I saw this quote by John Barrows last week “earn the right to call your customers by doing your homework”. It really resonated with me, as my recruiting clients hiring sales people continually say to me they want to make sure the people we’re recruiting for sales positions always do their homework as part of their sales process. We all have a few stories about sales people just cold calling us and trying to sell us something without knowing anything about us. One of my most funny stories was I was contacted by a recruiter wanting to talk to me about a job as a Ruby on Rails developer. I’m not a developer and it doesn’t say anywhere in “my cyberland” that I am. I have recruited for programmers, but I don’t say that I have Ruby on Rails experience. I was not a good call for that recruiter. Since I used John Barrows quote to start my post, here’s a story from him as well. Sales people, get the message, do your homework. In today’s business world, your customers or potential customers are so busy that the best way to win them over is to take the time to do your homework before you pick up the phone. When you make a call make sure you know something about their business and make the call relevant to THEM, not just about your product. Your customers and potential customers want sales people who can talk to them about something they are interested in, so do your homework. I guess this means you never really stop being a student. Look at it like this, what if your kids don’t do their homework. They fail – same thing with sales people – if you don’t do your homework, you will fail. You give your customer a good reason to not want to take your phone call. So do your homework and be prepared before you make that call; ask good questions; be knowledgeable about your customers business and most importantly understand their pain and where you can provide value to your customer. That’s how you get a customer interested in talking to you about your product.