How Do You Prepare Prior to Meeting with a Client in a B2B Selling Situation?
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By James Rothaar
If you were to ask five successful sales professional the same question, would their responses be similar? We were curious to learn how these sales pros prepare before going out and meeting with clients and prospects.
While the responses from the sales professionals were unique, the replies to the question did contain some similarities. Four out of five indicated that they do have a specific research methodology. All of those who do research on clients and prospects use the Internet and social networks as part of their research process.
So, we asked this question in our Top Sales Professional series,
What types of research do you require your staff to do prior to meeting with a client or prospect?
William L. Sgro, Director of National Accounts, EcoEngneering
“Our sales reps are expected to develop as much information on the clients –their primary activity; whom they may be doing business with currently; their expectations; their financial stability; their performance; and who are their main competitors. Do they have a competitive market advantage? Have they undertaken energy conservation programs previously? The intent is to leave no questions unanswered
Tom Elmer, VP of Sales and Marketing, Pixcara Studios
“Because this company sells YouTube videos, we always look at a company’s website to determine if it is currently using any video marketing. We also Google the company and check out all of the company’s social media channels if they have any. We also check out the company principals’ personal profiles on LinkedIn.”
David Sonné, retired telemarketing and sales executive, and trustee of the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Charitable Foundation
“None whatsoever. I want the playing field to be even. Any advance knowledge or information I gather could be hearsay or rumor. If, of course, I know that my prospect has been married seven times then I probably wouldn’t ask why there are photographs of 17 children on his credenza … well at least not during our first visit. I prefer to meet with and listen to my prospect and draw my own conclusions.”
Kurt Gairing, Account Executive, Fontis Solutions
“I find out as much as humanly possible about a client or a prospect. I go online and read about the company. I go to LinkedIn and read about the person I am going to meet. I asked around the office if anyone has done business with the company or the individual. Hell, I even go on Facebook to see what else I can uncover to get to know someone better.”
Scot Smith, Co-Founder of RetailPropeller.com
“We do and we don’t research prospects. We have an application that wholesalers complete that tells us if they’re a good fit or not. Our marketing funnels tell us a lot about a prospect before they reach out to work with us. Retail accounts take a little more research, but I like to do the majority of that side-by-side with my prospects like the business partners that we are. It’s a mistake to go into a meeting with too much research, because you never really know what pieces and parts are truly applicable.”
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