How To Get A Prospect's Attention

Woman At A Conference

Most people have filters they create to sort through the noise coming into their lives.

Derek Sivers wrote a great article on filters 20 years ago. The context of his article was the music industry.

It’s about how unsuccessful artists often only approach places in the industry where they won’t be rejected. Those that succeed often go where they get rejected and keep learning how to improve until they are accepted.

In the business world, you’re going to be rejected many times if you’re reaching out for new sales.

Businesses are bombarded with sales pitches. They filter out most of them, but do pay attention to the ones that stand out. The ones that get their attention.

So the question becomes – how do you get the attention of prospects?

The Wrong Attention

The movie, Tommy Boy, is a great look into the business marketing and sales world. Tommy knows that he’s under-qualified in sales. He knows he’s going to be rejected. Even by current customers. But he knows he has to figure it out or the family business will go under.

At first, Tommy tries all kinds of stuff. He tries to get attention in all kinds of negative ways including setting fire in the office of one client.

Tommy definitely demands attention. He’s memorable. No prospect will forget him. But obviously not all attention leads to sales, which is what it’s all about.

Here are a few tips for getting attention the right way…

#1. Standard Is Still Important

It’s very rare that a prospect is going to go totally out of the box to hire you. Most want to see that you’re basically the same as others in the industry. Your competition.

Standard enough to be safe, but different enough to provide a little advantage or a little reason to choose you over the other guy.

This goes for all your communication with prospects. Emails, phone calls, direct mail and in person. It should be pretty standard. Not too flashy or different. You might stand out that way, but not always in a good way.

Follow the basic structures and standards with communication. Make the prospect comfortable, but then go one step beyond.

#2. Go One Step Beyond

One step beyond shows the prospect the reason they should go with you. It could be any number of things. Maybe it’s a slightly different way to create a pitch email. Or a little bit different structure to the phone call.

Here are a couple of ways to take it one more step than the competition…

#3. Personality

Not manufactured. Discovered.

What makes you a unique person? We’re all pretty much the same, but we all have subtle differences.

Our personality, hobbies, accents and a whole lot more.

Do some self-analysis. Try to figure out who you are. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or someone you think will win over the competition.

You’re better off embracing who you are and using that to attract customers. And when you do then it will be a natural fit. Longer term customers.

When you know your personality, let it show in your communication with prospects. Talk the way you talk. Share the occasional personal story. About your hobbies or whatever it is you do.

Human communication is about sharing stories. A balanced give and take with the other person. That makes us memorable to others in good ways.

#4. Customization

Maybe not for each individual prospect. Say you look at current clients and realize you have a large proportion in the same industry. Create projects, surveys, etc. in this industry that creates data you can use when pitching other companies in this industry.

It will be custom, but won’t take as much time as customizing a pitch for individual companies. You’re taking it one step further than those that pitch the same thing to every company, no matter the industry.

#5. Honesty

Just building on the idea of being yourself, honesty is always best. About you, your team and your company. Don’t embellish what your product or service can accomplish. Don’t make commitments you can’t keep. Even something as simple as saying you’ll get back to the prospect in a day and it becomes two or three…

Be as honest as possible with prospects. This way you can build trust. You might lose a few, but the ones you win will be long-term customers. And you’ll probably attract much more than you think.


Attention is a tricky thing in the business world. It’s not something all of us do well in all kinds of situations. Some of us are good mingling in small crowds. We make good introductions and conversations. We’re memorable.

Others are memorable for the wrong reasons.

As you reach out to prospects, make sure you’re aiming to be memorable in the right ways. Use the tips here to help.

Dayne Shuda
Dayne Shuda
Dad, husband, golfer, and bow hunter. Owner of Ghost Blog Writers.