Most sales training programs look to the sales fact finding process. This process usually involves asking open ended questions as well as doing some research before actually meeting with the sales lead or prospect.
Today through the Internet, there is a wealth of information available to assist salespeople in this fact finding research. Yet one area that is often overlook is the “social history” of the prospect’s organization.
For current sellers looking to sell deeper into the organization, the social history is how did the seller’s firm originally connect with the buyer’s organization. A new seller would look to not only how did other firms connect with the prospect, but who else does he or she know at the existing firm.
LinkedIn can assist with some of this fact finding data. With its recent sale to Microsoft what was available for free such as advanced search now is only available through the paid subscription service. However, with some due diligence this information can be gathered by connecting with other people at the prospect’s organization.
My sense is through your fact finding quest you will probably discover the two or three people who had the first established relationship. This relationship then transcended through other people in the organization. In some instances, the relationship can be several decades old if not older.
The social history of any business is essential because it provides clarity as to what was valued by the original buyer and seller. This clarity can support further sales efforts including prospecting to keeping loyal customers loyal.
Possibly any SMB may wish to begin to construct their own social history through their CRM. This could be a simple sheet showing the various people involved in the sales buying decision directly or indirectly.
Yes sales fact finding is important. By adding social history to your fact finding process may just give you the competitive edge you need to earn that next sale.