Research and Preparation
Early in my career in sales I had a territory with a route that I drove each week. I called on my “A” customers each week and my “B” customers monthly and worked in my “C” customers bi-monthly. There was not a lot of time or need to prepare for sales calls. I would visit the customer location and react to what they needed.
When I moved into a more complex selling environment, I needed to make a change. I had to start planning my sales calls. My supervisor coached me on it, and I was trained on it, and I was successful for the times I was working in. Today, it’s much more complex. How many of you take the time to do deep research into your prospect or current customer?
When you are working sizable deals in large companies, there is a process to doing research and preparing for a sales call. I’ve learned through experience the price for not doing research. The process takes a few minutes, but if you follow a system, you can become efficient and the return on the time invested is strong.
· Is the prospect public or private?
· What are their initiatives (Read their 10K report if it’s public)
· Are they growing? Is it through acquisition or organic growth?
· Who are the key people you need to speak to?
· How is the company structured?
Research the 10K, the company website, LinkedIn, Glass Door, etc. where can you get insights into the company and the culture. What are their challenges?
· Determine what solution you can provide, based on your understanding of their situation.
· What do you want to accomplish at the meeting? Set up a commitment that you’d like from the person you are meeting with, and another lesser commitment to ask for it they can’t make the initial commitment.
· What do you anticipate for objections that they might have and how will you handle the objections?
· What do you want to learn in this meeting? Develop the questions you want to ask and write them down so you can focus on their answers.
No matter how prepared you are, you may run into items you haven’t anticipated. Be flexible and listen.
This is the template I now use for research, and for preparation. I find this information in 15 minutes, and it helps me be more confident when I make the sales call. It’s what I teach as well.