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Sales Coaching

A Less Chilly Cold Call: Pre-call Planning Research

Early in my sales career, I heard from most everyone, that a salesperson needed to make lots of cold calls. The more calls the better!

The procedure was simple. Just drive down the street and find a business that could be a potential customer. Go inside the business and ask the first person you see, who they think, buys what it is you are selling.

Hopefully, from there you can find the right person, and then, or maybe later, engage them in a sales conversation.

So what’s the problem with that technique? Is it that it does not work? No, it will work selling certain items to a certain type of small account.

The point is that today, we can be a little more thoughtful about the process, and use the resources at hand, and greatly improve our success.

Before making a call, things like, what is your ideal customer profile, should be considered. A random knock on the door approach is just not smart! I will write about that soon, but for now let’s just say you are going to call on accounts randomly.

Why not take ten or fifteen minutes to do basic research that will increase your odds of success exponentially?

Here’s what I mean.

Google the business and find the name of the owner, manager, purchasing agent, or whatever you think the right title is. That way you can walk in and ask for the person by name. This technique increases your odds of getting too the right person. Even if the person you ask for turns out not to be who you need to talk to, they often will take you directly to the correct person.

Once you locate a name, check LinkedIn to learn about that person. It is amazing how much you can learn. Also, using LinkedIn as a search tool by company will show a whole list of people that work there. A great deal of the time you will see the person’s title and know exactly where to start.

From there, check Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for background information on the potential contact.

This exercise takes very little time but increases your success level exponentially. It makes the cold call much less chilly!

About Louie Davis

Sales Leader and Coach Vice President of Sales at Central Paper Company Birmingham, Alabama President +Plus Sales Training and Coaching


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