CyberSelling: Using CRM Technology to Help You Sell
Excerpted with permission from "CyberSelling: Using CRM Technology to Help You Sell," by Russ Lombardo, Copyright 2006, PEAK Sales Consulting, LLC. For more information about this book, please visit www.CyberSellingBook.com.
Chapter 7: Initial Contact
Research from the Cold Call
In order to be prepared for your initial contact or meeting, you can't "wing it." Even the most experienced sales professionals do not rely solely on their instincts during a sales call. The research I discussed earlier will help you prepare a solid foundation for the visit with your prospect.
A good way to impress your prospect, and to gain his respect, is to show him that you are prepared and have knowledge about his business and industry. During your initial cold call, you could have asked the prospect to tell you more about his business. But first make sure he knows that you are aware of the basics since you already should have done some preliminary research, as I discussed in the previous chapter.
Prior to the actual appointment, however, you will want to do more extensive research to learn as much as you can about the business you are visiting. If you read some of their press releases, you can make statements during the appointment such as, "I understand that your company is expanding into telecommunications. Can you tell me more about that?" This will show your prospect that you've researched his company and are truly interested in him. What a great way to build trust and respect.
Using the information you already researched, you can ask a variety of intelligent questions to learn more about his business, and ultimately his problems and needs. One thing you can't easily get a handle on, however, is his level of satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with his current systems, products, purchasing procedures, vendors, or other procedural issues.
Hence, you can ask questions such as, "What sort of problems are you currently experiencing with your existing suppliers (or products/services)?" Or, "Can you tell me what you like and dislike about your existing system?" These questions will open up the door for an informative discussion about your prospect's current needs and requirements, which you can then use to find the right solution for him; as long as you listen carefully to what he says (Listening skills are discussed later).
One of the suggestions I mentioned earlier about research and being prepared was to know whom you are speaking with. This goes beyond just knowing their name and title in the organization. It means using that information you researched to formulate your questions and delivery of information. For instance, a lower-level, or first-line, manager will be interested in more details such as installation options. Middle managers will want to know about cost-effectiveness, while the CEO will be more interested in long-term goals, profits, and ROI.
Researching information prior to, and based on, your cold call will help prepare you for your initial meetings with your prospect.
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