Researching Before Your Appointment Setting Call. Worth it or Waste of Time?

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When seeking to set a sales appointment or discovery call, should you research a company before you call or send an email? Let’s answer that question 3 ways. 

Now you may be thinking, well, uh, scott, isn’t it a good idea to research a company a bit so that you can communicate that you know something about them and spent time to learn something about them before you call?

Well, it certainly seems to a popular belief and sales reps just seem to accept it as correct, but I have to tell you, I personally believe that it is probably the DUMBEST bit of sales prospecting advice given.

Sales prospecting four letter word: M A T H. 

Whoa Channell, bold statement there. How can you be so sure. Well, there are two reasons, the first one is common sense and the second is a four letter word. M a t h. Math.

Lets take a common prospecting situation and keep it simple. You have identified 100 high probability prospects to reach out to. These HPP’s (high probability prospects) belong to a group with similar characteristics and needs. Now ponder that scenario again because we will come back to its significance. You have identified 100 high probability prospects to reach out to. You are going to reach out to them with some combination of calling, emailing, carrier pigeon, voicemails, emails, ravens, whatever, doesn’t matter, but you are going to use some sort of consistent process to interact with your targets. It takes a certain amount of time to work your process on these 100 targets, lets say it takes 10 hours. So you call 100 targets in 10 hours and get X as a result.

B2B Appointment Setting and Discovery Call Outreach Time Spent Researching Is Time Not Spent Calling or Emailing

But a lot of people advise you to research before you reach out. You only have so much time out of your sales day prospecting. Time spent researching means time spent not calling. So you spend 3 hours researching and 3 hours calling. Now, in order for your research to be worth the time it needs to double your results. If you cut your call time 50% to research you must double results with your remaining call time to break even. Not going to happen. Common sense tells you it will not happen and math proves it is a waste of time.

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Well, then why do so many preach it and believe it. Well I think it has to do with a fundamental mistake often made about prospecting. Many suffer from the delusion that you can increase overall prospecting productivity and schedule more sales appointments and discovery calls if your individual suspect thinks you know something about them, that you have taken time to research them. That is absolutely wrong and is reverse of the mindset you should have when seeking to book appointments.

It is not what you know about them that matters, it is what they think you might be able to do for them that matters.
Enabling them to conclude that you might be able to help them is what matters, nothing else. That is what earns you meetings that convert into sales.

Maybe’s, exceptions to the rule and the lunatic fringe don’t count

What might work some of the time is not what is going to lift sales results 20% or more consistently. Every rep and sales team has a certain amount of time to devote to lead generation and must consistently spit out the highest amount of qualified first steps that convert for the time and money invested. That is always the goal. You want to be working in the zone where you are working a system on the most valuable targets you can for the most consistent results over time.

Now go back to our example. You are calling 100 high probability prospects that are similarly situated, that is the key. If you are manager in charge of a sales team it is your sacred duty to know what profile of targets are most responsive and buy the most. You always are allocating your time and money to the most responsive GROUP you can. Groups.

Research the GROUP before your set the sales appointment call. Not the individual companies.

And that is where the research magic happens. You research the group before you reach out, and know the needs, situation and results needed among the GROUP you are targeting stone cold. You structure your messaging to enable the best response, the most sales appointments or discovery calls from that GROUP for the time invested. Call a group of 100 over 10 hours and get X result over and over again. Not spend 5 hours researching individual companies and 5 hours calling and expect to get double the response just to break even on the time, not going to happen.

Research the GROUP before you call and research the individual company once you have secured the first sales appointment or discovery call.

Another reason why researching each company you call is a waste?
The reasons why they need you are not publicly available.

In my long career and with all the reps I have helped and trained, I can’t think of one instance where a major account was landed due to knowing some easily available public information.

If you are working for an experienced reputable company with credibility and dependability up the yazoo, do you really think you help yourself by getting Mr. or Ms. Big on the phone and saying “Hey, see you are opening a new location. That you are hiring new employees. That you just got some award.” Do you really think that impresses anyone and is enough to get you in the door?

In fact, I think it diminishes your crediblity when in the first crucial seconds of an interaction you relate some mundane piece of info at the expense of clarifying what you do, your credibility, what you can achieve. You should be enabling someone that has a problem to conclude that you are worth spending time with. Mundane info does not do it. Info with impact gets you in the door. You must enable a buyer to conclude “Hey, they might be able to help me.” I will listen more. I will meet.

If you would like to make sure you are calling the highest probability groups of targets, improve your messaging or outreach process for more sales appointments or discovery calls, or need a speaker or trainer for your next sales meeting. Contact us and lets discuss.

Prospect and prosper.

Scott Channell sales scripts & appointment setting