Prospecting is an important part of business development.

Businesses, big and small, allocate resources on research that will best help them understand their customer.

What do they need? What are their pain points? How do they find solutions?

Research methodologies would include surveys via phone and email or setting up controlled focus groups. Small scale businesses may have limited resources to fund these types of research.

However, if you know the most important information to gather on prospects, the research method could be simpler and affordable.

Market Psychology: Discovering Who Your Prospects Are

What motivates a consumer to choose one product over another?

According to Nobel Prize winning Psychiatrist, Daniel Kahneman, consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by two types of consciousness: the emotional or intuitive side and the rational side.

To explain further, let’s cite the simple act of buying cereal.

When you get to the aisle section for cereal at the supermarket, you will come across hundreds of different brands of cereal. Even if you narrow down your choice to “bran”, “with raisins”, and “low sugar”, there will still be a good number of brands to consider.

Eventually, most consumers will settle for a popular brand whose image triggers strong emotional cues. These cues could be from childhood; of a good memory having breakfast with Mom and Dad on a Sunday morning.

It is only after you made the purchase that you realize another brand offered a product with lower sugar, more fibre, and vitamins at a lower price.

Kahneman argues that the initial action is influenced by the emotional mind. The product’s branding components: images, music, and text content were able to trigger powerful emotions which compelled you to make the choice. It overpowered the rational mind which would have taken into consideration pricing, list of ingredients, and nutrient breakdown.

It’s the same reason why people still continue to patronize Starbucks even though the coffee chain has been raising its prices the last few years.

Emotional connectivity continues to drive revenues for Disney’s various theme parks. Prices have increased by leaps and bounds but tourists still mark Disneyland as a must-see summer destination.

Thus, when attempting to discover who your prospects are, you should take a psychological approach.

Consumers are basically emotional decision-makers. Your research methodology should find ways and means to uncover the factors that influence their decisions to purchase products or services.

You might be surprised that this approach to researching your prospects will not be time- consuming and expensive.

Getting It Started: Determining Your Prospects’ Wants And Needs

First of all, let’s establish the fact that you are the expert in your business. You know your products and services better than anyone else. You know what their benefits are and how they can be of value to your customers. Likewise, you know what they are made of. You know their strong and weak points.

From there, it should be easier to figure out the types of consumers who would have the most need of your products and services.

For sure you have an idea of who your prospective customer is. You know which attributes would comprise your Buyer’s Persona. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have come up with a business that catered to this specific type of customer.

The next step is to focus on your buyer’s needs and wants.

However, instead of determining “what they need”, you will work on “why they need”. In other words, you will try to discover the motivations and factors that influence their decisions to buy. The purpose is to find out how you can re-direct these motivations and factors toward your own products and services.

To this end, you only need to find the answers to these three questions:

  1. “What attitudes or traits influence the consumption behaviour of my customers?”
  2. “How do my customers feel when they are about to make a purchase?”
  3. “What are the expectations of my customers?”

We can apply these three questions to an entrepreneur who runs a real estate agency in Australia. The entrepreneur can sit down with her team for a brainstorming session and attempt to find out possible answers to these three questions.

For purposes of discussion, let’s assume the group came up with these sets of answers:

  1. “What attitudes or traits influence the consumption behaviour of my customers?”

Our clients believe that Australia remains a good investment opportunity for real estate because of its consistent economic growth, high demand, and favourable interest rates.

  1. “How do my customers feel when they are about to make a purchase?”

Clients feel anxious, nervous, and apprehensive because market prices have remained on the high side for the last few years. Thus, this will be the biggest investment that they will make on real estate.

  1. “What are the expectations of my customers?”

Customers expect a good return on investment although the pay-out period may take longer than usual given current pricing levels.

If the group is confident with its answers to the three questions, it can now apply the message to their marketing content. A good first step is to create a newsletter and email it to the subscribers.

The initial newsletter could attempt to renew confidence in Australia’s property market by presenting pricing trends. To allay fears on price declines, the agency could promote opportunities in lower priced states like Tasmania or in gentrified cities as Canberra.

The agency can then proceed to find out how many subscribers clicked it open and forwarded a response. Revise the newsletter’s content then compare and contrast the performance. Which version elicited the best outcome? Continue testing until you have arrived at the format which generated the best results.

Eventually you will discover the format and content that will successfully build a list of qualified prospects.

17 Most Important Pieces Of Information To Gather On Prospects

Brainstorming is a good way of uncovering all possibilities.

However, you can fine-tune these sessions by providing the bases for the recommendations. Creating a buyer’s persona for you and your team to work with will certainly make the process more productive.

The most effective way to create a buyer’s persona is to gather two types of data: Demographic and Psychographic.

  • Demographic Data

Demographic information refers to specific details about the origins, history, and background of your prospective buyer.

The types of information that you hope to gather should answer the question, “Who is my buyer?” Alternatively, you could also ask the question, “Where do they come from?”

Here are key, important pieces of information that you should gather in order to identify the demographics of your prospects:

  1. What age group comprises the majority of my buyers?
  2. How much do they earn on an annual basis?
  3. Are they predominantly male or female?
  4. Are most of my buyers married or single? If married, how many children do they have on average?
  5. Does my business appeal to local buyers or the international, regional market?
  6. Are my buyers educated? What is their highest educational attainment?
  7. To which social class do they belong?
  8. Are they mostly business- owners, public or private employees?
  9. Do they work from home or in an office?
  10. Do they own a car or do they take public transportation?
  • Psychographic Data

When you gather information on the psychographic profile of your buyer, you are attempting to find out the conditions that support their decisions to purchase.

People have different motivations to buy products and services. They have their own thought processes that enable them to choose one proprietor over another.

Your buyers have their own reasons to choose your business over another. In the same context, you should find out why other consumers choose other businesses over yours.

Here is a list of questions you should ask in order to gather important information on the behavioural or psychographic profile of your buyers:

  1. How do buyers in my industry find information to help them make their purchasing decisions?
  2. Which social media platforms do they prefer to use?
  3. What are their priority considerations when it comes to choosing products or services?
  4. Is sustainability a determining factor in their purchasing decision?
  5. Are they physically active people? Do they engage in regular exercise?
  6. Do they do comparisons by reading reviews and taking note of user recommendations?
  7. Do they buy out of pleasure? Or do they buy in order to help improve their business?


Clearly, you can still add questions to our list. You should customize information gathering to suit the profile of your prospects. However, the key takeaway is that you can qualify your prospects without having to spend a lot of money on the usual research methodologies.

After all, as the expert in your business, you already know who your buyer is. Information gathering is simply a way to qualify your buyer so that you can fine-tune your marketing strategy and generate better results.