In the movie, If a Man Answers, Sandra Dee devises a plan where her mother calls her house every night and just when her husband answers she hangs up immediately. This, along with the long stem roses that Sandra sends to herself, results in her husband becoming mad with envy and thus gives his undivided attention to his little wife whom he fears of losing.
Though I myself have never put this genius idea into action, I have received many phone calls that I have hung up on immediately or have been hung up on myself.
When people refer to “Cold Calls”, they are usually talking about auto insurance companies or political campaigners. Though this is the business mindset of the term, in my view, Cold Calls are a skill set that is required for nearly every area of life, especially when it comes to getting a date.
Picture yourself, you punch your crush’s number into your phone and wait. It rings, and it rings again, and it rings again. Finally you hear a voice on the other end of the line and realize that you have no idea what to say, so you hang up immediately. As you kick yourself for being such a chicken, your crush is lost as to what just happened and is now blocking your number.
Whether or not you have been in such a position before or not, we can all relate to the fear of having to call someone. How stupid we feel as we hope and pray that it goes to voicemail so we can leave a message at auctioneer speed and hang up.
I have good news for you. Just as the witty Sandra Dee, you too can harness the power of Cold Calls to bring about your desired reaction from that individual on the other end one the line.
Step 1: Cool your nerves.
Having a cool head on your shoulders is key when making a call to anyone. After all, they had no plans of talking to you and therefore will see no reason to take time out of their busy schedule unless you assure them that it is worth their while?
So next time your hands start to sweat, you get the chills, your tongue swells, and you lose all ability to speak, you can try these tricks to calm your nerves.
- Take a deep breath for 6 seconds, hold it for 2, then let it out for 7.
- Powere pose. To do this, reach your arms out to your side and lean your head back. Doing this for 30 seconds will greatly reduce your stress and may even make everyone around you laugh. Win win.
- Chew gum. By chewing gum you can relax your mind by making it think you are eating and that there is nothing to fear.
Beyond these physical actions, there are a few mental techniques you can use as well.
- Remember that you are equal to the person you are calling. This is not you coming to them on bended knee begging for their approval. This is simply a conversation between two human beings who both require air to breath and coffee to make it through the day.
- Believe in what you are calling about. If you are passionate about your topic then let that passion lead.
- Don’t make it a bigger deal than it actually is. I mean what’s the worst thing that could happen? She could turn you down, the whole school could find out, and below your picture in the year book the words “He’s was a flop with chicks” could be your insignia. Come on.
Step 2. The actual call
There are two main points you need to cover in your Cold Call. First, who you are, and second, why they should care.
The best way to go about introducing yourself is by making it clear that you are not a complete stranger. This can be accomplished by stating that you both have a mutual acquaintance, you’ve gone to the same events, share the same interest, or even that you have met briefly in person.
Now you need to convince them that you have something worth listening to. This should honestly take less than 30 seconds and should get strait to the point.
- What exactly is your product, service, or concept that you are promoting? Simply, tell them why you are calling.
- Explain to them the benefits of your product. Show them how you can solve a problem or a pain in their life.
- Finally, ask them what they think and listen.
Let’s say that you were calling this girl that you would like to ask out. If you were to use these steps it would go something like this –
“Hey Sally, this is James. You know the guy who keeps looking over at you during math class. Ya that’s me. So I heard you talking about wanting to go to that movie and thought I might help you out by buying you a ticket, maybe some popcorn, and who knows, I could even proved a shoulder for you to cry on when it gets to the sad parts. What you think?”
Step 3. Get the date (or in the business world, the meeting)
So now that you’ve won over your targeted customer with your charm, charisma, and a bit of humor, its time to seal the deal.
There is one very important key here. You are not asking the girl to marry you! Or in the business world, you’re not selling the product here and now. You are simply getting that person to give you the opportunity to speak with them further on this topic in person at a later date. Don’t try to sell yourself or your product over this one phone call. Simply spark interest which will make them even more interested in your product when you finally sit down with them face to face.
With that clear, your last step it to set the date. This is key, repeat that date to them. Just before you hang up say, “alright then, I’ll pick you up this Saturday at 6:00.” By restating this at the very end, it shows that you will not forget and how important this is to you while also cementing it into their mind and expressing how important it should be to them.
And that is how you get a date.
So there you have it. The next time you make a Cold Call, If a Man Answers….. you won’t have to hang up.
A huge shout out to Joshua D. Fischer, VP of Acquisitions at Go Realty/Birgo Capital, a Pittsburgh based Private Equity Real Estate fund. In his role, Joshua oversees all acquisitions functions including owners and brokers prospecting, deal screen, financial analysis, negotiations, due diligence, and closing. In other words, he’s a pretty cool guy.
And to Praxis for hosting Joshua D. Fisher for their workshop on the Art of Sales and Cold Calls. If you are a creative, independent thinker who wants to get a jump start on their career without hopping through the hoops and political agendas of a dying degree, I strongly recommend checking them out here.