I have found that one of the challenges sales people face is finding time to do the intelligence gathering and research they know is the most important first step to successful selling.
Gathering Intelligence and Organizing your Findings
The first step in successful selling is to have a well-defined process for documenting and organizing in the intelligence gathering and research phase– this will save you time. At Social Centered Selling we’ve created a toolset that organizes the information and assists our clients in qualifying sales worthy leads. Some guidance here:
- Identify profile information about your target.
- Note where you are connected inside and outside the organization you are pursuing.
- Follow the company on LinkedIn and executives on Twitter.
- Document the information and insights that you have gathered while doing your research.
Effective intelligence gathering includes using Sales 2.0 tools such as InsideView to keep abreast of any new information about the target executives you are pursuing and the companies they represent.
How to Identify Sales Worthy Leads
Now that you have done all of your research and intelligence gathering on a company and the target executive(s) you want to approach, how do you know when to move the conversation to a telephone call? Begin by asking:
- What information suggests that you have a sales worthy lead and there are areas in which to engage? What key events, business drivers or initiatives to address the drivers have been announced by the company and, by which executives?
- Why should you pursue now? What are the top five reasons you believe the executive will be interested in taking your call? Be honest with yourself. Answer this question from the perspective of the executive with whom you are going to be speaking.
- What will you say to the executive that will cause him to accept a meeting with you?
Using this structured approach will increase the likelihood of an executive accepting a meeting with you during your initial telephone call. Do not read from a script; rather, have a call strategy and plan it out to maximize your chances of success in securing a meeting. Winging it is for amateurs.
Get enthusiastic about approaching the executive for a meeting. You’ve done your homework and you have determined why an executive would want to hear with you. It’s important to relate to both their personal and business agenda. Be sure to listen intently to what the executive is telling you about their problem and what a solution will need to deliver.
Remember the objective of the call is to secure a meeting – not sell them! The call should only last five to seven minutes and pursue the conversation from the point of view of developing a long-term relationship.
Preparation Essential to Success in Securing a Meeting during your Initial Telephone Call
Adapted from Selling to the C-Suite, co-authors Bistritz and Nichols.