Before you pick up the phone to make a sales call, uncover all you can about your prospect. Become a detective to do your research. The more you learn about the prospect, the more you will mean to the prospect.

Quite often, sales professionals and business owners wing it. They’re not sure what to say, so they start making their calls, hoping to get lucky and get the appointment. Being unprepared when making your calls is a risky business, you come across as unsure of yourself in your speaking. A prospect may think that if you haven’t prepared for the call, you may not be prepared if you do business with them.

It takes going the extra mile and becoming an expert in the prospect’s industry. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the library or at conferences. By doing just a little more computer research and learning as much as you can about the prospect, you’ll stand out from the competition and easily get the appointment.

So, How Do You Become a Sales Detective?

To make prospects want to buy from you, find out what their interests are and how you can mean more to them. Most sales professionals think if they identify who their ideal client is, they’ve done enough. By gathering additional information, you have separated yourself from the competition. As a sales detective you have the following resources available to assist you in your research:

1. Visit the prospect’s website. Read the last few financial statements, the CEO’s message, or any press releases.

3. Learn about your prospect by doing a web search via Google or any other search engine you like.

4. Read a couple of trade publications related to your prospect’s industry.

5. If your prospects tend to be in one particular industry, join associations where they gather and go to networking events they may attend.

6. Speak to other salespeople in the industry to get a feel for the climate of the industry. Ask them what the climate of the industry is; what changes are going on that either positively or negatively impact the industry.

7. Conduct a few informational interviews within the company. You can call into the marketing and sales areas. Let them know you’re interested in learning more about their company. People are happy to help when you ask them.

8. Learn about the competition by visiting their websites. Know how you compare to the competition.

Think of a new business account you would like to break into. Start to apply several of the steps listed in today’s article. You will come across as more confident with the prospect because you are more prepared.