iphone-410311_1280In life—but especially in sales—first impressions are everything. So, the first time you pick up the phone to contact a prospect, you have to make a strong first impression. The best way to do that is simply to know what you’re talking about and more importantly, who you’re talking to. The next time you prepare for calling a prospect, make sure you already know these things:

Name and job title.

This is basic information that every salesperson or wholesale distributor should know before contacting a prospect. Although it may be difficult, try to find out more about the way the company is structured so you can understand where the prospect falls on the leadership structure. If you can’t find this information, use it as a starting point in the conversation once you have him or her on the phone. Find out what department the prospect is in, who reports in to him or her, and who he or she reports to as well. This can help you determine whether you will need to include other people on any other calls that take place if the prospect is not the one who makes the final decision.

Their job history.

It helps to know how long someone has been with the company and what other positions they may have held prior to their current one before making the call. Their past experience will help shape how much they know about your product, your competitors, their own business needs, and the industry as a whole. Someone who is brand new to the company may not have a good understanding of what the company’s problems are and what products can help fulfill their needs. This information can help you prepare a sales pitch that will fit their level of knowledge. To find this information, do a quick search on LinkedIn and take notes before you jump on the call.

The company news.

Is there a reason why the prospect’s company is deciding to reach out to you at this specific time? Find out if anything is going on with the prospect’s company to determine why their business needs may have shifted. Are they under new leadership or trying to carve out a new path in the market? Or the company could be trying to recover after a financially tough year. Whatever the reason, you should know about it prior to getting on the call.

Whether you’ve talked before.

You have to find out how much information the prospect already has about your company by determining whether the prospect has reached out to you in the past. Do a quick search in your company’s CRM system to determine if there has been any interaction between your team and the prospect in the past. If there has, see if there are any notes written on what stopped the prospect from moving forward. Use this information to adjust your pitch to help the prospect overcome this obstacle.

What do you try to learn about a prospect before you make the first call? Share your thoughts in the comments below!