Knowledge is power, and successful meetings involve some level of preparation and discovery. But while prep is something we all aspire to, we’ve all been in the situation where a last minute call is thrown on your calendar and you’re not sure what it’s about, or time got away from you and you realize you ran out of time to do deep research so you pull what you can.
There are some basic steps that can really help give you context about the individual and company that you are meeting with:
- You look the person you’re meeting with up on LinkedIn
- You spend a few minutes skimming the company webpage
- You check their social to see if there is any public info you can glean about their interests
- You set a news alert for company updates to ensure you don’t miss anything major
- You message your teammate who has worked with them in the past for background and check your CRM notes
Ideally, your discovery goes a step further:
- You listen to their earnings call
- You read their 10K
- You check their latest raise announcements and investor updates
- You formulate questions that reflect the state of the business and these larger macro impacts
Pssst! Did you know Zinnia AI can pull all this research for you instantly? Check it out!
When you have a foundational understanding of the person across from you (either physically or virtually) and what is happening with their business, you’re able to ask better questions and demonstrate to them that you’ve done your research and that you care about the relationship.
Putting it into practice
There is an art to using the information you’ve uncovered to your advantage. Depending on the type of information you know, it should be handled differently.
1. Company facts or professional announcements can be addressed directly.
- E.g. you can mention that you saw the update on the news or their promotion on LinkedIn. You can ask questions about how the news is impacting their role and strategic priorities.
2. Common connections can be name dropped directly - this may be something you identify via LinkedIn or just through a small world scenario.
- If they went to the same undergrad or masters program as you - feel free to call it out. This also lands in the “I saw this on LinkedIn” category.
- If you happen to know someone in common, you can mention their name and talk about what a small world it is.
3. Personal information that you uncover via social media should be cultivated carefully - you want to create a sense of forced serendipity. You don’t want to come across as creepy. Use this as an opportunity to find your own commonalities with them and open up new topics of conversation.
- E.g. If you found out that they just adopted a puppy, casually mention your dog. If they just got back from a wedding in Italy, mention that you’re still dreaming about your trip last summer.
At the end of the day, use the information you’ve gathered to your advantage. Use it to dig deeper. Use it to ask questions. Use it to connect on a personal level. And watch your relationship (and your quota attainment) grow.