Imagine it is your first call to a potential architect or a builder and the first question you ask is: “Mr. Smith, please tell me about your business.” What message does that communicate?
You won’t believe how many salespeople start their calls this way. They believe it is a good question because it encourages the customer to talk about something they know a lot about. Most customers see it differently, though. More often than not, the customer sees it as the salesperson not having done their homework prior to the call, and that s/he now has to invest valuable time educating you.
What if instead you were to say: “Mr. Smith, I visited 3 of your job sites this week and I noticed that (insert something you noticed). What positive impact is that having on your business?” See the difference?
And it all comes as a result of research.
I recognize that research at a job site may not be practical in many cases. But there is no excuse for not researching the customer on the web. Check out their website to see how they present themselves. What do they highlight that differentiates them as a builder? What is the impression they are seeking to make? If they are a public company, look up their annual report either on their site or at www.sec.gov – you won’t believe all that you can learn about the company as they report to the public and shareholders.
A must is to check out LinkedIn, as it is a great resource about both the individual and their company. I always see if the person I am calling on has a LinkedIn profile to better understand how long they have been with their current employer and some anecdotes about them. What you learn can set the stage for a powerful conversation.
If you want to be a Rainmaker in the Building Materials industry, differentiate yourself by being diligent about your research prior to the call. It will definitely set you apart!