Suspects, Prospects, Customers, Clients, and Partners

Andrew Wood
4 min readNov 22, 2022

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. — OPRAH WINFREY

I group people with whom I do business into one of five categories. I am interested in all of them since you need all to succeed, but I am most interested in the last category because it’s not only the most profitable, it’s the most personally and professionally satisfying.


These are people you suspect might like to do business with you. You identify them because of some factor: They may live in your local area, receive a certain magazine, or be on a list that might make them look like possible prospects. Online , they might frequent the same chat rooms and discussion boards you do.


Prospects are people who essentially put up their hands and say, YES, I’m looking for a new place to eat, a carpenter, dance school, or new car. They have the need for whatever product or service you might provide.


Customers are people who buy from you occasionally, maybe even quite often, but they see you primarily as a vendor. They have no special connection to you or your business and might just as easily shop down the street.


Clients are people who buy from you repeatedly. They like you. They may be interested in your advice or comments on how to best use your product, or form a deeper relationship with your company. They will most likely refer you to others and some should be cultivated further into partners.


Partners work for the good of both parties. I call all of my customers partners because that’s really the only type of customer I want. Truly though, only a handful really are partners. Few of your customers and clients will ever become true partners either. They will say they are, they may even want to be, but they are not.

In my marketing business, when a partner is truly involved with us it results in the mutual success of both businesses. We refer business to them, and…



Andrew Wood

Author & Marketing Legend with over 50 books :I write on: Marketing, Travel, Sales, Success, Biz, Leadership, Golf, Autos, Books, Events