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Poodles Bite Too – Predict Client Behavior Throughout The Sales Journey


Data and tools like Artificial Intelligence give Marketing the tools needed to predict their buyers’ behaviors – and that information is what should be used to drive marketing campaigns.

So how do we predict our clients’ intent? We look closely at things like:

  • What topics are they interested in?
  • What white papers do they download?
  • What buttons do they click on certain websites?
  • What online groups do they engage with?

Not only can Google Analytics answer those questions, but its incorporation will help you trigger client intent by presenting information relevant to their point in the buying journey. That gives you the ability to further tailor your message throughout your relationship with the client.

Educating the client is also Marketing’s responsibility; it doesn’t sit with Sales any more. Further, companies need to be careful not to fall into a transactional relationship with their clients by jumping the gun or focusing solely on making the sale. By facilitating information gathering through the use of AI tools, marketing stays involved with the client long before they make a purchasing decision, and that investment results in brand loyalty. Which, after all, is what will make us successful in the long term.

I often share a story about a self-storage facility that embarrassingly failed to understand their clientele. They knew who their client was, but by not knowing why they needed help they ended up alienating a large portion of their client segment. For that reason –and many others like it- simply understanding the demographics of your audience is ineffective.


Long ago I worked at a vineyard in the cellar sales. My dog Samuel (that’s right, Samuel de Mamiel) would share a sunny spot by the door with the owner’s poodle. I used to watch people as they walked up to the doorway. They stopped and looked at Sam and the poodle lying there blocking their path. The visitors hesitated before entering and wondered which dog was the safest to step over. Unsurprisingly, most people chose to step over the poodle, assuming that because he was fluffy and French-looking, he was the nicest. Sam was a German Shepherd cross, which has a reputation for being fierce and aggressive. To my great amusement it was always the poodle that was startled by the visitors and jumped quickly with a snap of his teeth.

The assumptions people made about the poodle remind me about how many businesses make assumptions about their target market. Many organizations build their marketing segments – or as I like to call them, their buyer personas – on entirely false assumptions about their clients. Now you have no reason to step over the poodle, and every reason to learn before you leap!



1. Identify what is triggering your clients’ actions.

  • Gain an understanding of what happens both before and after your clients make a purchase.
  • What things need to happen before they busy something and what things need to happen after? These are good indications of intent.

2. What are your clients’ stages of intent?

  • Does your marketing strategy recognize and align with those stages?
  • Review your current sales and marketing. Is any of it influenced by bias or preconceptions rather than data and/or client intent?

3. Engage with potential clients.

  • Who are the influencers and advocates in your industry?
  • How and where are you engaging with them?

4. Make sure your clients remain with you.

  • How do your clients receive further information, after their purchase?
  • Are you providing value and keeping them engaged?

5. Reduce the risk for your clients.

  • This needs to be done through vehicles such as ratings systems, publishing timelines, or illuminating processing times.

6. Create a client community.

  • Does your client base belong to an existing community? If so, what can you do to engage, influence, and provide thought leadership within that community?
  • Is there an opportunity for you to build an online or offline community?


There’s much to learn about client intent and learning about your clients vs assuming you know them. We can help with Coaching, Consulting, or even Keynote Speeches on the topic.


We at Mongrel Method are pleased to publish a 10-part series of blog posts where we share a lesson from each chapter of Steve’s book, The Mongrel Method: Sales & Marketing for the New Breed of Buyers. The Mongrel Method teaches sales and marketing tactics for the technology age using the fun -and memorable- personality of Steve’s dog Samuel to help the concepts stick. You can buy your copy here: https://mongrelmethod.com/buy-the-book/