I’m constantly amazed at the calls I get.  People calling me, with little idea about who I am, what I do, what my company does.  I see this from sophisticated people in large organizations to those people dialing for dollars.

Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not my ego speaking, but I’m a really easy person to research.  Do a Google query, a lot of stuff about me pops up to the top or near the top.  In LinkedIn, there’s a complete profile with links to my blog, my company’s web site, and twitter.  So it’s really easy to find out about me and to be prepared to engage me in a conversation.

I’m not alone.  It’s easy to get insight for virtually everyone — or at least their company.  A Google query, LinkedIn, Facebook–these are just starting points.

If we are trying to connect with our prospects, if we are trying to engage them or maximize the impact of each call we make, before you pick up the phone, do some basic research.  On every call I make, even to people I know very well, I have at least two screens open on my computer, the person’s LinkedIn profile and their company’s website.  With some, I may have other information available.  Having that insight at my fingertips enables me to accomplish more in each call.

The reverse works, as well.  When I get a call from someone I don’t know, I do two things–I bring up their LinkedIn profile and their company’s website.  I quickly skim them to get some measure of them and what they do.  It’s important to understand how credible they are.

Realize, the people you are calling are doing this with you.  If you don’t have a current LinkedIn profile, you are immediately disadvantaged.  If your company doesn’t have a web presence, you may be discounted as not credible.

Selling is tough!  It’s incumbent on every sales professional to be as prepared as possible.  When we get through to a prospect, we want to maximize our impact.  The more we know about the individuals and companies we call, the more effective we can be.  We want to be as credible as possible when we reach our prospects.  Our “social” presence and that of our prospects are critical tools to enhance our productivity and impact.

Before you pick up the phone, make sure you have your prospect’s LinkedIn profile and website in front of you.

When you get a call, immediately bring up the profile of the person who is calling and their company’s website.