To quote Edgar Allen Poe, Truth is stranger than Fiction.
It was 4.30 in the afternoon on a wet and rainy Sunday. The writer had kept her promise to her pet child to spend quality time with her. Thankfully the morning had been sunny and a long walk had been the highlight of the day.
Pet child was sleeping peacefully on the sofa next to the writer who was working away on the laptop to meet a deadline. Suddenly the mobile phone rang. The writer, engrossed in her work, did not check the number.
Caller: Am I talking to the Writer?
Caller: Right, I don’t need your coaching and do not want to buy anything from you. I want you to tell me everything about your business so I can set up my own right now.
Writer (in a state of shock): What? Is this a joke? Who is this?
The rest of the conversation will not be narrated but know that I found out where the caller got my number, who the caller was and other information. I made it clear that disturbing me on the weekend without a prior appointment on the agenda item was inappropriate. The call ended 15 minutes later with my being told that the information was not in depth enough for the caller’s liking but I was thanked for my time and was given permission to go back to whatever I was doing. If the mission was to alienate me in 10 seconds, then it was a resounding success.
Pet child woke up and tried to soothe me by putting her paw on my lap and an expression that read “Relax, cold calls can be irritating”.
Needless to say, the first thing I did was to write an email to the colleague whose name had come up in the conversation for some information about the caller. Sadly, the feedback accompanied with an apology was not favorable to the caller. The colleague had not given my reference and was equally amazed.
Crash course in avoiding alienation by Cold Calls
Sales and marketing professionals’ cold call all the time and I am sure that a Google search would reveal a few Cold Calling 101 courses. People also cold call organizations when job hunting. I’m not the expert here but I can share a few pointers which might get you support and avert the risk of alienating a potentially useful contact, especially when job hunting.
First and foremost, remember that a cold call is your agenda and not that of the other person. Be clear about your objective and do your research on the organisation as well as the person that you are contacting to make sure that the conversation will have potential for both parties. Aim not to waste the other person’s time. Give a brief introduction about yourself, the purpose of the call and do ask if it is a convenient time to call.
In the story, the caller had checked the services and programs page of my website and then gone straight to the Connect Page and called without processing Niche or the contents of both pages.
Secondly, choose an appropriate time to call. Just because you have the number does not mean that you can call at your convenience. Weekends are certainly inappropriate unless you have emailed in advance and arranged to talk to the person and also explained the purpose of your call.
The caller gets brownie points for the introduction and purpose of call but sadly asked about the time convenience after the alienation process was completed.
Thirdly, once you know that the cold call is going dead turkey, do not prolong it more than necessary. The lead may be useful later on but right now it is a dead end and you do not want to alienate the other person. Thank the person politely for their time and put the phone down.
Fourthly, after the phone call, if you have an email address for the person, always follow up with a thank you email. The potential rainmaker will remember you as someone who valued their time. Who knows, they might write back asking for your CV if it hasn’t already come up in the conversation?
A fifth and important point relates to references and/or dropping names. Know that the receiver of the call can and will do a check, even if they have nothing for you presently. A good step is to let the reference know that you are approaching a cold prospect and either ask for an introduction or permission to take their name. Most people do not mind helping out provided they are asked.
Cold calling is an essential job search tool and often helps to tap into the hidden job market. Potential employers do respect initiative and the chances of finding your dream job are better since you would have already have discovered opportunities that are better suited to your skills and aptitudes. Be brave, make cold calls but only after you have followed the above points.
How successful are your cold calls? What additional steps do you take to make it a success? Please write in and share!
Written By: Vatsala ShuklaFollow Me
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