The Professional Salespeople we provide sales training to in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary are always open to new ideas for having the best first call with a new potential client. It’s the start of a new relationship and we all want to make a positive first impression with someone that may have been very difficult to book. Show that you’ve done your research and do these three things before your call.
B2B Sales Call Preparation
No decision maker wants to meet with Salespeople who are busy asking questions that confirm that they’ve done little investigation prior to the meeting. Asking a number of surface level questions to discover information that could easily be accessed online is a great way to show a lack of respect for that person’s time. Simply investing 20-30 minutes in research can make you stand out from your competitors.
Step #1 – Do a Deep Investigation of their Website
I know you’re shaking your head to say – no kidding, who wouldn’t think of that! Do more than the obvious and go deep into the company website, beyond the home page. Here’s what to focus on:
Read each page listed the Navigation Bar – Areas like About Us, Our History, Our Products, Locations and anything else listed. If the company thought the information was important enough to place on their website, you should be reading it.
Look for great nuggets of information like Our Customers, Testimonials, Photo Gallery, Videos, FAQs and Social Media Links. Your ability to comb through this information will give you an amazing education on the company’s needs, customer base and current direction. Be ahead of the last Salesperson who wasted 15 minutes of the buyer’s precious time to learn what you will already know.
Create a strong opening statement like…
“I’ve gone through your website. If OK by you, I’d like to tell you what I learned, Please correct me if I’m off base at all. Is that fair?”
Don’t drone on. Take 30 seconds to provide the highlights. Then ask this question…
“Is this a current representation of your company and what it offers its customers?”
Don’t be shocked if you hear – not quite. Many companies feel their website is constantly trying to catch up to the current reality.
“What would you change or add?”
Congratulations. You’re already getting privileged information that most Salespeople don’t. Here’s what I’ve heard from buyers when I use this approach…
“I should let you know that we will be announcing the launch of a new product shortly.”
“We are opening a new office in an area that we think has great potential.”
“We are going to rebrand the company shortly with a new logo and focus on customer service.”
“Our company has just been sold.”
Step #2 – Do a detailed Google Search on the Company
There’s a good chance that the first organic listing will be the website. Go past that and read everything on the first and second pages of your Google Search. It’s been said that you could hide a dead body on page two of Google because no one goes there. So, if you’re a good investigator why wouldn’t you? You will find all kinds of great information that everyone else misses.
Press releases, social media links, blog posts, video links, news reports and other interesting articles that Google has made easy for you in your quest for knowledge in preparation.
Now, put the word “news” after the company name and leverage the power of Google’s SEO to make your job of research easier.
Step #3 – Assess the Digital Footprint of Your Contact
Very few Salespeople go this far, yet doesn’t it make sense to do investigation on the person you’re meeting with? There’s a good chance you may find your buyer’s LinkedIn Profile. Read the entire profile to get a detailed background on your contact.
Look for their current roles and responsibilities with the company. Notice their employment background and field of related expertise. Check out any written testimonials or endorsements they have. Time invested on his or her LinkedIn profile will reveal much more about the person you’re meeting with than just their title suggests.
Here’s something I do every time and it always has a positive first impression. Connect with them by sending a personal initiation to connect. Not the generic one. Customize it like this:
“Hi Jennifer. I’m looking forward to our meeting this week and thought I would reach out to you on LinkedIn to connect. I noticed that you (personal observation and comment from their LinkedIn profile). See you at 9:30 am.”
Go past the buyer’s LinkedIn profile to see what else you might find. It’s amazing what Google locates on each of us. You might consider doing this on yourself as well.
How Much Time Does This All Take?
Please don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time to invest 20-30 minutes in this kind of research. With these easy steps, you have the opportunity to leverage the meeting to go further than if you started from ground zero and make a great first impression at the same time. You decide.
Ask Yourself This
If you were the decision maker, would you be impressed if someone did this amount of research on you and your company? What other ways do you best prepare for a first meeting with a new client? I’d love to read your comments below.
If you’re a Manager interested in training your Salespeople or an individual Salesperson looking for cost-effective sales training, check out our online program The Sales Skills Incubator ($199 Canadian) or our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY