Wednesday, December 14

The #1 factor critical to an effective sales call 

This is a piece I submitted to Selling Power magazine. Rather than waiting for publication in April 2006, here it is for your reading pleasure:

"The #1 factor critical to an effective sales call is intelligent prospecting and preparation.

The Internet is an incredibly rich resource for sales call planning purposes. There are several strategies that sales professionals can use to maximize the power of the information available from various sources on the web.

Here are some tips for using the Internet to research clients and prospective clients:

1. Google can be used several ways to hunt down information on both companies and individual executives. At the risk of being obvious, start by typing in the company name and/or executive's name. Alternately, to find out WHO you need to target in the first place, type in the company name and a position or title, for example, 'XYZ Corp Vice President' to find all references to people at that level. More specifically, you could also type'XYZ Corp Vice President HR' to find the top HR exec.

2. Use research tools like www.looksmart.com and www.findarticles.com to locate media mentions of the company or a specific individual.

3. If your organization does not subscribe to expensive business databases such as hoovers.com, Dun & Bradstreet, or Lexis/Nexis, you can often access these tools - for FREE - at your local public library. This ittle-known selling tip is worth THOUSANDS of dollars in expensive subscription fees, and even more to your bottom line if you use these tools to land a big sale!

4. Visit the websites of leading professional trade journals or conferences in your industry and search for the company name to see which execs have written articles or been guest speakers, what they spoke on, and perhaps any upcoming events where they're slated to speak. (An original approach to your first contact might be to help the exec by providing an article idea or to help her prepare for the speech by providing specific industry data/research on the topic -- or to connect them with a credible expert who happens to be in your "platinum Rolodex.")

5. Join and use social networking sites such as www.linkedin.com. These sites work on the principle of "six degrees of separation" and facilitate direct contact through your own trusted network of clients, friends, partners, and associates. Tip: Rather than contacting current employees at your target company, look for people who have your target company in their job history (former employees). These folks are often quite willing to help by connecting you to their former colleagues and giving you the REAL inside scoop on how the company buys your particular product or service, since there's no direct pressure on them!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?