Picture the scene. It’s 10am, you’re in your office, onto your second cuppa of the day, Facebook pages have been checked and updated, and you’re dealing with the unanswered emails in your inbox. The phone rings, and the person on the other end launches into their sales pitch: “I don’t know who deals with your stationery supplies, but I wanted to tell you about our fantastic offers…”
This immediately breaks the mood and instils a sense of irritation. “No, sorry, we have an office supplies company.” End of conversation. There aren’t many people who relish being cold called – but what about the person who was calling? They were just doing their job!
A contact of mine, Andy, who runs an office supplies company, wanted to get in touch with the facilities manager at the school near to our office. Andy knew the name of the person that he needed to speak to – but kept coming up against a very effective PA who screened his incoming calls. He just couldn’t get past the gatekeeper.
He asked me if I could help refer him to the school, which I was keen to do as Andy was someone I’d built a good relationship with. I’d originally met him at networking event, and over time we’d become close.
The problem was I didn’t know the facilities manager. I didn’t know anyone in the school, so I had to think outside the box to help.
I rang the school and asked to speak to him.
Of course, though, I came up against the PA. This is what I said: “Hello, my name is Charlie Lawson, you don’t know me, but I’m trying to help a contact of mine…” I then proceeded to tell her about Andy, and the various reasons (which I’d been taught beforehand) why her boss would want to talk to him.
I was slightly surprised at just how easy it was to a) be put through to the facilities manager, and b) for them to agree to accept a call from Andy – but it really was that easy. The entire conversation took about five minutes! They met, and guess what, the school changed their stationery supplier.
So why was my cold call so different to most others? I believe that because I had no vested interest, and made that clear, I called with the impression of doing the school a favour. I was just trying to help them.
Even though I’d make a cold call approach myself, the whole tone of the call was turned around. It became warm.
Have you ever tried this technique?
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