Making cold calls
Nobody likes making cold calls because nobody likes being rejected.
That's why the Chinese connection "GUAN XI" works. You only buy from somebody you know, including someone you've never met before but is a friend of your sister-in-law's colleague's husband's brother. You don't open the yellow pages and call a perfect stranger.
In my brother's first job, he had to make cold calls. He told me that 9 out of 10 people quit within the first month because they couldn't stand making cold calls.
So far, making cold calls has achieved a higher success rate than answering job ads. With job ads, the advertiser expects to get a flood of letters and emails. So you're an anonymous face in a million. With cold calls, the receiver is caught off-guard.
"Do you have a grand piano?" I ask.
If yes, I ask for the entertainment manager. If no, I thank the operator and make my next cold call.
When the entertainment manager gets on the phone, I ask,"Are you the person who decides on hiring pianists to play on your grand piano?"
I then explain that I'm a pianist who would love to make his international guests feel at home. I've been one myself many times over, I say. I play music that's not intrusive.
What have I to lose, other than my time, the cost of a phone call, and the possibility of rejection? He doesn't know me.
When it comes to cold calling energy companies, however, it's another matter. The smart ones realise that it's an opportunity to get free publicity and free marketing. It's an opportunity to educate a freelance journalist on what the company does. Such cold calls are easier than most because I'm not asking them to buy anything. Instead, I'm giving them the option to be mentioned in a publication. Of course, I reserve the right not to use the material at all.
26 November 2002 Tuesday
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