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Dream Clients vs. Prospects

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
June 7, 2010

Much of what has been written here focuses on what we as professional salespeople do and how we can improve, including the foundational attributes required to succeed, the foundational attributes and skills required of sales professionals, and the behaviors that enable success in the daily actions we take to win deals and manage our client’s outcomes.

One of the primary determinants of your success in sales is where you spend your time and whom you spend it with. I use the term “Dream Client” to suggest something more than the idea of a prospect. It means something more than qualified, and more than simply a company that meets your target criteria.

There are differences between Prospects and Dream Clients. Those differences are stark. You have to decide which to pursue, and those differences make all the difference in your results.

Prospect or Dream Client?

Prospects spend money on your product or service. Dream Clients use your product or service as part of their operating strategy.

Prospects need a vendor or a supplier. Dream Clients need a strategic partner who they rely on to create value in a way that makes them more competitive.

Prospects are companies that meet your company’s minimum target requirements. Dream Clients more than meet your company’s minimum target criteria AND they are dissatisfied in a way that fits your company’s sweet spot for creating value.

Prospects are companies for whom you can provide your product or service. Dream Clients are companies for whom you can do mind-blowing, game-changing work that generates results beyond anything they could have imagined.

Prospects don’t want spend time with professional salespeople because they only need a vendor and don’t expect or intend to create any real value beyond the purchase of a commodity. Dream Clients want (and need) to spend time with you because they expect and intend to create strategic outcomes they couldn’t achieve without a strong partner.

Prospects are only concerned about price, and are always open to entertaining a new vendor who might be able to reduce their price. Dream Clients are concerned about a value-creating relationship, and are already using one of your competitors as a strategic partner; they are not very easily convinced to replace their strategic partner and are difficult to penetrate even for a lower price.

Prospects aren’t interested in pursuing new ideas, even ideas that could create massive improvements for them. Dream Clients are open to new ideas, new ways of creating value, and new ways to make themselves more competitive in their own industry.

Prospects are companies that need a salesperson to who knows their own business. A Dream Client is a company that needs a salesperson that knows their own business who knows the Dream Client’s business, and who can leverage their business acumen to make real and measurable business improvements.

Prospects are companies who, no matter how much value you might create, are focused solely on price. Dream Clients are companies that need a better result and are willing to allow you to create a greater financial result and to allow you to keep part of what you created.


In meeting your individual sales activity goals, it is easy to call on prospects who are willing to give you their time. But this report fodder does nothing to generate results for you, for your company, or for these prospects. Salespeople are better served by focusing their time and attention on Dream Clients, the companies for whom they can create tremendous, game-changing results. These points will help you to tell them apart.


    1. Do you spend most of my time calling on Prospects or Dream Clients?
    1. Do you have a plan to nurture the relationships you need in order to win your Dream Clients when they become dissatisfied?
    1. Are the groups of prospects you are calling on singularly focused on price?
    1. What keeps you from calling on and spending time with your Dream Clients?
    1. How would your results be improved if you doubled the time you spent prospecting for new Dream Clients and eliminated the same time from calling on Prospects?
    1. What are some of the other differences between Prospects and Dream Clients?

Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 7, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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