Pre-approach is obtaining vital information about prospective buyers/dealers prior to calling on them.
What Kind of Information Do You Want?
When calling on a dealer you need to know who to talk to to get results, what his market nitch is, what his “hot buttons” are and how to push them.
Why Is Getting Pre-Approach Information Necessary To Good Sales?
Obviously, it is hard to sell hardware products to a software-only store. Likewise, there may be 150 dealers out of your database of 250 that cater to desktop publishing. If you are representing a desktop publishing product, wouldn’t you have more success with qualified dealers who specialize or even sell desktop publishing?
Getting pre-approach helps you qualify dealers. In addition, finding out about a vendor, especially something “personal,” before the call, helps you tailor your approach toward his or her needs. For example, if your dealer has said he will only carry the top three products in a category, and he only likes demos on Thursdays, you may wish to mention your latest software rating (if it is in the top 3) and suggest an appointment on Thursday.
How Do You Get This Information?
To call on resellers you should have a detailed database. If this database been properly set up and maintained you should be able to run filters to pull out the most qualified dealers to show your products to. Contact managers such as GoldMine from GoldMine Software and Act! from Symantec allow you to easily sort your records by filters.
If you are just setting up an area you can either enter leads manually, swap names with a local rep from a non-competing company, or you can purchase a list. Following are a few places to contact for regional or national lists:
CD Yellow pages. This is a CD containing the entire yellow page directory. It is inexpensive but there can be a lot of duplicates (companies place ads in multiple directories) and little qualifying information.
American Business Lists. This is a large list broker that can usually give you qualified resellers that meet your criteria.
InfoUSA. Similar to ABL above.
Chain Store Guide. (800)927-9292. This company sells a national CD of retail or VAR outlets with good qualifying information (i.e., number of reps, sales volume, specialties, etc.).
Dunn & Bradstreet. Like ABL above, they are a large list broker. They have a CD ROM kit that allows unlimited browsing. The kit includes one-time download access to records that, when used up, can be re-ordered over the modem–it’s a pretty slick system.
Computer Marketing Research. This company compiles sales figures from tens of thousands of resellers–they also broker their list and are an excellent source to populate your reseller database.
- Describe the information you should have before contacting your resellers.
- Do you know how to run a filter to pull out qualified dealers from your database? If no, learn this feature right away.
- List something personal about one of your dealers that is included in your current database that would help you better relate with that dealer.