I’m pretty sure you do this already, if you don’t then you should, it’s the most important preparation before any meeting or call:
stalk research your prospects.
Before you go on a date, don’t you Google who you’re rendezvousing with? Aren’t you curious who you’re meeting? Applying the same curiosity to business meetings as you do with personal meetings is that step you make to build authentic connections.
Why it helps to research your prospect
First, you’re being authentic – how you treat one person is how you are with everyone, right?
Second, the more people see the real you, the more you will see the real them, and not the corporate fluff we think we should put on, like terrible caked on layers of makeup. So we must first seek to understand before being understood.
If you feel weird about it, don’t worry. If I don’t want you to know anything about me, I wouldn’t have a public Twitter account – my Instagram is private, but Twitter is public.
Examples of how stalking prospects helps
A co-founder I coached, let’s call her Rhianna, explained how nervous she was about an upcoming meeting with an account executive. Without going into too much detail, Rhianna found difficulty in securing the meeting with the executive, so she asked her friend to tell the executive’s boss she had to meet with her. Not the best way to secure a meeting, but we have to deal with the hand we’re given.
While coaching Rhianna, I asked what she knew about the executive. She knew about the account and the company, but nothing about the executive. When you Google the exec’s name up comes her Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram feed: she likes Arsenal and clubbing; she’s a vegetarian from Nigeria, with a good sense of humour…and so on. Knowing this information, you can find areas of mutual interest and create an authentic connection. Rhianna preferred rugby to football but her partner was a vegetarian. Voila, something to connect with. Rhianna got how challenging veggie’s have in finding places to eat out, so she made recommendations to the executive. They connected.
In another example, I reached out to the CEO of an organisation I want to deliver workshops for. I found a photo of him at a conference doing the Gangnam Style dance. You can imagine, a CEO who’s cool with doing that at a work do likes to have a laugh. In my email to him, my first sentence “Hi XXX, I feel a Gangnam Style dance-off is on the cards” . Followed by a couple of lines about the benefits of a workshop and asking for a meeting. His response? His PA replied suggesting meeting times for coffee.
People like to do business with those they know, like, and trust. Period. If you can make work fun for people, so they can be themselves, they feel good around you. It’s human nature.
Research your prospects in less time
Here’s an amazing tool saving you up to an hour a day, depending on how many meetings you have, by doing all the stalking for you: Charlieapp
It’s crazy amazing!
I wish I had this 15 years ago, before Linkedin or Facebook. Charlieapp integrates with Google calendar. You have to give it permission to access Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin (admittedly I was a little reluctant at first, but then thought, what the heck), and at the beginning of each day it brings you a one page summary of whoever is in your diary’s latest tweets, Linkedin profile, their company and competition, and common connections.
I’m in no way affiliated with Charlieapp. I just found it, used it, amazed by it, so sharing it with you to hopefully save you time.