Jun
16

How to Know Who You’re Talking To

selling-energy

When you’re cold calling and don’t know the right person to get in touch with… good luck.  Calls like these can be awkward and inconvenient for the person picking up. 

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What’s more, there’s no excuse for not knowing who the right person is!  You have sites like Google and LinkedIn at your disposal, so there’s little excuse for not doing sensible pre-call research.  Think of it as spending more time chopping ingredients and less time cooking.  The extra time you put into this will result in a proverbial stir fry – very quick and tasty. 

Now, where do you find the information?  Obviously researching the targeted organization is your best bet.  Go to LinkedIn and find out who the players are, what their professional backgrounds look like, and what they may have said in the press lately, particularly regarding energy solutions. 

Let's say you've done some research on Dan Williams. You know he works as a regional property manager for a real estate investment trust.  You also know he was on a panel exploring whether sustainability was a topic that merited attention in commercial real estate.  Thanks to Google, your research has taken little time, perhaps an hour. 

Now you pick up the phone and make the call.  Dan William’s assistant answers and says, "May I help you?" You reply, "Yes, I'd like to speak with Dan Williams, please." "May I ask what this is regarding?" "Well, I noticed Dan was on a panel on the topic of sustainability last year at the XYZ conference.  I needed to talk with him about some of his contributions.  In fact, I have the presentation right in front of me.  Is there a time that I might be able to get 15 or 20 minutes with him?  A short chat would be helpful." 

This is totally different from the usual cold call.  When you get in touch with Dan, you can mention the same research.  Once he asks who you are and why you’re interested – bam, you’re already through the door. 

This style of cold calling takes a bit of time.  But here’s the thing – you could a call a hundred people and have very few if any agree to talk to you, or you could put in an hour of research for each prospect and initiate fruitful conversations with the overwhelming majority of them.  When you have a reason to speak with your prospect, it’s much less likely that person will refuse your call.

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Posted by Mark Jewell