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The marketing ladder is a model that describes how relationships are initiated, developed and nurtured throughout the client lifecycle.
The rungs on the marketing ladder are:
Suspects are people (or companies) you believe could potentially be a client for your services.
Prospects are individuals (or companies) who have expressed some interest in your firm, your services or your specialty.
Clients are individuals (or companies) who have done business with your firm in the past year.
Evangelists are clients who are so loyal and dedicated to your firm that they work with you on multiple engagements. Evangelists also frequently refer new clients to your firm.
Individuals (or companies) are said to “climb the ladder” when they move from one level to the next. When a suspect shows interest in your firm, he becomes a prospect and when he pays for your services he becomes a client. This is referred to as “climbing the ladder”.