Do Your Homework Before Making That Call

I cannot understand why a service provider would cold call me without checking me out online ahead of time. But this keeps happening, despite it being 2014, despite Google search, despite Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, and so on.

When someone calls me and remarks almost immediately that he’s heard my name “for years,” I assume he’s done his homework, and that he knows what business I’m in. But time after time (sorry, Cyndi Lauper), I’m disappointed. The caller’s done no such thing.

If you’re guilty of this sort of ice-cold calling to get a prospect’s attention and business, you don’t deserve it.

Do what you should do before you dial, and take notes as well. Here’s what I’d do:

  1. Google the person by name.
  2. Go to LinkedIn and search. If you find the person, check out their employment history. How long have they been at their current job? Where were they before that? What’s their specialty? What recommendations are listed on their profile, and what can you learn from them? Where did they get their education? You never know: maybe you share a city or country or an alma mater. Maybe you worked where they once worked, or you may know someone who did. You can learn a ton about someone who has a robust LinkedIn profile.
  3. If this person’s an employee, check out his or her company Website to learn what they’re about and how you or your business might serve them.
  4. Go to Twitter and Facebook and see if you can find that person there.
  5. Google the person’s company and maybe recent news stories will pop up.

All of this research—which will take less than 10 minutes, by the way—will give you insights that will help you engage this prospect on the phone (or perhaps convince you there’s no reason to call).

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at
Related Content
  • Katherine Tattersfield

    Totally agree. I get this a lot, not so much from print sales people as online marketing salespeople. It boggles my mind when I get a phone call asking me about SEO or social media. I think the same thing—didn’t you bother to read my job title? If you did, you wouldn’t be wasting your time or mine trying to sell me link building services.