Time is money, as the old saying goes. That said, are you and your team making the most effective use of your resources when it comes to prospecting?
We’re big proponents of the two-by-two rule at my company. Simply put, the two-by-two rule meansfinding two pieces of information about a company to leverage in a sales call in two minutes or less. It’s an efficient way to prepare for an effective call.
Let’s explore why we need to consider this rule and how to use it.
Walking into a cold call entirely cold isn’t the best experience for either party. Before making a call, having a couple pieces of key information at your disposal makes you sound more professional. Adhering to the rule of two by two also maximizes your ability to call more prospects. Spending too much time (even 10 or 15 minutes) prior to a call just to possibly hit a voicemail or discover your contact moved to another department or a different company altogether is counterproductive. Time is the great equalizer in business and in life, so we want to make sure we’re using our time most efficiently.
Bearing this in mind, you’ll want to limit the amount of time you spend researching (two minutes) to have just enough information (two pieces) that can start off a great conversation. Though you might feel compelled to review everything you can to learn more about a company or their work, resist spending inordinate amounts of time watching highlight reels, product demos or reading white papers by the client. Ideally, find a tidbit that’s beyond the surface level information on their website. Do they produce a lot of content? Wonderful! But they probably hear that all the time. Find a topic or particular aspect of how they approach content that’s unique, different or impressive, and reference it specifically instead.
So, how do we do this? There’s a couple of sources you can reference easily. First, check out your CRM system. We use Salesforce, but wherever you capture your own customer information should be where you begin. Past interactions with either that contact, the company, or other contacts in the same company can be the best way to get a flavor of the type of projects they work on and the type of information you want to look for. Sometimes, this is the only place you need to look to get your two pieces of information.
Your next source is their company website and the description of their business. Maybe they are part of a bigger conglomerate that your company already does business with; a lot of ad agencies are set up like that. Or maybe they recently won an award, which is a great opportunity to congratulate them or ask if they got some publicity from it. You can also review their active job postings to know where the company is investing time and energy. If they’ve just hired a video producer or someone in content marketing, that could be a key piece of information for you to know. Maybe they’re expanding their HR team or they have someone in e-learning. These are all excellent pieces of information to know going into a call.
Sometimes, in our desire to be thorough or well-prepared, a tendency exists to get too far down the rabbit hole and end up crossing the line from an investment of time to a waste of time. Drawing a line at two minutes and two pieces of information with the two-by-two rule is a great way to have productive conversations while making the most of your work day.
[This post first appeared on the Business Collective – an initiative of Young Entrepreneur Council, which is a free virtual mentorship programme that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.]