What sets salespeople apart from competitors in a prospect’s eyes is extensive knowledge of the prospect’s business. This helps salespeople ask sharper questions and align offers with the buyer’s needs earlier in the sales process.
Here are ways to dig deeper when researching buyers:
- Analyze the prospect’s website, and search the Web for recent articles on the company in the trade press. Check for posts in news groups and forums.
- Talk to a few contacts who work at the prospect’s company and those who do business with them.
- Compile the information to build a profile of the prospect: primary business, market segment, financial status, customer list, key strategic initiative and industry trends.
Map out opportunities
Next, ask yourself four questions:
- How is this company currently handling its needs without us?
- What problems or challenges are they likely to be facing as a result?
- What gaps exist between where the buyer is and where he or she wants to be?
- What critical differences would the buyer experience by working with us?
Practice makes perfect
Practice asking these questions to make sure you can get them in under the time allotted for your call. It also pays to estimate how much time to spend on each question in order to keep the call on track.
These extra steps will help you eclipse competitors and get the meeting off to a good start.
Adapted from: “Sales Call Planning Guide: How to Get it Right the 1st Time so You’re Invited Back a 2nd Time,” by Jill Knorath. She can be found at www.sellingtobigcompanies.com.