One of my friends is dating online. Currently, she’s despondent, confused and depressed.

The way I see it, online dating is like managing a sales system.  You pour a bunch of suspects into the top of your funnel and take steps to weed out all but qualified leads.  You talk to/ meet with the most compelling of them and through some strange mixture of art and science called dating all the while trying to ascertain if you are both advancing down the funnel.  By the time you get to closing the deal, you need to feel very confident that you’ve now got a true fan who wants to do all his business with you forever amen! (which eliminates acquisition costs of a new lead yet could create other cost centres!).   

A number of years ago, during an online dating spree, I seriously contemplated creating a spreadsheet to manage my dating territory.  Things came to a head when I ambitiously started corresponding with three different Steves.  So overwhelmed was I that I started dreaming that I was talking to Steve #1 as if he was Steve #2 etc..a nightmare for a normally organized sales director.   

Seth’s post this a.m. asks us to consider this hierarchy:

Strangers, Friends, Listeners, Customers, Sneezers, Fans and True Fans. One true fan is worth perhaps 10,000 times as much as a stranger. And yet if you’re in search of strangers, odds are you’re going to mistreat a true fan in order to seduce yet another stranger who probably won’t reward you much.

Acquiring clients is not much different than online dating. In fact, it’s much easier because many people can fit an ideal client profile while few will fit an ideal husband profile. 

My dating friend is finding out the hard way.  Playing a numbers game has her feeling like she’s been through the ringer with no true fans in sight.

But she’s got a new strategy, now.  It’s more art than science.  She’s forgoing the idea of “kissing” a thousand strangers in favour of paying more attention to those who could become true fans.   

If your business soars when you take care of your true fans, you might want to think about who you are kissing too.


  1. Amy on May 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm


    So funny! Just last night we were talking with a friend about Seth Godin and his thoughts on having “True Fans” and that you actually don’t want or need everyone to be your fan. It reminds me of an exercise I was recently introduced to about determining your ideal client (could apply to partner or mate, etc…) and really narrowing this for yourself, ruthlessly!

    It sounds like the shift in your friends perspective might a freshness and hope to her dating experience. I would add too that the process of dating can truly clarify things for a person and allow you to practice and make mistakes and learn about yourself along the way! And for me it helped me to truly stick to my guns and find my “true fan”!

    Tanks for this great post.
    ~Amy ox

    • Lisa on May 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      Amy, as you are a relationship coach it’s great to have your perspective. I agree that dating is a wonderful way to practice (the equivalent in business would be having qualification meetings to see if there is a fit; in coaching it is the sample session). And it’s fantastic news that sticking to your guns is what lead you to your true fan in life.

  2. Amy on May 24, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Clearly I need someone else to proofread my posts!

    And, I would add that there were times for me when dating was discouraging and I just wanted to give up. Which meant I had to find ways to re-commit to the process and myself which could be challenging! As a relationship coach I am often working with people through each aspect of dating. And, we are all unique (to state the obvious) so there is no “cookie cutter” approach that will work for everyone.

    This quote arrived in my inbox today…

    I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.
    – Charles Dickens

    Not sure why but I felt the urge to share it here!

    One last thing, the “true fan” thing is mutual! I am his “true fan” too:-)

    Thanks again Lisa!

  3. […] them for a while, I feel strongly that they need a solid business development strategy and a consultative sales system/ sales process to bring rigour to their pursuits.   And they identified themselves that they need more contacts […]

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