Stopping a Myth In It’s Tracks Pt. 1

Supremes 1

I remember working on a project for my son’s elementary school classroom with the thoughts of both assisting the teacher and being involved a bit more. As a working mother of two with a demanding career and entrepreneurial pursuits, I knew that I was taking on more than I could handle without muddling the project so I decided to engage other mothers for their assistance. Without a moment’s hesitation I pulled out the handy school manual (private school perk) with all of the children in each class, their parents, and contact information including email addresses, office and home numbers. After a long day of work, I sat down and did something that any successful sales executive would do, I began dialing.

One by one, I combed through the names of twenty-eight parents with the goal of reaching them or leaving a message before eight p.m. when it would be too invasive to call a home with school age kids. I also knew that many of the mothers were stay at home moms and if I left an introductory message that was succinct and well-crafted they would call me back. At the very least, I could make a call during the day time while their children were in school and get the task of roping in some volunteers completed. Since I was one of the few working moms in the classroom I wasn’t as well acquainted with the parents as they may have been with my son so I knew that it would require something well within my skill set: baseline cold calling techniques.

I had the names of the parents, their children’s names and enough due diligence to find a warm angle for an otherwise cold call in which I would be asking people to donate time and perhaps money so I began dialing. Within my goal time frame, I had spoken to about 40% of my list and left messages for the remaining 60%. Most parents were happy to speak with me or schedule a better time if I was running into their dinner hour, which I referenced as I introduced myself. A few parents were clear that they routinely donated time and money and were opting out this go round, so I thanked them and built enough rapport to ensure that we could catch up at the next event and certainly that any other calls would be welcome in the future.

Within two days of activating my plan, I had spoken to my entire list of families, made new acquaintances, and scored a pair of tickets to the Florida State vs. Miami (that’s another story). I did all of that and continue to experience career success today because I refuse to believe the annually perpetuated myth that “The cold call is dead”.

If you are a new salesperson, entrepreneur focused on growing your business or a salesperson that has experienced success but is now at a plateau, I would encourage you to reach out to me or a seasoned professional in your network, before you succumb to the irrational fear of or disbelief in the cold call. In the meantime, I will be writing several posts within this series and hope that you visit again as I stop the myth in its tracks by dissecting articles and methodologies.

12 thoughts on “Stopping a Myth In It’s Tracks Pt. 1

    • I did get the help I needed from some. Like clients, some said no, some required a bit of convincing and a couple of others were more than willing. That’s the case with sales calls, you have to pick up the phone to find out who will help you with your goals but be aware that not everyone will fit the bill!

      • A tip that I got from my boss very early on: EVERYTHING is a sales process, each scenario just requires a different delivery.

        I often use my biz dev conversation tricks on my kids and I credit them for the level of openness and amount of information I can drive from my teenagers.

        Thanks for reading!

  1. There is nothing like a real voice to engage with. I agree the old-fashioned reach out and touch someone in a personal and upfront way can do much to further a business. Email, although very efficient, does little to build report in the way as having a real conversation with one does. Simply put, email is easy to ignore, delete and forget. When you have a person on the phone or in front of you with a happy voice or a smile it is much harder to ignore and much more fun to engage with. 🙂

    • Funny, this post and the correlating follow up pieces are motivated by a recent email that I was sent telling me that social media and emailing is the new sales method. If I could tell you how many years I have been getting emails about the new and improved sales medium that still hasn’t replaced the cold call, I would have a million bucks!

  2. Well done making it through the list! It’s great that your sales skills come in handy in life. The idea of calling a long list of strangers would make me nervous, but it’s great how your confidence gained from your skills made it a walk in the park!

    • Thanks Christine, interesting that you would mention nerves. Discomfort and nerves were actually what one article cited as reasoning for going to social media and emailing. Sales skills have come in handy in many situations but I would say chutzpah and confidence is equally your strong suit, throwing yourself into unknown situations and travelling the world to create your own adventure is admirable and gutsy! Thanks for reading.

  3. Cold calls are definitely not to be dismissed! In this day and age, phone calls get noticed even more so. Not everyone is receptive, but if you plan your pitch, you’re bound to get a good response. Timing is important, too, as you noted. Good for you, and getting free tickets is the icing!

    • Thanks Krystyna! I will not ever understand the cold call is dead conversation. Whether cold calling, emailing or using social media as targeting you will never get a 100% response however I trust the control measures that I have with cold calling more than any other method!
      Thanks for reading and yes, I would call the tickets icing.

  4. Your call for parental involvement was probably better received than it had been than if coming from a teacher. As someone who’s spent time in the classroom, calling home was often tricky since most calls parents get are for when something goes wrong. It’s like they don’t even know how to react at first if the call is to tell them good news about their child or to ask for help with a project.

    • After having parented two children through both public and private school systems and attending priv’t schools myself, I think that parents in that system are more likely to expect requests for involvement or want to be involved. On another note, I don’t have problematic children and have NEVER gotten a call from the public school system instructors to say “they’re doing a great job”, as a matter of fact, I have to explain WHY I want parent teacher conferences since my children are “doing so well”. If teachers actually did call just to say nice things, I probably would be surprised as well.

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