How Social Selling Trumps Cold Calling

As a sales professional, you know how important researching your buyer can be before you cold call or use any other tactics. You can use social media today to find a ton of this info. It can help you know more about the buyer so you can tailor your message accordingly.

Here are some of the key areas you can focus on to help you kill cold calls and create meaningful conversations. After all, the more you know and are prepared, the more likely you are to have productive interactions with potential buyers.

Know The Buyer’s Business

As simple as this may sound, a lot of us don’t spend nearly enough time to understand the products and services our prospects sell and how they make a difference in the world of their customers. Finding this information from online sources is not only possible but should be a fundamental requirement before you reach out.


  • Research their business model from online sources.
  • Read reviews by their clients.
  • Know one or more of their offerings and be able to articulate what it does and how it helps their customers.

Know The Buyer’s Role

Although every organization is different and job titles never mean the same duties and responsibilities, there are certainly common traits.

Understanding the person’s role can help you sound more credible and bring other case studies and examples where their peers have benefited by working with you. For example, if you sell to CIOs, it’s easy to find the top 10 list of priorities from CIO magazine to help convey knowledge of their top challenges.


  • Read online industry publications to familiarize yourself with the evolving nature of their role. Yes, it’s always changing!
  • Join LinkedIn Groups where these buyers are and read about their common questions and challenges.
  • Subscribe to Twitter lists that are role-specific as well.

Know What’s Impacting The Buyer’s Company Industry

The best part about online and social research is how quickly you can automate it! Imagine setting up systems that go into overdrive when you’re not around and then e-mail and/or notify you with the results. These tools exist but it’s amazing to see how many sales professionals don’t take advantage of this information.

Information is power folks! This is why sales leaders always tell us “know what your buyers are doing, what they’re up to, who they’re talking to, what they’re talking about” and much more. You can, literally, start to crack the code on this.

The more educated you are about what’s impacting the buyer, their company and the overall industry, the more you’ll have to talk to them about. You can, literally, move the conversation away from features to a broad-based conversation on their views.


  • Set up searches using Google Alerts.
  • Follow the buyer and industry publications on Twitter (better yet, use Twitter lists to make more sense of the noise).

Know The Buyer’s Competitive Landscape

Nothing gets people going like competition! It’s a fact. We all want that extra edge and knowing that competitors have it irritates us endlessly.

If that’s the case, do your research and know who the main competitors of your buyer are. We all have them. Knowing this information and articulating how competitors are faring against your prospects can show that you’ve taken the time to know something more than your rehearsed sales talk track.

If you’ve already worked with their competitor, convey insights on how they’ve received an advantage by working with you.


  • Use tools like Hoover’s or Crunchbase to find the competitors.
  • Then, use the suggestions above like Google Alerts, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter to layer on the intelligence.

Know The Buyer

You can use a variety of networks to research other aspects of a buyer. Facebook for personal interests, Twitter for random conversations, and maybe Instagram and other niche platforms for more specific information.


  • Use the same Twitter username to trigger Google results for other platforms.

Not to be creepy but all of this information will give sales reps tips to start conversations, and an understanding about the buyer’s interests and how these can relate to their journey.

The Bottom Line

This stuff isn’t hard. In fact, a lot of it is automated. If you’re looking to get the extra edge then researching this basic information can help you stand out in a sea of noise.

Here’s the best part: the majority of sales reps don’t do any research and of the ones that do, they’re really not digging in deep. By taking the time to set up these simple systems for yourself, you’ll not only give yourself the competitive advantage, more importantly you’ll convey to the buyer that you’re a person that can have conversations outside of features and benefits.

Put these tips into practice and let me know how it goes. Tweet me your thoughts @AmarSheth or reach out on LinkedIn here.


Amar Sheth

Author: Amar Sheth

Amar Sheth has trained thousands of people worldwide on the topic of Social Selling, through a style that’s part storytelling and part motivational.

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