Prospecting: Should you research a prospect before you call?

by Jacques Werth

Many salespeople have been taught that they should know as much as possible about a prospect before they make a prospecting call.  Depending on the type of prospects that you are calling, the research could take between five minutes and perhaps forty-five minutes.  All that, for a call to someone who is far more likely to say “No” than “Yes.”

You should generally do only as much research as it takes to get the name and phone number of the prospect before you call.  In most cases that means that you must define who is most likely to have a need for your type of products and services, and the money to buy what you are selling.  Therefore, you must make a list of all of the demographics of your ideal customers and prospects.

If your market is consumers, some of those demographics could be:  age, family status, income, net worth, zip code, etc.

If your market is business, or institutional, some of those demographics could be:  industry, job title, size of company, number of employees, etc.

Once you have the list, contact a reputable list broker and buy a prospecting list of about 750 prospects, complete with phone numbers.  The costs may range from 11¢ to 45¢ per name.

That is all the knowledge you will need to call the people on your list and offer them your product or service.  Once you have presented your offer, most of them will say “No”.  All that means is they are not ready to buy now.  In some cases they will tell you that you are talking to the wrong person and they will give you the name of someone else to call.  In some cases they will say “Yes”.  Once you have set up an appointment with a prospect, that is the time to do research on whom you are going to meet.

Prospecting: Should you research a prospect before you call?

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