How to Find the Perfect Leads

As sales professionals, prospecting and filling our pipeline of potential clients/customers is one of our few, most important core tasks. Many sales professionals and organizations as a whole, however, are still prospecting the way they were 10 or 15 years ago.

The term “prospecting” actually rooted from gold miners who would prospect for gold by digging in areas of which they had little geographical data, in hopes of finding a “gold nugget”.

In sales, the equivalent of this has been picking up the phone and dialing as many numbers as it takes to finally score on a golden nugget. Just like every other marketing strategy, this worked like a charm initially—but marketers ruin everything—spammers ruined email open and response rates, and similarly, telemarketers with subpar products and services ruined cold calling.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe the telephone is still one of the most powerful tools for prospecting new business. But we must evolve our approach to the times we live in.

The reason, at least in my opinion, why the churn and burn approach to cold calling worked in the past was that there were very few means for gaining insight on your potential client prior to giving him a call. But today, there’s no excuse for not having information about your prospect prior to calling and pitching them on your product or service. If you didn’t take 60 seconds to look up their company and uncover what some of their needs may be, why should they listen to your sales pitch. In other words, you clearly didn’t care, so why should they?

If you think you can keep getting by doing what you’ve always done, remember that this is what led to the failure of some of the largest organizations in the world.

K Mart let Wal Mart happen, eBay let Amazon happen, and Blockbuster let Netflix happen.

So how can you gain insight and better prepare for a call? Here are 3 quick tips to make the most of your cold calling efforts

  1. Look up the company website to gain some quick, valuable information like what the company does and what their mission and beliefs are.
  2. Look at the company’s LinkedIn page to find out who you should be speaking to, how large the organization is, and to read any relevant updates on their news feed that may be relevant to what you’re selling.
  3. Download a tool called Charlie. Charlie works on the web and has an iPhone app that lets you prepare for sales meetings and even cold calls for clients you’re really hoping to land. By entering a contact’s name and e-mail, it will look up their company, news mentions, and even their personal interests so you have something other than the weather to talk about when you meet or speak with them.

Navid Amin is Recruitment Consultant at RMSG in Toronto, Canada. Navid helps clients through designing and implementing hiring initiatives. He is passionate about sales, marketing and technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/in/navidamin and follow him on Twitter at @Navid_Amin.