Selling With Video

4 Ways to Prepare for a B2B Sales Call

We live in a fast paced, digital world. It’s hard enough to get an appointment with a prospective B2B customer. When you have the appointment, show up with your best possible preparation to demonstrate that you AND your solution are worthy of earning the business.

4 Ways to Prepare for a B2B Sales Call

Catch the latest Poolside Sales Chat every Friday on Periscope

This post correlates to episode 5 of Poolside Sales Chat, my weekly video series broadcast live on Periscope Fridays at 3:15 PM Eastern.

When you confirm an appointment with a qualified prospective client or customer, go ahead and celebrate a little bit. While the hard work of convincing that your solution is the best one to address his or her needs is still ahead, the appointment is an important step in the sale process.

Consider this….75% of B2B buyers conduct research in social channels.  

So, the fact that you have an appointment with a prospective customer is something to celebrate! But, as I said earlier, it just means that you’re in the deal. You certainly haven’t won the deal yet. 

So, I want to provide four tips on how you can prepare for a sales call with a potential new B2B customer. 

Research on Google Before LinkedIn

Do your own research. Before you even go to LinkedIn, start with Google. I like to start on Google because there is a much greater chance of learning something relevant and interesting about this person through a Google search more so than on Linkedin. Unfortunately, many people don’t provide much information on their LinkedIn profile. Sometimes, I think they do that intentionally. 

Here’s what you should look for in a Google search. 

Articles written.

Speaking engagements.

Awards and achievements.  

Promotions or appointments to a board or a charity.

Mine Their Professional Social Media Presence

Start with LinkedIn, then proceed to Twitter if this person is active on Twitter. If the person has a robust LinkedIn profile, you can learn a lot. I always look to see if we have any common connections. If we do, I might reach out to some of them to ask how they know this person. I want to learn insights into their professional interests and business practices.

Of course, you might learn other facts about the person on LinkedIn such as where they went to school which can sometimes be a fun topic of conversation. If the person belongs to groups on LinkedIn, consider joining the group – if you are eligible – and look to see if this person has been active in the group. If you discover they are active in a group, observe their behavior, including the topics and issues that interest them. Look at the person’s “recent activity” on LinkedIn. If you don’t know how to do that, just click on the down arrow on their profile next to the connect or message button. Then choose the recent activity option to see what they’ve posted recently or liked or commented. 

If you discover that this person recently attended a conference, learn about the topics covered at that conference. If you or someone from your company attended that conference, look for a relevant opportunity to mention that in your meeting to explore common professional interests and credibility building. 

Facebook Mining – But Don’t Be a Creep

The third tip might creep you out a little, but hear me out…I suggest you visit the person’s Facebook activity, if it is accessible. Now, proceed with great caution! Use common sense…Do NOT tell this person that you stalked them on Facebook. Many people would be creeped out by that. But, here’s what you can do that is totally ethical. Again, if the person is accessible on Facebook learn what they’re posting about. Maybe you’ll learn about one of their hobbies such as boating or golfing or cooking, etc. Or, you might learn about their kids or grand kids. 

Again, using common sense, DON’T mention that you know about these details of their life. Rather, look for an opportunity to ask a question during your conversation about a topic you discovered on their Facebook stream. You might ask, do you enjoy golf or boating? If you know he is an avid boater, you have a good chance of starting a conversation on this topic.

Is this going to help you sell your solution over your competition? No, it probably won’t, unless you have an awesome boat and you take him boating. 😉 But, seriously it can allow you to humanize the conversation by building some personal rapport, which is always helpful. If your offering and a competitor’s offering are very similar, sometimes the personal rapport can tip the scales in your favor.  

Sometimes people have little or no presence online and you won’t find them in a Google search or on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. So, what do you do then?

Conduct Competitive Research

Research the crud out of their competition. Know more about their competitors than she does. Or, pick another topic that you have good reason to believe through other sources that is important to her and research it so well that your knowledge on the topic is impressive, so much so that she wants to get to know you further.

We live in a fast paced, digital world. It’s hard enough to get an appointment with a prospective B2B customer. When you have the appointment, show up with your best possible preparation to demonstrate that you AND your solution are worthy of earning the business. Especially focus on building some personal rapport. But, personal rapport alone usually isn’t enough in B2B sales. Build professional credibility by doing your homework so thoroughly that you set yourself apart from your competitors.

These tips may not apply in every situation. Tailor them for your scenario.

For more tips, best practices and case studies on social selling and social business practices be sure to listen to my podcast. And, if you enjoy the podcast, tell your friends about it…

Feature image source: Pexels

Tune in Fridays at 3:15 PM U.S. Eastern to catch my live video Poolside Sales Chat, which we post to our YouTube channel.

By Mario Martinez Jr.

Mario is the CEO and Founder of Vengreso. He spent 85 consecutive quarters in B2B Sales and Leadership. He is one of 20 sales influencers invited to appear in the documentary film “The Story of Sales” launched in 2018.  He was also named 2019’s Top 10 Sales Influencers by The Modern Sales Magazine, 2018’s Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional and Selling Power Magazine’s 2018 Top Sales Training and Coaching Consultant.  Mario is the host of the popular The Modern Selling Podcast.

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