check that suspect fulfils ‘qualification criteria’
  2. See how suspect fits against template of ideal customers (example)
  3. Decide selling strategy
  4. Assign appropriate activity
  5. Define value example


  • An amount of information has to be processed to see if the suspect will become a prospective customer (‘prospect’). This can be done by accessing the following criteria to assess the suitability of forming a business relationship:
    Money: the ability to afford your proposition
    Authority: the ability to authorise purchase
    Need: wants, needs, desires that you can tune into
    Timescale: they will buy in the time that suits your objectives
    Competition: they are suggestible to working with you
  • A more sophisticated method of both ‘qualifying’ the suspect and deciding on the next steps is by making a comparison against the example. This is essentially a ‘perfect’ customer. Where you have previously checked the value and can use that knowledge to ‘model’ and effective sales proposition.
  • With a fit established it is possible to focus on the message that needs to be communicated to the prospect, otherwise known as the ‘value proposition’. It should also now be easier to predict the activity that needs to be undertaken to achieve what will ideally become a shared vision of how you can help the prospect organisation.

People who need to develop their sales skills on the telephone, build better relationships with customers, and more effectively promote products or services by telephone would benefit from attending our Winning Business By Telephone programme.