4 Things To Do Before Reaching Out to Prospects
Cold calling has a bad reputation for a reason. Aside from the fact that usually almost no one picks up the phone, the process typically doesn't come easy to the seller and, even worse, the experience can be completely unbearable for the buyer.
Going in to a call completely blind and sticking to a predetermined script is a sure way to make the situation even more excruciating for everyone. It can get awkward quickly and really isn’t the most efficient use of anyone’s time.
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So how can you make sure you’re ready to make the most out of your outreach?
1. Research the Prospect
It’s relatively easy to find most professionals on the internet. They might have their own website, a profile on their company’s site, have social media profiles, etc.
Sometimes your prospects feel more comfortable sharing online to a broader audience than to a salesperson that calls them up out of the blue and questions them on their needs and challenges. It's about nurturing the relationship before making "the sell" to them.
In fact, the "big three" social networks can give you great insight into what your prospects challenges, wins, and goals are. Of course their Facebook profile might not tell you this information but if you use LinkedIn, or even Twitter, to follow their updates and see what they're sharing/saying, there's a good chance you'll be a step head of your competitors.
Then, take some time to identify how you can use what you've learned and consider these two questions:
- How can you use the information you've uncovered to boost your prospecting efforts from a general/industry perspective rather than with just the one connection?
- If you begin connecting online first (say through LinkedIn or email) what approach works best for each medium?
Perhaps you find that one of the challenges you can help solve isn't just with that prospect and that company but others in the industry as well.
2. Understand Your Prospect's Role
In some situations, an individual's title will make understanding their role rather straightforward. However, you should never take that at face value and additional research should be done into what they themselves see their role to be. Don’t underestimate that either, since responsibilities usually vary widely and aren’t always clearly visible to an outsider.
Taking the time to make yourself aware of a prospect’s role including what they’re accountable for and what their struggles and pain-points are will help you differentiate yourself and tailor your pitch to them specifically. They’ll appreciate your understanding and will be more likely to open up.
3. Know Your Prospect's Business
A prospect will only be open to your solution if you’ve expressed knowledge and comprehension of their business. Knowing the details of how their business and industry operates will allow you to adapt your presentation to how your solution would benefit their needs.
It’s not necessary to be an expert, especially if you’re selling to a broad scope of industries, but you should be well-versed in the fundamental pieces that enable you to intelligently and thoroughly explain why your offering would give them an advantage.
The last thing you want to do is be unprepared in a meeting with a prospect. Imagine reaching out to a prospect, getting them on the phone, and then not being able to help them connect the dots between their business and your solution. If that happens, there's a good chance you'll lose trust and you may not get a second chance.
4. Get ahead of the competition
Reaching out to a potential buyer should never produce any surprises. A key part of ensuring you’re properly prepared for a discussion with a prospect is not only knowing your competition, but also knowing theirs.
Do you know exactly what your competitors are offering? It’s a possibility they got to your prospect before you.
Knowing and understanding how your company is different than the compeititon will help you confidently counter any questions or comments your prospect might make regarding a competitor who has already reached out.
Being aware of where your prospect sits in their competitive space will also give you additional insights into things they may be excelling at or struggling with. Being informed and perceptive about their goals with regards to the competition can be something that will help differentiate you and your offering.
Enhance Your Prospecting Process
Reaching out to a lead for the first time is a challenge, but there are quite a few things you can do to ease the process. Doing research and approaching the meeting with a general understanding of the potential buyer, their role, their business, and the competition will help you be prepared for anything. This preparation method may take some more time and effort, but the results will be worth it.
And as you test this process, you’ll make discoveries along the way about the best way to present your solution and position your offering. The prospect will also take notice of your preparation and knowledge and they’ll be much more willing to do business with you versus someone who simply dialed a number and recited a pre-rehearsed script.
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