Cold calls rarely work. And, when they do, it is a game of numbers, of getting enough (hundreds?) of resumes or leads out there, hoping that one will stick.
Warm calls, on the other hand, are far more likely to result in success: a client or a new job.
And, today, there is no reason to ever make a cold call again.
We have so many opportunities to build relationships today that, in fact, you have no excuse. The goal isn’t to make a new best friend before calling, just to become friendly enough that they recognize your name.
10 strategies that accomplish just that
1. Get An Introduction Nothing warms a cold call like an introduction from a mutual friend. This is often best done in person (at a dinner party, perhaps?), but can certainly done through an email, where you are both copied. Don’t be afraid to ask your current network for introductions.
2. Share Genuine Interest! Reach out to the person with authentic praise or a question about their expertise. People are generally happy to talk about themselves. And, who doesn’t love praise?
3. Connect Over Blogs People who blog generally think of them as their babies! If they have a blog, leave thoughtful comments at least 3 times or, if you are a real over-achiever, ask to write a guest post or ask them to guest post on your blog!
4. Have a Twitter Chat Use social media to your advantage! Find out if your desired contact is on twitter and connect away. You can start by following them, but that is just the very beginning! Take a look at what kinds of ideas they are sharing and conversations that they are having and connect in a way that makes them feel comfortable!
5. Join Their LinkedIn Conversation LinkedIn is a must for job seekers, but many use it simply as a passive resume. Start interacting and join the conversation! If you contact is an active part of the group, go to them! If not, post something that you think would be meaningful to them and send them a note, asking for their 2 cents.
6. Develop a Relationship with the Gatekeeper Gatekeepers are powerful people: they grant access. You really want them on your side! Make sure to learn their name and as much about their life, work and challenges as possible. Be ready to jump to help them. Small gestures go a long way.
7. Connect at an Event There are dozens if not hundreds of events in major cities every month. Think about your ambitions and start attending! Always set yourself goals for each event, but stay open to other opportunities you encounter.
8. Highlight a Connection Do your research! Do you share something that you both love? Golf, reading, an alma matter, having twins? Find the personal connection and start with that.
9. Gift Information Everyone wants to be great at their job and everyone wants to stay up to date, but, with the massive amount of information out there, we are all bound to miss things. Find something that you think would be extremely helpful to the person and reach out to share that. Its a form of leading with generosity.
10. Ask for an Informational Interview This is a pretty big ask for a cold call, although, with the right strategy, it can be succsesful. It would be better to warm the contact through ideas above and THEN ask for the informational interview. The things to remember: the ask is all about flattery, the time you spend should be 70-80% about THEM!
I hope that helps you build bridges to many fruitful relationships. Once you do connect, never forget my number one rule about relationships: GIVE MORE THAN YOU GET!
Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.