Tag: cold calling
Even the most savvy sales and marketing people can get cold feet when faced with cold calling. After all, no one wants to be rejected, avoided, hung up on, bullied by gatekeepers, or faced with that uncomfortable moment when they realize they just backed someone into a corner by asking them if they are hiring or know of someone who is.
Before my resume writing and coaching business, I ran an executive recruiting firm. This is where I learned all of my best phone networking and cold call follow up secrets. I had to make hundreds of phone calls, year after year. I learned what worked and what didn’t when “phone networking.” And now I can share what I learned with job seekers to help them approach networking opportunities and cold or warm calling with ease, professionalism and excitement. There is a trick to it, but it’s not hard to learn – even for shy and introverted types (like myself).
Here are 8 tips that can help you get more interviews and offers:
- Speak in terms of results. If you are approaching a key decision maker in a company “cold,” you must learn to speak their language and understand that the only reason they are going to want to talk with you is because you can make or save them money. Thus, you have to first understand how to translate your skills to %% and $$. Human Resources does not speak this language; they are oriented to matching skills and tasks.
- Think what you do can never be quantified. Think again. For most positions, no one would have hired you if you hadn’t ended up making or saving them money.
- Front load your introduction. When trying to get past the gatekeeper, state the facts immediately so the usual back-and-forth cadence of “may I say who is calling please” etc., is broken. Say: “Hi, this is Mary Elizabeth Bradford, President of Career Artisan, calling for John Smith in regards to our correspondence please.” You will get through more often if you stay in control.
- Overcome objections. If your key contact says you need to talk to HR, say: “I respect what you are saying, but HR is usually not interested in talking about how I might save or make you money; rather, they are focused on how my hard and soft qualifications match your open positions. I would like to focus on how I might actually affect your bottom line. Would you be open to taking a meeting with me to explore that?”
- Express your esteem. When calling someone for the first time, the single best thing you can do to ensure a good outcome is begin with a genuine compliment about them or their company. It shows you are focused and purposeful. You are putting the focus on THEM, not YOU (always a smart move), setting a positive tone, and acknowledging them as a guide/mentor/expert. Flattering.
- Aim high. When calling a key contact, be brave and aim high. It is easier to go down the chain of command than to start low and go up without permission. You are in a stronger position when your information comes from the president to a subordinate. Finally, key executives are visionaries in companies and understand value propositions, so they are best suited to take those calls versus busy mid-managers focused on tasks. Of course, you see I am emphasizing that you have to know how to translate your value – and I write extensively about how to do this on my website.
- Keep it simple. When you are networking you are networking – not job searching. These are two different activities! You must embrace and accept that. You are networking for information, for mentoring, and to ask for additional networking contacts. If you do it right, not only will you get all these things (which can and will help you tremendously in your career search), but you will probably get “solicited” by potential employers who are interested in you and asked for your resume. It is always the stronger position to be pursued.
- Leave your resume at home. When you are networking never, ever, ever bring your resume with you. If they ask for your resume and you have one during your networking meeting, you will look as disingenuous as you will feel. Tell them you would be happy to send it to them by hard mail or email.
BONUS TIP: Stand up and smile. When you are talking on the phone, people can hear it, and your energy level will naturally rise.
As you network, you will at some point inevitably be faced with a “gatekeeper” – an administrative assistant whose job is to screen people that call their boss. Some of these secretaries and administrators are REALLY good at what they do! Here are some tried and true tactics for getting PAST them FAST.
Front-Load Your Introduction
Gatekeepers are used to a certain pace in their phone conversations. It creates what I call an “autopilot” response. However, if that script is changed, they have to go off autopilot and many times it takes them off guard for a second. If you are confident, you can use this to get by them.
Front-loading your introduction to break the autopilot response:
The Gatekeeper: Hello, Mr. Smith’s office.
You: Hello, this is Mark Jackson from Ciley Corporation calling for Mr. Smith please.
The Gatekeeper: Um, who may I say is calling again, sorry?
You: Again, this is Mark Jackson from Ciley Corporation calling for Mr. Smith, please.
Getting past the gatekeeper: Continue reading
When you are in a job search, part of your strategy probably involves some “cold calling,” some networking-related phone calls, and of course, follow up phone calls. I advise leaving messages when appropriate. “Appropriate” means you want to demonstrate you are following up properly with your contact. If the contact is a really important one to you, then it makes sense that you are going to invest more time trying to connect with him or her.
If you call 5 times or even 10 times and don’t hear back, it’s important to remain emotionally neutral about it. It’s rarely personal. People are busy and it’s our responsibility to follow up consistently on our best leads. When I am attempting to get an article published or I am asking a company to donate something for a non-profit I may be volunteering for, I too usually have to call my contacts at least a half a dozen times before I am able to talk with them. It’s typical. Knowing that takes the sting out of it for me… how about you?
How Many Messages to Leave
I am often asked how many messages to leave. It depends, of course, but I would say at least 3 within 7 to 10 days shows appropriate follow up. I would also call your contact additional times within that 7 to 10 day time frame, but just refrain from leaving a voice mail message at those times.
So just what kind of message do you leave? Personally, I like the middle-of-the-road message – not too short, not too long. It goes something like this:
Leaving a Message
“Hi Mr. Smith, this is Shane Beck from Hill Country Investments. It’s Tuesday morning and I am calling because I am working on a project I would really like to garner your expertise on. I will be in the office all day today. My number is 212-555-1212. Thanks and I really look forward to speaking with you.”
It’s not sneaky sounding like, “Hi, this is Shane, my number is 212-555-1212.” Click. And it’s not too long. I never, ever recommend leaving a long message. It’s time-consuming for your listener and can be taken as presumptuous and unprofessional.
If you are leaving a second message, use the same diplomatic and friendly approach. Avoid sounding irritated that your phone call has yet to be returned:
Leaving a Second Message
“Hi Mr. Smith, this is Shane Beck from Hill Country Investments. I reached out to you early last week but just wanted to leave another short message. It’s Monday morning and I will be in the office all day today. My number is 212-555-1212. Thanks and once again, I really look forward to speaking with you.”
An Additional Tip
When talking on the phone it’s always a great idea to stand up and smile! A smile can be “heard” over the phone and standing up increases your energy, and strengthens and rounds out the tone of your voice. You will feel more confident and sharp too. Try it – it works!
“Phone Networking Secrets Revealed!”
This Special Report is for anyone who has ever dreaded the “follow up phone call” after sending a resume! You will discover step-by-step EXACTLY what to say to friends and associates when networking, how to follow up with corporate decision makers, human resources and even the best techniques for leaving voice mails!
Packed with easy to use tips and techniques and LOTS of phone scripts for various situations so you can confidently make the phone calls you need to reach critical contacts, gain referrals and secure interviews.
If you KNOW you cringe when you even think about picking up the phone to make these calls then please, don’t wait another minute! Do yourself a favor and get your copy today. You’ll find all the details here…