An excerpt from Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling
What do you need to know about the prospect’s business to engage? Imean if you just walk in the door and say, “Tell me a little bit aboutyour business,” how unprepared does that make you look? Answer: TOTALLYUNPREPARED. Prepared is going to their website and printing out severalstrategic pages, reading them, and making notes so you can ask aboutwhat you don’t understand, or need elaboration on — not asking aboutthem from TOTAL IGNORANCE.
NOTE: Just so we understand each other, “Tell me a little about yourbusiness, ” is the third dumbest thing you can say to or ask aprospect. The second is “Let me tell you a little about my business.”The prospect couldn’t CARE LESS about you or your business, andprobably already knows enough to not want to hear it again. The firstmost dumbest? I’ll tell you later. Let’s talk about where to find outinformation about a prospect and his or her business before your salescall.
1. The Internet. Don’t just look up their site. Enter theircompany name on Google or other search engines like dogpile.com and seewhat pops up. There may be an article or other important information.Then enter the name of the person you’re meeting with. Then enter thename of the CEO. Then tell me why you’re not meeting with the CEO.(Just a little jab there.) By the way, if you look up the name of theperson you’re meeting with and you find nothing, that also tells yousomething.
2. Their literature. Even though it’s we-we, it has the basic”brags” covered and may talk about shifts in emphasis and marketcoverage. It also tells you what they think of themselves and theirproducts.
3. Their vendors. Usually reluctant talkers, but they can tellyou what it’s like to do business with them and all about how you aregoing to be paid. Valuable information to say the least. Vendors are ararely used resource.
4. Their competition. Oh man, talk about dirt, here it is. Justask casual questions about how they win business — it will tell youwhat it will be like to negotiate with them. By the way, the more theircompetition hates them, the better they usually are. Competitors hatethe people who take business away from them.
5. Their customers. Customers talk. And they are the real wordon delivery, organization, quality, and the subtle information that cangive you an insightful competitive advantage.
6. People in your network who may know them. A quick e-mail toyour inside group asking for information will always net a fact or twoand may just be the bonanza you were looking for.
7. Their other employees. Occasionally the admin will help, but don’t count on it. A better bet is their PR department or their marketing department.
8. The best and least used resource: Their sales department. Salespeople will tell you anything. You can get details you won’t believe.
8. 5 Google yourself. Want some pain? Look up your own name.Where are you? What’s your Internet position? Suppose they are lookingyou up. What will they find? If it’s nothing, that’s a report card onyou.
And it’s not just Internet preparation. It’s other research likefinding mutual friends, calling a few vendors, maybe a few customers.Getting VITAL information as it relates to the buying of your productor service. There’s one more thing in preparation: Be prepared with anobjective or two about what you want to accomplish in the meeting.
Proper preparation takes time, but I assure you it’s impressive to theprospect. He or she knows that you have prepared, and is silentlyimpressed. It’s an advantage that very few salespeople use. They makethe fatal error of getting all their own stuff ready. PowerPointslides, samples, literature, business cards — you know, all the samethings the competition is doing. Biggest mistake in sales. And almostevery salesperson makes it.
And it’s not only preparation about the sale — it’s your personalpreparation for sales — your personal training. How ready are you? Getready baby. Turn off the TV and get ready.
Want a list of places you can gather information about the sales call?Sure you do. Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you are a first-timevisitor, and enter the word RESEARCH in the GitBit box.