Modern Day Prospecting

Published on January 2, 2004

We all know about the intelligent databases marketing companies use to mine information on its buyers so they can be targeted to in a customized manner. But what about customized cold calls?

If you are still dialing for dollars blindly, chances are you’re wasting your time. While prospecting is still a numbers game, today’s technology allows us to increase our hit rate dramatically. Yet, many sales executives who use the phone for prospecting are not effectively using the technology available to them.

Instead of cold calling a person, start by searching the prospect’s web site. Find out what the company is doing and what their strategic initiatives are.

Don’t stop there. Go to Google or other search engines and input your prospects name. You may be pleasantly surprised. For example, in trying to reach a prospect this morning, I Googled him and up popped the announcement of when he was hired. I immediately clipped a quote of his and used it to start my prospecting e-mail. I was able to align my value with his direction so the e-mail is no longer considered a cold solicitation.

You can also do more extensive research by using well known database services such as Hoovers and Eliyon. With each of these services you can upload extensive profiles of both the company and the prospect. You can see where they worked in the past, get a snapshot of their successes, and in some cases, find out about their interests and hobbies.

What’s the down side of doing all this work before you dial the phone? It takes more time. But the investment will also increase your hit rate by getting to know your prospect in advance and figuring out what’s important to the individual. You will spend more time up front, but how much time did you save in making dozens of other cold calls and not being able to connect with anyone?

Technology just shouldn’t be used for prospecting, but also for helping you close the deal. In doing research for one of my clients, I came across a couple of initiatives that were crucial to that client’s customer. Having this knowledge enabled us to create a strategy that has a better chance of success.

You have the technology. It’s right at your finger tips. The more you get to know your customers and prospects, the more confidence you will have in making that call and your pitch. You will have customized your message into words that will ring with interest in the ears of your prospects

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