However, there’s one thing every sales rep should do before picking up that phone to call a stranger: homework.
In 4 minutes or less, you can find out important information about a prospect, providing he or she is online. Here’s how:
- Check out the company’s web site. You know where your prospect works. Visit the company’s web site and find out what it is they do. Get a feel for what you think their print and print-related needs are.
- Check out your prospect on LinkedIn. Most businesspeople have a LinkedIn account. (They should.) It’s a person’s online resume, the first place I look when I’m about to call someone (or return a call). So much invaluable information can be found there.
What you should take note of:
- Is there a photo? You’ll know the approximate age of your prospect. It could affect what you say when you call.
- Main profile summary.
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Read it carefully. You’ll find out what your prospect’s currently doing on the job.
- Employment history. Dates of employment will tell you if a person’s brand new to print buying or has extensive experience. You’ll see how long he or she has been working at the current position. There’s more. Scroll down this section to see where else the person’s worked. Do you have any familiarity or history with any of these other companies? Do you know anyone still employed there who might have known your prospect, and who could possibly shed some light on the prospect for you, before you call?
- Keep going. Look for information about education. Many people put their college information on LinkedIn, including the years they attended. This will tell you something about the person’s age. Maybe you two went to the same school.
- What else do you see? Look for affiliations, special skills, and recommendations that might appear on this profile. People (myself included) list volunteer positions and other things about which they’re passionate. You’ll see LinkedIn groups they belong to.
All of this information will help inform you. It’s the best way to check out a prospect before you ever dial a phone number.
The one thing every prospect hates about getting your cold call is finding out you know nothing about them. You’ve never visited their company site. You have no clue what they do or how long they’ve been doing it. It’s annoying and a time waster.
Do your homework. Then dial.
© 2013 Margie Dana. All rights reserved.