Only 13% of customers believe a salesperson can understand their needs.
I’m sure we’ve all had those cringe-worthy sales encounters where someone reaches out to pitch us on a product or service and completely misses the mark because they failed to do basic research before going in for contact!
One of my friends recently shared her experience with a door-to-door sales team who came to her house selling solar panels. He and another sales associate rang the bell and immediately launched into their sales pitch. She held up a hand when they took a breath and inquired, “You didn’t happen to look at my home when walking up, did you?”.
They paused, glanced at each other, glanced back at her, then looked confused, asking, “No, why?” to which she laughed, “You’d have saved yourself time and a wasted pitch. I already HAVE solar panels.”.
It only required two seconds to give her roof a scan to see if they should approach or bypass, but the lack of that basic research –in this case, a glance– wasted not only their time but also my friends.
This is a simple example of a sales outreach that may have good intentions but comes across as sleazy and untrustworthy right from the start. It also shows how much time gets wasted in sales efforts that aren’t planned and validated.
How can you save yourself valuable time, headache, and embarrassment with your sales outreach?
Though most direct sales outreach happens over the phone now, the point remains the same: whether you send email blasts, in-person pitching, or phone calls, research is vital for connecting with the RIGHT people in the RIGHT way.
When you don’t?
You risk making yourself AND your company look bad.
Today’s article will cover a few sales savvy tips as well as some powerful tools to help you save time, establish sales-worthy connections, and increase your conversions from your first call to your follow-up and closing.
What Should You Be Researching?
Researching your prospects allows you to understand and initiate a connection that creates a magnetic fit between their genuine needs and desires and your solutions. No two conversations will be the same because no two companies are the same.
While having a general sales script is excellent for ensuring you cover all the bases for YOUR company, research allows you to speak the prospect’s language and communicate how your services and offerings can help THEM solve a painful problem.
Tip One: Learn about the company and how it perceives itself.
- Visit their website.
- Read their mission statement.
- Check out how many employees they have.
- What are their services, products, and offerings?
- What is their revenue? Can they afford you?
- Are you reaching out to the right PERSON in the company? Validate this by finding employee listings.
For example, if you’re a product supplier and find your prospect is passionate about reducing their carbon footprint, and your company has products in line with that mission, make sure you note that down and have information available to share before you pick up the phone. This may be the deciding factor between them staying with their cheaper, less green company, and moving to yours –even if your price point is higher.
Tip Two: How does the general public perceive the company?
- What third-party mentions can you find?
- What’s happening on their social media pages?
- Read reviews to see what client-facing struggles they have that your products can resolve.
For example, say you’re a PR/Marketing company, and your prospect feels they provide top-notch services, but you find they have a terrible reputation and have recently made changes in management. Are they aware of their damaged reputation? Are they taking steps to acknowledge and fix this? Is this something your company is willing to be connected with?
Tip Three: Clarify the pain points and languaging your prospect will understand and feel compelled to resolve.
- What negative feedback were you able to find in your research?
- What steps is the company taking to resolve those?
- Are they a good fit for your offerings?
For example, if you’re an Ad Agency and you found the paid ads your prospect runs with loads of comments from people saying, “Your link isn’t working.” or “I purchased but never got any confirmation.” or “It’s been three weeks, my product never arrived.”, then bring these up in your initial conversation. Get more information that may lead to a fantastic opening for how your offerings hold the solution they need.
What Tools Should You Be Using?
55% of the people working in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful.
While tools and tech CAN’T resolve issues with your company leadership, training, and practices, it CAN help improve areas you DO have control over –How you prepare yourself for your prospect outreach.
Here are a few tools that can improve your preparation AND outcomes!
Number One: Owler
Owler is absolutely FREE and helps sales professionals track company data, news alerts, leadership changes, performance benchmarks, and more. All you have to do is type the company name into the search bar and let Owler hunt your info down!
Number Two: Discoverly
Discoverly saves you tons of headache and time by showing you all the social media platforms your prospects are on in one organized tool. Simply download the chrome extension and become the Dick Tracy of social media mastery in seconds!
Number Three: Linked-In Sales Navigator
Linked-In Sales Navigator is another tool for social selling, lead generation, and company insights that ensure you reach out to the right decision-makers in your prospective company.
Now Make That Research Magic Happen!
I hope you enjoyed today’s tips and tools! If you’d like to take your sales process to the next level, check out my ESP Program, where I walk you through my 7-Step Easy Sales Process. This training covers everything from call preparation, script building, follow-up practices, and solidifying a sales relationship that lasts!