The first time you call a prospect, your real goal is not necessarily to sell that first idea--it's to gather accurate information about the prospect. That way, your subsequent ideas will hit the mark.

As you gather information, you're also accomplishing several other things. You will make a strong first impression by demonstrating a willingness to invest your time in a study of their needs. You will also establish yourself as an idea resource. If you bring prospects something of value in return for their time, they are likely to see you again. Above all, your idea will provoke a discussion about the prospect's needs, goals and opportunities. It's through that discussion that you'll learn what they will buy from you.

Excerpted from Creative Selling: Boost your B2B sales