If you ask a person to pick up the phone and call a friend it probably wouldn’t be a problem. Now if someone asked you to pick up the phone and randomly cold call someone and engage in a conversation how would you react?
Cold calling is one of the toughest things to do at a job yet it is one of the cheapest and sometimes one of the most effective ways to reaching a decision maker. It has been one of simplest tools in any sales professionals arsenals to building their business from the ground up.
Yes, you are technically a salesperson
Before you start thinking cold calling is only for sales pros you are dead wrong because you aren’t that different–you must consider you be a salesperson.
“I have never sold anything in my life…I am NOT a salesperson…”
You might be thinking this now. It’s funny because we are all sales people; we are selling something all the time–a product, an idea! As a job seeker you are selling your ‘brand’ (YOU) through your resume in order to get an interview. The interview is the next step to plead your case and position yourself in the mind of the hiring manager as to why they should hire you.
Yup, you are selling and don’t even know it!
Before you start hacking away on the phone (or email) think about why you are calling. Make a list of companies you want to work at, followed by key people in these companies. Do a bit of research. Dig deeper as to why some of these people are in the positions they are in–Google them and search LinkedIn.
If you can’t find information about them learn as much as you can about the industry and the companies that are thriving.
The mini script
After compiling a healthy amount of information, start writing a 10-second script on why you are calling. This also includes an introduction. You also need to write some key points about yourself, the person you are calling for and why you are calling about. Keep it short and sweet!
Cold Calling Basics
Always remain calm and positive. Keep smiling when you are on the phone because people can tell if you are! Cold Calling is tough because you are calling someone you don’t know–it is the sense of the unknown, of rejection, a negative reaction. You may be thinking a million thoughts before even picking up the phone.
Focus on a physical thing that you like–maybe an old tree on your street or your Grandmother’s face–focus on something that is calming and gives you strength. It’s also a good idea to practice with a friend before diving head first in the cold calling.
Find a thread
Nobody can resist talking about themselves so before you cold call learn about the person on the other end. Do they have a hobby? Have they done something worthwhile in their industry? Find a thread that may get them talking. This kind of information can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Check out the content they like and share; what photos they have up. Remember keep the majority of the conversation about them and not you.
Gatekeepers are typically the secretaries/executive assistances that help keep out outside people calling to sell, market etc to them. Treat them like human beings–chat with them and learn a bit about them. Sometimes just call to learn more about the company. Build a repore with them before asking anything from them.
Never ask for a job
When you are cold calling you don’t want to come across as too aggressive or desperate by asking for a job. When you call always make it about them; more often than not you might have caught them at a wrong time, ask them a better time you can call back. Use the initial cold call to break the ice and to build it into another call where you have a bit more time with them to properly sell yourself.
You have a good grasp of: the industry, the company’s background, its key players and how you can help them you are setting yourself up for a less challenging call. Being parpared is essential for cold calling.
The hidden job market
Sometimes when you call these companies and professionals, you are calling to learn about them. They don’t necessarily have a job opening advertised. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have any job position available. You can try connecting with the Human Resource Manager or HR staff and learn about what they might be currently looking for–you can take this information to other people in company and use it as an icebreaker.
Cold calling can be an effective and important tool in your job search. Integrate it into your job search game plan–even if you don’t get an interview or a chance to forward your resume you have added several more people to your expanding network!
Even if some of these new connections can’t really help in your quest to get a job now, who knows what the future holds? They can be a contact later on when are looking for another job.