Book Recommendation: Selling to Zebras

Today, I want to share my review (and recommendation!) of the book “Selling to Zebras” by Jeff & Chad Koser. Shane heard about it on a podcast a couple of years ago and knew I’d want to read it – I’m so glad I did. This book fundamentally changed the way I prospect.

Zebras Drinking Water

So what’s all this talk about zebras? The first line of the book is, “Ever had a nice fat bonus – the kind that makes your year?” I knew after reading the first line that this book was going to be helpful to me and my clients.

The book is written around the metaphor of a lion hunting for food. To a lion, a zebra is his ideal catch. It can feed the whole pride (possibly for days). That doesn’t mean a lion isn’t going to catch an occasional rabbit along the way – it’s a necessity for him to live – but a zebra is the ideal catch.

In business, a zebra is your ideal client. It’s the perfect size, it’s fun and easy to close, and it’s exciting to have in your pipeline. When a young lion is learning to hunt, they often make mistake after mistake chasing things that just tire them out. Salespeople are the same. You have to be disciplined in your prospecting; until you learn how to identify who your ideal client is and focus your efforts, you’re going to waste a lot of time chasing deal after deal that never had a chance in the first place (or just wasn’t worth all the effort you spent closing them).

Selling to Zebras 101: What’s YOUR Zebra?

You need to take the time to analyze your past business and figure out which ones were your zebras. Then, evaluate your current pipeline to see which ones fit this profile. This is where you should be spending the majority of your time and effort!

In the book, Jeff and Chad take you step by step on how to identify your zebras (Do they believe in your product/service? Do they like you? Are all the decision makers already involved? Do they have the budget?). Then they lay out how to zero in on your zebra, how to partner and get referrals from your zebra, and finally: how to catch your zebra. There are worksheet examples in the center of the book as well as plenty of online tools to help you identify your ideal client.

This all leads to you creating your own top 10 “zebra list” and a plan on how you’re going to go after them!

Selling To Zebras Spreadsheet

After completing this book, I promptly created my own worksheet, built my list, and started focusing on how I prospected to them. Many of my coaching clients have gone through this same exercise, and it has been amazing to watch them hunt their zebras.

As salespeople, we have to constantly work on the finer points of our craft: prospecting, presenting, closing, getting referrals – but learning how to work smarter, learning how to identify and focus your efforts on your ideal clients? That’s a serious game changer, people.

Until next time – go sell some stuff!


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