It’s extremely scary, threatening, and stressful…ESPECIALLY when you don’t have a formalized strategy to guide you through the process. The two greatest barriers to effectively contacting strangers through calling are FEAR and a LACK OF FAITH that you’ll be successful in your calling efforts.
That’s because cold calling is doomed for failure.
Think about it! In today’s job market unemployment runs rampant (unofficially as high as 15-20%.) Entire industries (banking, financial services, printing, publishing, advertising, retail, music, printing, manufacturing) are struggling for survival. Technological advances evolve constantly and at such a tremendously fast pace that it affects even the most effectively run organization’s ability to develop, offer, and deliver products and services.
ORGANIZATIONS DON’T KNOW WHO THEY NEED
In this time of constant uncertainty, few if any organizations can successfully determine which jobs they are going to have a (continued) need for.
The odds of you calling someone that knows NOTHING about you (and that you know little about) and asking her/him if they have a suitable position for you at precisely THAT moment and getting a “MATCH” is truly daunting.
NETWORKING SUPPORTS YOUR CALL EFFORTS
Networking is a proven strategy that you can leverage to find people you should be pursuing opportunities to meet with by leveraging your social AND professional networks including: your family, friends, family of friends, and friends of family that can help you identify the people that you would benefit from speaking with.
Enlisting the help of others is most certainly NOT a sign of weakness or failure in your search. Rather, tapping into your network is a CRITICAL job search tool that supports your job search efforts by removing the need for “COLD CALLING.”
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO WORK?
Successful outcomes are achieved through RESEARCH.
The greatest determining factor to how successful your phone call will be lies well before you ever pick up the phone and call. It has the research you do.
THE 18-32 CAMPAIGN STRATEGY
In my work coaching people on the most effective job search strategies, I teach a strategy that requires you to maximize the likelihood that you will “CONNECT” with the person they contact when you call them.
You MUST have 3 or 4 industries that you are interested in. For each industry, you should identify 6-8 organizations to learn as much about as possible.
Find out what products they make/services they offer? Who are their top competitors? Who are their clients? What are the top 2-3 challenges they face in growing their business? What are their goals?
As an aside cold calling doesn’t only apply to job seekers but also those people in sales positions responsible for generating new business.
WHO WOULD YOU REPORT TO?
You also need to find out who the person is that you would report to in the ideal position that you can identify for yourself there. There are plenty of resources that are available for publicly traded companies, non-profits, newly created businesses.
HERE IS THE KEY TO PHONE-BASED INQUIRIES:
Your goal when you call them is to set up a SPECIFIC day AND TIME to meet to explore ways that you can help them to resolve their TOP BUSINESS challenges AND achieve their goals by “creating” a position that DOES NOT CURRENTLY EXIST.
With so much information available to you through the Internet it takes minutes to find background information on the individuals you are targeting such as: where they graduated from High School, college and graduate school, volunteer work/community engagement, their professional affiliations and memberships, articles they’re written, panels they participated in, professional awards and accomplishments, certifications and speeches they gave, elected positions held, etc.
Once you identify those 18-32 organizations and the people you would speak to, create a CALL SCRIPT. In order to ensure success you need to rehearse. Use a mirror to make sure that as you rehearse your CALL you are smiling. That will have a positive effect on the cheerfulness in your voice.
DEVELOP A CALL SCRIPT THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Let’s say you are an accountant with experience in the furniture industry and you have targeted a furniture company in Long Island (La-Z-Boy, for example) to explore opportunities as a senior Accountant. Here’s how the flow of a call to their Chief Financial Officer would work:
Hi FIRST NAME. My name is YOUR NAME.
I see that La-Z-Boy is currently in the midst of combining THREE furniture product lines. I am an accountant with experience helping furniture companies such as Ashley and Jennifer Convertibles combine product lines and extend their product offerings.
I would like to schedule 15-30 minutes with you in the next week or two to chat about ways that I can help you to accomplish the goals of 1) combining product lines; and 2) developing the accounting procedures in advance of launching this new line of contemporary furniture. When would you have some time to meet with me?
Be prepared for an “INTERVIEW” during your call.
The research you did will prepare you to answer their questions effectively and explain how your background and experience will help them: 1) make money; 2) save money; and / or: 3) improve their operations, which will MAKE or SAVE them money.
GET A DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER
If you can’t find the person’s telephone number, call their office main number either before or after normal business hours (8am-6pm) and get their automated voice system. You want to search their employee directory for the person’s NAME to get their telephone number. Once you get their telephone number, call them early in the morning or towards the end of the day. Research shows that the best days to call are Tuesdays and Thursdays.
AVOID LEAVING VOICE MAILS
Try not to leave a voice mail message. If you can’t reach them during one time of day, try another. Try three times before you leave a voice mail in which you identify yourself at the beginning with your telephone number, then use your script, and close with your telephone number. If you don’t hear from them in 3-4 days, call back but try not to leave another voice mail.