Before you meet with a new prospect, the one thing you absolutely must do is background research. I’ve written several blogs on research techniques, and the topic is important enough (and vast enough) to warrant further discussion. Today and tomorrow, we’ll be exploring some methods of research to help you hit the ball out of the park during your first meeting.
One of the best places to start your research is with a simple Google search. Look up the company on Google and sift through the first few pages of results. If you click on the “News” tab, you’ll find their blog posts, press releases, news stories, etc. All of this information can be useful for building your knowledge of the company, and can also be used as fodder for discussion in your first meeting.
In your research, you may come across the company’s annual reports. I'd encourage you to be cautious about taking the annual report as an indication of what they're thinking about top-of-mind today because the annual report is by definition a retrospective document. A lot of things change, and considering how long it takes to edit, publish, and circulate an annual report, the contents could be very much old news.
In addition to reading everything about the prospect’s company, you should also look up their competitors. Why? Because they may already be using your services or something close to your services and you could use that as a little bit of a competitive edge. You can add some excitement into the conversation by showing your prospect that they’ll be falling behind the competition if they don’t use your product or service.