The Minimum Effective Amount of Preparation to Prospect

You need to be prepared to prospect. But not as much as you might think.

The first thing you need to know to begin prospecting is your company’s value proposition.

  • What problems does your company solve?
  • How do you solve those problems?
  • What are the three or four main differentiators that allow you to make a difference and that compel your client to choose you over your competitors?

When you can answer these questions, you know enough about your company to begin prospecting.

The second thing you need to know is who your target clients are, your dream clients.

  • You need a list of dream clients (Here is a video to help you define dream clients). These people or companies are plagued with the kind of problems you solve and will perceive the value in what you sell.
  • It’s also helpful to know the titles and roles of the people who are going to be most compelled by what you sell, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. You can find the contact you need.

You don’t need a CIA dossier on your contact before you contact them. You know enough to call.

The third thing you need is a good script (or planned dialogue) that allows you to ask for a meeting while promising to create value for your prospect.

  • You need two or three useful insights or ideas that you can share with your dream client so that you can ask for a meeting. This is the value you promise to create (which means your meeting isn’t a pitch meeting).
  • You also need a list of reasons why people refuse an appointment and good methodology for overcoming objections.

A List of Things You Don’t Need

  • Except in the rarest of cases, you don’t need to do hours and hours of research (even though you may need to do more research later, once you’ve booked a call). A look at the company’s website and the contact’s LinkedIn page is smart, but hours of research is call reluctance.
  • You don’t need a trigger event. You don’t need to wait until something is reported in a public source before you call. You want to be there before the trigger event occurs. You want to nurture relationships. When the trigger event occurs, you are already behind where you need to be.
  • You don’t need to connect on social sites, and you don’t need to listen. It’s wonderful if you connect with a contact before you pick up the phone and call them. It’s even more wonderful if you can pick up some insight that allows you to create value. The telephone is an awesome social tool because it allows you to actually speak with your prospective client across long distances.

There is no formula for success that includes waiting to take action. There is no benefit in doing more than the minimum amount of preparation necessary before prospecting.

Filed under: Cold Calling, Prospecting, Sales 3.0

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