Warm Up to Search
by: Maury Hill
There’s no excuse to cold call anymore. Early in my sales career, there was no Internet. Phones were dumb and most of us were too; I had no choice but to cold call. I would knock on doors and make phone calls without any real knowledge of the companies I was going after, including the name or position of a single person who worked at them. It made for some nervous moments to say the least.
Generating leads costs your company time, money and resources. They are too precious to waste. Before approaching any company you should research it online, become familiar with its basic structure and understand the basics of its specific industry.
This knowledge will help make your first contact with a lead “warmer” and help you build a relationship that lasts past that initial meeting. That’s because you are able to focus the conversation on your prospect’s needs, which allows you to present solutions instead of just mindlessly touting the features of your product or service without any context. The alternative approach—sweaty palms, blind ambition and a lack of direction—is usually a recipe for failure.
Perform a Google search for recent articles or press releases to understand the current events of the industry or that particular company. Spend time on their company website and pay attention to the way they present themselves. Is it strictly business, or do they mix in fun company culture? Do they have a vision or a mission? Be sensitive to the way you communicate and bring value by demonstrating some knowledge of their business in your first communication.
Research the key decision-makers on LinkedIn. Check out their past work history and organizations with whom they are associated. Look for contacts that you might have in common who can provide an introduction for you. Or, simply sharing that you have some mutual contacts with your prospect may break the ice a bit. It’s about finding common ground and earning some initial trust.
Search by industry to better understand the competitive landscape. Many times you can get a much clearer picture as to the needs of a prospect by researching those they compete against. What are some of the key issues your prospect is facing in the industry or in their market? Finding industry or company blogs can be very beneficial and can also provide buzzwords and language that can help you effectively communicate with your prospect.
So, come out of the “cold” and warm up to a few search techniques. Find critical information and contacts prior to your initial correspondence with a potential lead. Understand their communication style and be sensitive to company culture. Survey the competitive landscape to better understand needs and opportunities. Why risk making assumptions or getting caught completely unprepared when you can use search to your advantage? I prefer a warm prospect over a cold call any day of the week.