Back to the List

How to Instantly Identify Hot Consulting Prospects

Finding people to meet is easy. They’re all around you. Heck, swarms of happy citizens are blowing their mad-money at the carnival a few miles from your house. A prospective buyer or two may even be wandering the midway, but good luck identifying them. (And do you want to shake their hands sticky from cotton-candy or who-knows-what? Blech.)


Meeting folks who are apt to hire you is tougher. You’re looking for hot prospects. But who are they, and how do you get an introduction? Your current clients don’t know who else is going to need your services, which is one reason the traditional, “Who do you know who needs what I offer” request flops most of the time.

Life will be easier when every executive wears a beanie with a high-intensity LED indicating their likelihood to hire a consultant. I’ve patented the beanie, but getting executives to wear them is proving more difficult. In the meantime, you’ll need to settle for some sort of behavioral marker. An indicator that allows you and the people you know to quickly pinpoint high-potential prospects.

Fortunately, there is such a marker. Consider the following two executives, both of whom are absolutely real and work at that Fortune 500 company you’ve heard about in the news:

Sarah Slugforbrains plods through her days. She slowly rose to her current position as VP thanks to her reliability and remarkable ability to avoid career-stopping blunders.

Philip Phastlane, on the other hand, is on fire. He’s young, dynamic and creative. His meteoric rise to VP has been fueled by his boundless drive and total unwillingness to accept the status quo as good enough.

Phil is far more likely to be looking for outside perspective and help. He’s also far more likely to create a reason for you to work together if you build a relationship with him. Active, provocative, rule breakers are starting projects, launching initiatives and enlisting others to transform their vision into reality.

In other words, if you want a hot prospect, look for explosions.   

“Explosive” people stand out like a clown on stilts. They’re easy for your current clients to remember and identify. Your friends and clients have no clue who needs your services, but they definitely know who in their company or industry is making waves.


Plus, when everything around that explosive person has been blown to smithereens, someone’s asking “Now what?” and that’s your cue to jump in with some consulting.

That’s why my standard request for introductions sounds like this:

I love meeting interesting people. Who have you run into recently that’s intriguing, creating change or shaking things up?”

That language generates far more success than the traditional appeal for introduction and, better yet, it yields hot prospects. Exactly what you’re looking for.

Are there other markers you use to easily find hot prospects? Share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll write back.



  1. Jeff Chatterton
    June 1, 2016 at 6:28 am Reply

    LOVE this. It makes total sense and is way more memorable to boot.

    • David A. Fields
      June 1, 2016 at 7:11 am Reply

      Excellent, Jeff. Memorable is half the battle, right? Let me know about the hot prospects that jump onto your contact list.

  2. Lacey
    June 1, 2016 at 7:10 am Reply

    Advanced sales professionals and business consultants who are dead serious about leveraging their expertise and expanding their brand’s reach via premium business books or business mastermind content.

    That’s who I call out in my value proposition. That’s who I ask for when being reciprocated for key info / connections / online PR I’ve shared. I ask critical questions that force experts to finally perceive the value of authorship via either of the above-mentioned platforms.

    “You’re an expert? Great! Where can I find your book(s)? Amazon? Books-a-Million? Oh, you’re not published? Well, where can I sit in on your mastermind group or where can I hear you speak? You don’t lead any masterminds or do public speaking? Well, how are you leveraging your expertise?”

    Great to catch up on your blog, David. I’ve been missing your perspective.

    • David A. Fields
      June 1, 2016 at 7:21 am Reply

      I love that your “marker” is self-fulfilling. Your contacts remember hot prospects because they’re visible (through books or masterminds), which is the very reason they’re hot prospects. That’s outstanding, Lacey. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Neil
    June 1, 2016 at 8:48 am Reply

    Thought provoking David. When meeting with a prospect how can you quickly determine if you are meeting with a Philip or Sarah?

    • David A. Fields
      June 1, 2016 at 9:14 am Reply

      Neil, if someone starts sharing their vision for change, (s)he’s a “Phil.” On the other hand, if the person just talks about their tasks, to-do lists, and everyday challenges, (s)he’s more like to be a “Sarah.” I recommend you don’t address the person as Slugforbrains, though. (That’s a bonus tip.) Thanks for the question, Neil.

      • Jaime Campbell
        June 1, 2016 at 9:49 am Reply

        Ah, thanks for the conversational marker!

        • David A. Fields
          June 1, 2016 at 9:52 am

          You’re welcome, Jaime. As with all business development conversations, the key is focusing on THEM, not you. That way you can pick up on markers like whether they have vision and are change agents.

  4. Paul Donehue
    June 1, 2016 at 9:43 am Reply

    Good advice, David. True to form, it is concise and simple – but not necessarily easy!

    • David A. Fields
      June 1, 2016 at 9:48 am Reply

      Simple but not easy is why we consultants keep getting work, right? In this case, I think the request script I gave above isn’t too difficult to pull off. It just takes a bit of practice. Good to hear from you, Paul.

  5. Kymberly Tindall
    June 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply


    Thank you for this post. I ask a similar question when I talk to existing or completed clients. This context, however, will allow me to ask it with a slightly different tone and end result in mind.

    • David A. Fields
      June 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm Reply

      Great, Kymberly. Let me know how the new context and tone work out for you.

Leave а Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Article

10.5 Must-Use Resources for Consultants

Next Article

Read This! The Secret to Writing & Speaking that Creates Buzz


Subscribe to receive insiders’ access to information and resources that will help you grow your consulting firm.

Note: By subscribing you are confirming that you have read and agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. You are also confirming your consent to receive emails from David about his articles, programs and recommendations.

Firm Type