Learning as much as you can about a referral lead will help you feel more confident about calling the person – and result in a better first conversation. Here are two levels of front-end research to do before picking up the phone:

Warm research with the referral source. Ask questions like, “What made you think of him? Tell me more about how you know each other. Tell me a little about her personality. Tell me something you admire about him. What’s going on in her business that’s important? What is he passionate about these days?”

Cold research via the Web and beyond. Most research is done via the Internet, but it need not be restricted to that. You may find it helpful to call the prospect’s marketing department and request literature, or browse the company website for financial information and the latest news. Check Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to see what comes up. LinkedIn and Facebook are options as well, although the more common the name, the more you need to ensure what comes up is actually your prospect.

Source: Bill Cates on www.referralcoach.com

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