How To Properly Research Your Prospect Before The Sales Call

Let’s face it, sales calls aren’t easy. Not only do you have to go through the pain of trying to book a call with a meeting-clad business man but you also have to essentially sell to an absolute stranger. To the average person, this may sound like a breeze, but only sales people know the excruciating pain of having to sell without the aid of visual clues, such as facial expressions and body language.
With so many barriers to phone selling, you may have one question, “How are sales reps able to successfully sell to absolute strangers?” Well, the answer is – they’re not. The key to a successful sales call is making your prospect your best friend. By the time you get to the sales call, you should be brimming with prospect-related information. No, you don’t need to know that they went on holiday to Madrid 5 years ago or that they had a cheese sandwich for lunch but it is important that you know enough to guarantee that your sales call turns into a sale.

Step 1. LinkedIn

With over 360 million users worldwide, it can be argued that LinkedIn is the one major network that B2B sales people are massively underusing. By looking at a prospects interests, previous jobs and education, you can spur up some pretty interesting conversations. Not only do you benefit by building a relationship with your prospect, but you also increase the likelihood of your prospect taking time to listen to your pitch (after all, you’ve taken the time to learn about them).

Step 2: Do a background check

Are there any news publications discussing this company’s struggles? Has it been trying to push any particular piece of content? Have they recently released any new products or features? These are all important questions that sales people like you need to start asking. We all know that just pitching the benefits of your product just isn’t enough these days – your prospects demand relevancy. They want to know how and why your product will help them achieve their goals and they want to know when this will be done by. It’s nice to know that your product helps to sync Salesforce contacts but if you can’t create a burning desire for this product and correlate how it will solve the headaches that they’re currently dealing with, then you’ll just be wasting both your time and your prospect’s time.

Step 3. The Company Website

Your prospect’s company website will give you the answers to all of your burning questions. Let’s be honest, the “About Us” section is really an undervalued gold mine, and by utilising this, you can discover a whole ton of information about your prospect. Want to find out the company’s goals and values? No worries, it’s on the “About Us” page! Want to discover the company’s number of employees and location? Well, just head over to their “About Us” section! Once this information has been gathered, you can use it to formulate a sales pitch so convincing that your prospects will feel like they wouldn’t be able to survive without your product. Goals and mission statements usually take years to accomplish, so by pitching your product according to their goals, you can paint a profit filled painting for your prospect (which in turn puts you one step closer to reaching your sales targets).

Step 4: Research your prospect’s role

As a sales person, there is absolutely nothing more frustrating than spending hours talking to a prospect, being minutes away from closing the deal only to find out that they don’t have the purchasing power to buy your product. Annoying, right? In situations like this, it’s imperative that LinkedIn, once again becomes your best friend. The first step of prospecting is usually figuring out if the company has a need for your product but have you ever thought about digging further? With cold leads, it’s important to research whether your prospect fits your ideal buyer persona brief.
LinkedIn has a variety of uses ranging from blog sharing to accomplishment boasting but we can all agree that the majority of users use LinkedIn as an online CV platform.  By going on LinkedIn, you can find out the job role of your prospect and then use this information to figure out whether your prospect is a decision maker, influencer or has 0 buying power whatsoever. Once this has been discovered, the most important thing to look at is the time spent at the company. Has it been 4 months or 4 years? New employees often don’t know enough about the company to understand its needs and so selling to them would only be a waste of time.

Step 5. Competitor Research

Mentioning your prospect’s competitors may sound like an absolute no-go but what if I told you that this can help guarantee you a sale? By conducting a gap analysis on your prospect’s competitors, you can figure out where they’re selling themselves short and how to pitch your product in a way that gives them a competitive advantage. There’s nothing that quite riles up a CEO than mentioning how their competitors are doing better than them and by turning a weakness into a solution, you can drastically change the outcome of your sales pitch. This impressive tactic doesn’t only show that you’ve done your research but it also shows that you understand the industry leading to a more beneficial conversations with your prospect.

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