A cold call is less appreciated than a “sales” email. But if you have a dinosaur sales manager you may not be able to stop cold calling completely. However, it only takes a few minutes to research a prospect on the web or social media.
You don’t have to make “cold” calls anymore if you use these nine tactics.
1. Learn about their products, services and customer base.
The only reason one business is willing to contract with another is to improve efficiency or increase revenue. If your offer doesn’t fit its goals and plans, it’s not going to happen no matter how hard you try to “find the pain” your dinosaur sales manager tells you exists.
2. Discover their story and the key players.
The “About” page of a website is the most useful page when prospecting. The bios are terrific nuggets to help you assess who is the best person to talk to and their responsibilities. There may be a few different people involved in the decision-making process too.
3. Get the professional history of your key contacts.
The “About” might tell you the current role of a key contact but not a lot of detail about their experience. If they have a LinkedIn profile, then you can often uncover their work history and professional motivations.
4. Get introduced via a professional connection instead of introducing yourself.
It’s always better to have someone introduce you to a prospect than doing it yourself. Through LinkedIn you can determine in minutes which of your professional connections might be able to make the introduction.

5. Quickly gain rapport by discussing mutual experiences
or interests.
People like to do business with other people just like them. Before calling someone, take a couple of minutes to look at their LinkedIn profile. Put a face to the voice you’ll soon hear on the phone.
6. Use specific facts to pre-qualify.
Company websites usually don’t provide details like annual revenue and number of employees. Check out their company LinkedIn profile. You’ll see their employees on LinkedIn, and it lists their industry, location(s), and annual revenue.
7. See what a Google search says.
In one Google search, you can learn a lot about a company that’s not published on their website or social media. For example, it’s good to know in advance if they have recently experienced a lawsuit or are actively hiring.
Also, press releases often announce acquisitions, mergers, new products
and strategic alliances to start a conversation.
8. Get an alert that indicates when you should make a call.
Timing is everything in marketing and sales. When a company goes through changes, it’s also more open to other “disruptions.” The trick is knowing what’s happening when it happens so you can act on it. For your top prospects, set up Google Alerts for the name of their business, key contacts and any other relevant branded terms. As soon as “trigger events” such as a news article,
press release, or blog post are published about them, you’ll get an email.
9. Discover how successful your prospective company is.
Read the customer reviews of the prospect on Google Local, Yelp, and whatever listing/review service is popular for their type of business. Some recent bad reviews might light a spark for them to act. Many mediocre reviews might indicate a non-committed management team (sound like a good prospect?)

By Victor Clarke