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The Hardest Call

by Randall Craig on February 20, 2007

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Planning

Tagged as: , ,

The essence of just about any job – or job search – is reaching out to connect with other people. Yet one obstacle typically gets in the way: making that very first call. It shouldn’t be an obstacle, but we tend to avoid activities that make us feel a bit uncomfortable.

To make the call easier, and perhaps more successful, consider these ten tips:

1) Be a giver, not a taker: Make sure that your reason to call adds value to the person on the other end of the line. This may mean telling them something that they want to hear (but didn’t know) or sending them something (that they want) after the call. Otherwise, why would they spend time with you?

2) Prepare your script: Before the call, write down the key points that you wish to address. This will ensure your ideas are logically ordered, and will keep you on track during the call.

3) Remember the process: The call is only one step in the important process of developing a relationship. What is the next one? Before you get onto the call, make sure you know what it is.

4) Call first thing in the morning: Not only are you fresher, but it is more likely that the other person is in their office too.

5) Prepare your calling list the day before: Doing so separates the thinking about who to call from the task of actually calling. That way, you can immediately hit the ground running.

6) Get some help: Credentials always helps. If there is any way that someone else can make an introduction for you, your chances of connecting will be far higher.

7) Change the channel: There are many ways to connect: in person, by phone, direct to voicemail, email, fax, and of course, old fashion snail-mail. If one channel isn’t working for a particular contact, try another.

8) Set a quota of calls : Those in sales have long known of the benefits of setting targets. You can do this too, with the number of calls you make each day.

9) Don’t give up: How often do you get messages that you just can’t respond to? Or how often will you be working on a high priority issue, and an incoming call is just… not a priority? To get through to your target person may require several attempts.

10) Be a giver, not a taker – really : This is so important it bears repeating. Without receiving value during the first call, your target will probably not take your call a second time.

This week’s action item: The next time you need to reach out to someone, go through this list first. While it won’t guarantee the call will be a success, it will improve your chances.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)