If you have kids or watch a lot of Tik-Tok, you're familiar with the Backyardigans song 'International Super Spy'.
It's a catchy little tune that will not get out of your head. As silly as the song is, it reminds us that part of your job as a salesperson is to be a spy. No, not a real spy, but one that targets prospects and does some sleuthing to uncover inside information before your first Discover meeting.
The Discover meeting is the most important meeting you will ever have with any client, ever! If improving sales performance is important, read on!
During the Discover meeting, you will set the tone for your relationship. Your potential client will learn whether or not to trust you and begin to believe that you can help them. Without preparation for this call, you are increasing your chances of failure.
I don’t know about you, but I like to win, which means that I also like to stack the deck in my favor. And to do that, you MUST be prepared to ask the right questions… and more importantly, to get the right answers.
Alright… I can hear your responses now. "But, Trey, isn’t the needs analysis where we get answers? Where do we find their desired business results, and learn about their business?"
Yes, Yes, Yes!
That is exactly what you're doing in the meeting; however, if you are properly prepared by researching the client, you should have some powerful “intel” on your prospect that will lead you right to their most important goals and challenges.
So, how do you get that important “intel”?
The answer is simple, yet difficult. It’s easy to do but will take some effort. Trust me, it will be worth the time.
1. The Internet
Yes, the internet. Just Google the company’s name, owner’s name, email addresses, etc. You will be amazed at what you can find with a little creative searching. I’ve found “long lost” PDFs from trade meetings with sales data of clients. And when I told the owner about it, he was shocked and thankful that I told him where to find it and quickly deleted it!
2. Trade Associations
They have a lot of industry data and are very willing to help you find more.
3. The Center for Sales Strategy
4. Walk Into the Store
Do a little shopping. Talk to the sales associate. Speak with a manager. Sometimes I say what I’m doing. Sometimes, I don’t. Either way, they are a gold mine of information. By speaking with an employee or manager, you can find out important info that can help you “warm-up” your cold call.
5. Visit the Competition
Owners love to talk about their big competitors. Visit them. Observe what they are doing. What is working and what is not. These insights can be the perfect spice to add to your needs analysis questions.
Like I said… this is going to take some time, but I promise you it will be worth every second of your time. You will walk into your next needs analysis call with the confidence, insight, and expertise that no other sales rep is going to have.
Like Thomas Hobbes said…”Knowledge is Power”… and with your newfound “intel”, you will be one powerful account executive!
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2013 and has since been updated.