You dramatically increase your freight sales simply by doing research before making that first call to them. Shipping Decision Makers don’t have the patience to answer basic questions whose answers are readily accessible with the most basic of Googling, nor do they have time to fill you on their challenges at other times.
When you pick up the phone without gathering any background information, at best you stand to annoy your prospect, and at worst, to be hung up on mid-sentence. Then you can be sure there won’t be any money exchanging hands between the two of you.
Here are ways to research your freight prospects before you call them. You don’t have to use all of them – just using two or three will be a great help as you personalize your conversation to them and their business.
LinkedIn is a gold mine for prospect research. If you only research your prospect on one platform before you call, make it LinkedIn. After finding your freight prospect on the network, check out each of the following areas of their profile:
- Experience at their current job– Most people list primary job duties or major projects
they’ve worked on. This assists to get a sense of what falls under their jurisdiction, and what doesn’t.
- Experience at their former jobs– Customize your messaging based on their career history. Is this their first time making this kind of freight decision, or have they done this many times?
- Shared connections– If you have a connection in common with your prospect, make sure to bring it up during your conversation, and ask how they know this person. This could be a referral opportunity.
- Groups– Click through to their groups to see what’s being talked about.
- Recent activity– Take a look at what your prospect has recently shared and where.
2) Personal Twitter
If your prospect has a Twitter account, spend a few minutes on their page to get a sense of what they’re interested in. Read a handful of the articles they’ve recently retweeted, or look into an issue they posted. Click back through their feed to spot any trends in their interests.
3) Company Twitter
What kind of content and messaging has the company been promoting? Understanding how the company presents to its’ customers can help you better understand how to present yourself to your prospect.
4) Company Press & Media Release Page
Scroll through the recent press releases and see if anything major has been announced such as leadership changes, product releases, financial statements, events, or customer wins.
5) Competitor Press & Media Release Pages
If a competitor has made a significant announcement within the past few months, that’ll color the way your prospect views your offering – either as a competitive advantage, or an unnecessary expense in the face of more pressing priorities. Again, figure out your footing before you pick up the phone.
6) Financial Statements
If your prospect works for a public company, check out its most recent financial reports on the SEC’s website. This gives you an idea of how the company is performing, as well as the problems it’s facing (check out the “risk factors” sections).
7) Blog Posts Prospect Read Themselves, Or Written.
If your prospect maintains a blog, be sure to read at least the last few posts and comment on them during your call. In addition, visit the websites of popular industry blogs and peruse the latest posts to learn more about the trends and challenges shaping their business environment.
Facebook is more of a personal social network, and so typically less important for researching purposes than LinkedIn or Twitter. Still, it might be helpful to check out your buyer’s Facebook profile to pick up a few personal tidbits about them. Just make sure to weave these into the conversation naturally, or you risk giving off an overly personal vibe. This is another good place to see if you have any friends in common.
9) Google Company
Conduct a search on the company to bring up any news stories that they’ve kept off their press page – good or bad. Select third-party publications that are high-quality and reliable.
10) Google Prospect
Search your prospect’s name in quotes to surface any other information about them that might’ve fallen through the cracks. Baking contest winner? Amateur trumpet player? Right on!