Stymied about what to say when you contact a prospect?
It's especially tough if you feel like you don't know enough about their organization to craft a relevant message. Recently, Katrina wrote to me about her frustration with pre-call sales planning:
"In your books, you talk about the importance of doing research prior to contacting a prospect. I’m having a hard time with that. I sell to marketing departments. But since companies don’t share that information publicly, it’s really tough to find out what issues they have. What should I do?"
She's right. It’s virtually impossible to find that kind of information online. Companies don’t want to have their problems exposed to the public unless absolutely necessary.
4 Tips for Pre-Call Sales Planning
If you consistently sell to the same decision makers, make assumptions. Assume that they have similar objectives and face similar challenges as your existing clients. For example, most marketers today are under intense pressure to bring in more high quality leads or to justify their marketing spend. My Buyer's Matrix is an excellent tool to help you outline the challenges your prospect is facing. (Click here to download it for free.)
If you typically sell to certain industries, immerse yourself in them. Join their associations, attend their meetings, get their newsletters and dig into their websites. Another great resource for learning more is via LinkedIn groups. You’ll find groups focused on certain industries as well as job positions. Personally, I belong to groups for VP's of Sales just so I can keep up-to-date.
Prep some questions ahead of time to ensure you learn what’s top-of-mind for your prospect. Use your assumptions and what you’ve learned in your immersion as a starting point. When you actually meet with prospects you’ll want to find out their perspectives on these important topics.
Don't be afraid of not knowing everything. No one expects it. They just want you to be knowledgeable and show you've done your homework.
Question: Have you ever found out any juicy info from your pre-call sales planning that helped you close the deal? Share your comments!