This pre-call checklist for sales is a little technique that we use at Integrated Alliances. It’s also something that we teach in our social selling workshops and webinars. We actually only spend about 10 minutes on this topic, but it’s one of the most important parts of our program. It does assume you know how to do a few basic things on LinkedIn and on the web, so it takes place later in the social selling program.
While much of this procedure is common sense, making this a “best practice” part of your routine will help you guide the calls in a positive direction, make you look good and will keep you from saying things that you wish you hadn’t.
Think of it as a process or checklist to follow.
The checklist is great for sales reps to follow before contacting a new prospect. It works for non-sales calls as well. In fact, it’s a good idea to follow parts of this before any call to freshen up your knowledge and get you “in the zone”.
Before you pick up the phone to call a prospect, spend just 3 – 5 minutes on a bit of research. This technique will:
- Help guide your call
- Prevent you from asking unnecessary questions
- Allow you to prepare better questions
- Make it easier to build rapport in the early stages
As you go through the checklist, try and find 5 – 6 things that would be good to bring up during the call to probe in the right areas.
Being better prepared and building an early rapport can have a potentially big payday. People will like you and will open up more. The net result is more sales with higher margins.
This technique takes a little bit of preparation. I always keep at least one LinkedIn advanced search window open and ready AT ALL TIMES just for this.
This process is simple, like a calling script. Just work it into the routine you follow for each sales call and it will quickly become second nature. In fact, you will soon feel lost without it. Trust me.
The process is simply to look at the following items for key pieces of data to educate you about the prospect, to help guide the call and to make sure you don’t miss anything.
- Read their summary – see how they describe themselves
- Read their current job description – find out what they do
- Note their work history – glance at this, don’t do a detailed review
- Read their interests section – find out what seems to motivate them
- You might bring this up in conversation
- Consider PRINTING the profile out to make notes on during the call
LinkedIn Company Page
- Access it from the current position on the profile
- Click on logo to get there
- Make note of how many employees they have
Web Site & Blog
- Look at their Web site – access it from the profile or the company page
- Identify what do they do and who do they do it for
- Visit their blog – access it from their web site (or from their profile)
- See what are they blogging about
- Determine if there is anything you might bring up in conversation
- See if they have a Twitter account
- Access from their LinkedIn profile
- Make note of what they are CURRENTLY tweeting about
- Click on links in the tweets
- Determine if there is anything you might want to bring up in conversation
If you are a multi-tasker, you can follow this script when you ANSWER the phone too.
When a call comes in, you can carefully note their name and company. Your caller ID may help. Without letting on what you are doing, look them up on LinkedIn at the very outset. Be careful to tap the keyboard very lightly so you don’t make a sound.
Having this information makes you look more intelligent and it guides the call in the right direction. However, it’s important to not get too distracted! Make sure you pay attention to what they are saying WHILE you do this.
As you review this information, look for items that are interesting, prompt questions or that can help you build rapport with your prospect. It only takes a few minutes do to this research, but those few minutes can have a big impact!