Pre-Call Planning w/ Social Media 5


In sales, the smartest thing you can do is pre-plan your sales call. No matter how much experience you have, no matter how many times you’ve pitched your products, no matter what your attempts-to-close ratio is, pre-call planning is a must.

With pre-call planning you study up on the prospect, their current efforts, how they market and communicate about themselves, what they are talking about, what the executives of the company are doing and why and many other things.

The goal with pre-call planning is to get closer to understanding the current mindset of the prospect and their objectives, what are their pain-points and what do they seem to be applying effort towards.

You do this because prospects and customers care about their problems and their objectives and they almost never care about yours. So you need to be thinking about them from the beginning of the sales call. The more you understand their objectives in advance, the more compelling your sales call attempt will be.

Social media is a great way to start understanding the prospect.

Once you know who you will call, check their social networks and see what they are talking about. Go back for a few days and review older posts. Ask yourself how this can relate to your sales objectives. What does this tell you about their mindset, areas of effort and pain-points? How can any of this provide context and insight into their situation that may be useful in your sales call?

If you find anything relevant, then make that a part of your initial sales contact. Do it in an informed way, not a creepy, stalker sort of way.

Here is an example of how you might put it all together:

“Hello John. I’m Justin McCullough and I provide small business coaching for owners and executives interested in launching new products. I’ve been following you on twitter and noticed you were talking about a new product you are developing and recall seeing a press release your marketing manager released last quarter about hiring a new director of operations. I’d like to meet with you and the new director of operations regarding preventing costly missteps most companies experience during product launches”.

About Justin McCullough

Justin McCulloughJustin McCullough is mentor, marketer and leader with more than 10 years of selling experience from startups to large corporations. Justin’s experience ranges from advertising agencies to newspapers and web development firms to book publishers. You can find out more about Justin at www.justinmccullough.com or www.leader4hire.net .
(Image by Tim Parkinson)


About Justin McCullough

Justin McCullough is mentor, marketer and leader with more than 10 years of selling experience from startups to large corporations. Justin’s experience ranges from advertising agencies to newspapers and web development firms to book publishers. You can find out more about Justin at www.justinmccullough.com or www.leader4hire.net .

  • Great tip, Justin. I'm always amazed at how often people are surprised when I've done even the most basic homework. I've really been liking Gist lately to help speed up the process, and Rapportive works nicely within Gmail. And Xobni, of course, serves the Outlook crowd.

    In any case, I hope people take heed. This really should be just common courtesy–we spend a lot of time telling the world about ourselves, and why should we have to re-create that information for someone who wants to sell to us? It's a great step for someone who takes selling seriously. Thanks!

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  • Good advice. Too many vendor / sales calls I get start with zero knowledge about me or my business. They're just dialing numbers. Translation: “You're not important.”

    If it's an auto-dialer, enough said. But if they're hand-picking leads, it makes little sense not to check me out first. It pays to know why and how your lead might want your business. This is how repeat business with existing clients and partners tends to work in my own consulting business. They know me and what I and my agency can do based on previous projects and interactions. They often get to know my preferences, and also my commitment to quality. So when the project comes across my desk, it's typically perfect for us. And vice-versa, I know what my longterm clients really want.

    It makes sense to start applying the same principle from the very first beginning contact with a prospect. I dare say more is involved in landing a sale or making a project happen right off the bat (negotiation finesse is also crucial), but solid prepping is very key.

  • Great reverse side of the argument. Social media is a good way to help those who contact us to do their homework on what we care about and really want.

  • All good points Mark!