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Know Who You’re Talking To



When you’re cold calling and don’t know the right person to get in touch with… good luck.  These calls are clumsy and inconvenient for the person picking up.  

What’s more, there’s no excuse for not knowing who the right person is!  You have sites like Google and LinkedIn at your disposal, so research is essential.  Think of it as spending more time chopping ingredients and less time cooking.  The extra time you put into this will result in a proverbial stir fry – very quick and tasty – as opposed to a slow pot roast. 

Now, where do you find the information?  Obviously looking into the organization is your best bet.  Go to LinkedIn and find out who the players are, what their financial backgrounds look like and what they may have said in the press, particularly regarding energy efficiency. 

Let's say you've done some research on Bob Miller.  You know he works as a regional property manager for a real estate investment trust.  You also know he was on a panel exploring whether sustainability is a practical matter in commercial real estate.  It doesn’t set you back too far, perhaps an hour. 

Now you pick up the phone and make the call.  Bob Miller’s secretary answers and says, "May I help you?" You say, "Yes, I'd like to speak with Bob Miller, please." "May I ask what this is regarding?" "Well, I noticed Bob was on a panel on the topic of sustainability last year at the XYZ conference.  I needed to talk with him about some of his contributions.  In fact, I have the presentation right in front of me.  Is there a time that I might be able to get 15 or 20 minutes with him?  I just wanted to chat." 

This is totally different from the usual cold call.  When you get in touch with Bob, bring this up with him.  Once he asks who you are and why you’re interested- bam, you’re through the door.

This style of cold calling takes a lot of time.  But here’s the thing – you could a call a hundred people and not get one of them to talk to you, or you could put in an hour of research for each prospect and initiate fruitful conversations with the overwhelming majority of them.  When you have a reason to speak with your prospect, it’s much less likely that person will refuse your call.

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Posted by Mark Jewell