Prepare Before Cold-Calling –Dana
I'd also look at the Careers section just to see what sorts of jobs are posted. What if you saw one or more print production/design positions posted? What would you make of that? What if you saw lots of openings for social media experts? Is the firm growing, or did they lose staff recently? How do you think it affects the print buyer you're about to phone?
Familiarize yourself with the industry of your prospect. Hopefully, you're keeping current with business news so that you have a good idea what a certain industry's challenges are. Think about how you can help prospects overcome their business challenges.
I heard Dr. Joe Webb speak recently, and he had a great idea (many, actually): set up Google alerts for your top customers. This works just as well for key prospects. So simple—and it's free.
Check out your prospect on LinkedIn. Chances are, he or she is there. LinkedIn profiles have tons of good information. Where else has this person worked in his/her career? Check out the company while you're there, too.
This research gives you insights that will help make your calls more specific, and by that I mean more relevant, to each prospect. When you call to sell something, being informed about that person and the company is the very first step you need to take.
Even though I don't buy print anymore—except for promoting our company, that is—printers cold-call me without ever knowing what we do. I listen politely. When I realize they don't know about Print Buyers International, I ask, "Did you look me up on the Web?" Most of the time they haven't. I invite them to call back after they've done that easy homework.
Know why your best customers stick with you. Is it really because you have two 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmasters? I doubt it. Yet some salespeople still lead with their equipment list—honest! If you know why your top customers prefer to work with you and your company, that, too, should inform you and help you sell.