No more ‘prospects’?

“When you stop calling people ‘targets’ or ‘prospects’ and start calling them ‘guests’ or ‘citizens’, you can’t help but become a little more humble and a little more respectful. Try it, it works.”

Thus spoke Seth Godin today.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I remember hearing a guy one time talk about how close he was to his uncle, and how he could walk right in his home through the back door any time of the day.

    Yet when it came time to talk to his uncle about his network marketing business, he put on a suit and tie and went to the front door and knocked!

    Paul Eilers

  • It seems we are building relationships by providing an answer to somenone’s problem. From Ms Stud, I have learned that maybe 1 out 100 will do this business,that is okay to let go of the 9 out 10 who won’t buy, and that how I say or present my business and products matter.

  • Doh! How could I have missed this? It sooo obvious when pointed out.

    Prospect = $. The word completely dehumanizes the person. In the 1800’s people went out and prospected for gold. That is, they went out in search of money. We view the act of prospecting the same today. When someone speaks of prospects, he is talking about going out and making money.

    A prospect is a thing, nothing more.

    A guest is someone you invite into your home or along on some event. Completely different image.

    Let there be no more prospects. Instead, let there be guests, friends, real living breathing people. People with wants and needs who may or may not want or need what I have. I don’t know that until I reach out and build a relationship with them.

    My name is Connelly and I’m your friend.

  • When you stop calling them anything all together and give them what they want, who needs labels? Brand yourself, let people get to know you and they will come to you. The only time you have “prospects” or “targets” is when you are chasing people.

    Put yourself out there and give people great info so they will come to YOU, not the other way around. It works wonders. That’s one reason I haven’t had time to post here as much as I used to. I have found a number of ways to get people to come to me. Much more rewarding. People get to know me through the things I’ve written and created on the internet and the information I give them. They call or email me and ask to join me. It’s been a learning process to get to this point, but now I’m teaching others to do the same and it’s awesome.


  • Dear Bloggers,

    Isn’t it amazing how the human mind can turn almost anything that it wants to into an item of worship? Object or concept, tangible or abstract; we sure can make a religion out of it. In this case The Godin Church of Marketing.

    Pardon me for being such a sinner, but I don’t call people by names or labels to be condescending, but rather to differentiate. Whether I refer to a person as a customer, prospect, client, referral, potential business partner, lead, target market, guest, citizen or their given name has no bearing on how I truly feel about them. Of course whenever I speak of or to a person in public I prefer to use the simple and powerful label known as their name.

    Does Seth really mean to imply that if Roxanne accompanied me to a group presentation or on a conference call that I would introduce her to a colleague as “my prospect Roxanne” rather than my guest or visitor Roxanne?

    This to me would be plain social and business dumbness. Have we not heard that the sweetest sound to anyone is the sound of their own name? I practice this principle religiously and habitually. Tell me why sales professionals and clergy are among the few that think it important to learn and remember a person’s name.

    Just yesterday at dinner I asked my server his name. He said, “ My name is Richard.” From then on he was not my waiter, he was Richard. It costs nothing extra to show a people respect by learning and using their name.

    I heard a great definition for prospecting and that is, “the act of searching for something of value.” Back to my earlier example: should I be discussing the meeting with the presenter after the fact, I might tell the presenter that my ‘prospect’ Roxanne thought he did an awesome job. I differentiated Roxanne as someone of value and in no way diminished her importance as a person. Besides, this was not spoken in her presence.

    I am sorry, Seth, but I can quietly love or hate people regardless of what I call them.

    Pass the plate please,

    Tom Doiron

  • Tom —

    I think the idea Seth was putting out is that the words we use for others are words that work from “our” point of view – prospects is what most everyone calls those people who we’re calling or emailing about the business.

    How many people would call themselves by that name?

    “My name is Kim. I am a prospect.”


    It’s more, I believe, about humanizing the people we don’t know, before we start calling or contacting them, so that we treat them less like a money object, you know?

    That’s what most marketers do – reach out to others via email, ads, calls, etc. and this comment was for them first.

    Bringing awareness to this little attitude marketers have about those to whom they plan to market or sell their wares, is a good thing.


  • Dear Kim,

    Yes I agree.

    But isn’t it sad that marketers need to be reminded that people aren’t objects. They are flesh and blood with feelings and emotions that thrive on love and respect.

    Sorry Kim, but sometimes the approach to the issue seems so intellectual that the heart is missing. One would think that folks had learned how to treat others before they got to marketing school. I will say that for some, the lesson is beyond their grasp.

    Perhaps Seth is a bit of a missionary like you.

    I have seen ‘professional’ salespeople get angry with a person when they said ‘no’. My wife’s former favorite car salesman did that to her once while I was with her.

    How do you like to be treated,

    Tom Doiron

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