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How to prospect in a #Buyerfirst way

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 10/4/22 7:45 AM

Copy of In the moment

How do you prospect in a #BuyerFirst way? Well, the first thing I'll tell you is you've got to do the research beyond the industry they're in or their current role.

I often see sellers look at their prospect's LinkedIn profiles. They see what type of role in the industry they're in, and then they start plugging in their little cohesive-isms. Like, "Oh, I see you're in this industry and in this role, so you must be worried about x." 

That doesn't add any value to the person you're talking to. So instead, when you're doing your research, dig deeper. 

Find your prospect's LinkedIn profile and look at how did they get into this role:

  • What did they have for their education? 
  • What roles did they do previously?
  • Are they new to this role? 
  • Is this something they've never done before?
  • Do they have a lot of experience doing it?

Dig even deeper:

  • Who do they report to?
  • What are the metrics of people in their industry and roles?
  • And what are the trends in their industry right now that others like them are trying to figure out?
  • And then, go to the company profile. Go to LinkedIn and find out more about them. You can look at the different insights that have been happening internally.
  • Are they hiring a lot in particular departments did you impact, or has there been a decline in that?
  • And how would you understand how that will impact them with the solution you offer?
  • What's their business model? 
  • What's their revenue model?
  • How do they make money? 
  • How do they help other people?

One thing that drives me (and buyers) absolutely insane is when a seller gets on their first call and says, "So tell me about your company." 


Like, I shouldn't have to tell you about my company. It's everywhere online. It wouldn't take more than five minutes to find out who we are and what we do.

So, stop if you're asking that as the first question in your discovery calls; just stop it. 

Prospect in a #buyerfirst way by doing some research

Have an idea of how they think they make money and ask them questions about that. And then, with that research, craft a message to them that you can share some data point and relate it to an insight that maybe they hadn't fully realized or considered.

This could be insights from what your customers are doing and saying. For example, I work with many software companies with hundreds of thousands of customers and users. There is a lot of data there that you could discover feedback to some of the buyers you're talking to that they might not fully realize or understand.

And if you don't have many customers to be able to pull data and insights from, then look at what are some of the things that are happening in their industry that you learned from your research:

  • What discussions are their associations having? 
  • What are the news and the headlines that are happening?
  • And how might that impact them? 
  • Are there regulations and rules that have changed that might impact them? (Supply chains, for example) 
  • What are the economic uncertainties, and how does that impact them?

Once you learn more about them and how they can make money and some research or data point that you can relate to or insight for them, then ask your open-ended diagnostic question about how they think about this or how they handle it.

And ask if they'd like to learn how others like them are achieving quantifiable results. Let me repeat that—QUANTIFIABLE results. 

Now, for my business, my messaging and my prospecting sound something like this: 

"Did you know that sales emails increased by thirty-seven percent since the pandemic started, but that response rates dropped by twenty-three percent? This is according to data from HubSpot and benchmarking over hundreds of companies. If you're in technology sales, we know that your cost of sales and customer acquisition is going up exponentially. 

And for those technology companies with the highest customer acquisition costs, some decide to invest in technology and automation, while others use freemium models for demand generation. What they don't realize is that they're creating the very problems that they're trying to solve when most of us ignore those impersonal and automated messages. It's tough to upsell on value when your customer's price point's been anchored at zero, making customer retention even more critical and difficult for you. 

Our research shows that a better approach to customer acquisition is a combination of technology, data, and the development of your people. In fact, after implementing our size-based programs to hire and scale their teams, several companies like yours have achieved a hundred and thirty percent of their targets with a ninety-eight percent retention rate while also reducing their discount rate and increasing their margins.

So how are you handling your rising customer acquisition costs and lower retention rates? Would you be open-minded to learning more about how this company did it?"

Now, that's the kind of prospecting message designed to capture the person's attention. It gives them a point of data they might have yet to realize-- or hadn't fully considered before. Then ask the open-ended diagnostic question to get them to engage in a conversation with you.

If your prospecting isn't helping you to differentiate and grab their attention, it's just another "Hey, I'm just bumping this up to the top of your inbox in case you missed it kind of email." And you're missing the boat and the opportunity to differentiate from your competition and the status quo.

So when you think about how to prospect in a #buyerfirst way:

Think about how to research in a way that is effective and scalable that will deliver those insights that you can then share with your prospective customers to get them engaged with you.


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Topics: sales tips, prospecting, sales training, salespeople