Where to find out information about a prospect and his or her business before your sales call.
An incomplete list of resources… if you have one I missed, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org – and win a sales caffeine coffee mug “Coffee is for Closers!”
- The internet. But don’t just look up their site. Enter their company name on google.com, wikipedia.com, or other multiple search engines like dogpile.com and see what pops up. (JEFFREY’S NOTE: Wikipedia cannot always be trusted because anyone can post. Whatever you find on Wikipedia, DOUBLE CHECK it someplace else.) You may find an article or other important information. Also enter the name of the person you’re meeting with. Then enter the name 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 the person you’re meeting with and you find nothing, you’re meeting with a nobody!
- Their literature. Even though it’s we-we, it has the basic “brags” covered and may talk about shifts in emphasis and market coverage. It also tells you what they think of themselves and their products.
- Their vendors. Usually reluctant talkers, but they can tell you what it’s like to do business with them and all about how you are going to be paid. Valuable information to say the least. Vendors are a rarely used resource.
- Their competition. Oh man, talk about dirt, here it is. Just ask casual questions about how they win business – it will tell you what it will be like to negotiate with them. By the way, the more their competition hates them, the better they usually are. Competitors hate the people who take business away from them.
- Their customers. Customers talk. And they are the real word on delivery, organization, quality, and the subtle information that can give you an insightful competitive advantage.
- People in your network who may know them. A quick email to your inside group asking for information will always net a fact or two and may just be the bonanza you were looking for.
- 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.
- 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 looking up you, what will they find? If it’s nothing, that’s a report card on you.