Essential Research Every Sales Person Should do Before Calling a Prospect

Know their name

I get it, you’re cringing thinking, well of course I’m going to know they’re name.  But I don’t just mean having their name on a spreadsheet, I mean actually know their name forwards and backwards.  A cold call, like any other call, is centered around building a relationship with someone.  So, having their name easily accessible at the fore front of your mind to recall and use in conversation, without blanking on what their name is, is absolutely essential.  If you’re contacting a high volume of prospects, names can become blurred.  Write their name down to ensure you’ll have no slip ups.

Research information about their company

Knowing the company name and what they do is great, but take that a step further. Read the latest blog post produced by the company, look into current initiatives they’re working on, and any other recent information put out by the company.  Don’t spend your cold call asking questions that you could easily find on Google or LinkedIn, make your time productive and find out how the prospect could actually benefit from what you do.

Check out their social media

Looking into a prospects social media profiles can largely give you a picture of their personality, interests, and dislikes.  Taking the time to quickly check out LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook can give you instant talking points to better build rapport with a prospect.  If they seem to have common hobbies, don’t hesitate to mention that.  A shared interest is giving your prospect an insight to the fact that you are human. At the bare minimum, take a look at their LinkedIn and check out the groups they’re a part of and the content they regularly share.  It may take you an extra minute per prospect to do this research, but it may land you those same prospects, so I’d say it’s worth it.

Research common connections on LinkedIn

While you’re checking out your prospects social media, take a second to see if you have any mutual connections.  Again, the ability to reference something you have in common is invaluable and a human connection can you take you even further than a simple hobby or interest.

Research recent changes in the company

A quick Google search of the company will let you know if the company recently acquired another, if the company recently received funding, if they had a change in leadership, or if they’re working on a new product.  Knowing this information will help you to appear informed on the company and give you a potential leg up on landing a further conversation with the prospect.

Check out recent conferences they’ve attended

Doing both a Google search and checking out recent LinkedIn posts should give you an idea if the company, or your prospect specifically has recently attended a conference of some sort.  If they have, do research around the conference and what the large takeaway from the event is.  Again, all of your research should render you talking points to use to make your prospect feel comfortable.  Obviously exert some restraint and don’t spend ten minutes focused strictly on making general conversation but connect with them and then use that connection to render a better end result from the call.

Prepare responses to common objections you hear

Before cold calling anyone, make a list of the common objections you hear across your meetings and prepare a strategy behind how to respond to those in an effective manner. If you commonly hear an objection about price, build out several responses you could give based on the conversation.  Being well prepared for any scenario on the call can help you redirect the conversation in a positive way, rather than ending the call with a no. 

The big takeaway should be the essential nature of building rapport with a prospect.  If you’ve built a relationship and you’re having a conversation, you suddenly aren’t selling someone something, but rather you’re having a normal conversation that will likely be more enjoyable for the prospect, and yourself.  Focus on having as much information ahead of time to prepare yourself for various scenarios so that the conversation never reaches an awkward or unpleasant end.  Do your research, and be authentic, trust us, it’ll help.