I have always been the type of person who thrives in a crazy busy schedule. If I don’t have a back-to-back schedule, I don’t feel productive. Call it obsessive compulsive, or a bit neurotic, but my day from 8am to 5pm is most productive when my plate is full.
When those pockets of your day creep up when you don’t have a tight schedule, how do you get it to fill up? Do you turn to research, prospecting, organizing, or…? What if your calendar is light for the week? What then?
Busywork does not always produce results. If you choose to utilize your down time to organize your desk / briefcase / contact data base, then only commit to organizing for 15-30 minutes. You can easily loose track of time if you allow yourself more, and your day is wasted. If you are trying to achieve more activity, then start the activity that will get the ball rolling: cold calling.
I have learned over the years that cold calling is like public speaking. It makes your heart beat a little faster, your palms get sweaty, and it’s so easy to ask someone else to do it. But when you take the plunge and go for it, the adrenaline rush you can experience can push you ahead to do it again and again until you get a “yes.” It takes time to feel comfortable with this activity, and also some planning. I rarely make a cold call without having some background knowledge of either the individual, business, or reason for my call first. I want to appear informed and helpful, and the ability to access requested information is key.
How do you get started? Put your head down and go for it! Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t worry about what the person on the other end of the line / email / text / desk will think of you. If you represent yourself in an honest, professional and sincere manner, you will achieve success.
How do you approach new business? Do you put together a list of potential clients, and figure out the best way to connect with them? Do you go after the low hanging fruit, and call on existing clients for more business? The most frustrating aspect of generating new business is lots of action on your part, and little to no action on their part.
So, what do you do? How can you effectively generate face time with the people and businesses who can help you grow?
My answer: put in some face time. The location of your prospect may pose a challenge in claiming some face time. If this is the case, opt for a phone call over an email. I have been on the receiving end of many prospecting emails, where I have never met the person. Needless to say, these emails don’t get much of my attention. You will never be remembered by someone because of an email you sent them – however witty and well written they are.
Phone call introductions can be effective, if your message and tone are effective as well. For the past couple of years, I have been the prospect for a marketing company I met at a conference. Although I did pick up a business card from the representative during the conference, with all of the other vendors providing me with information that day, I don’t recall ever having a conversation with said company. To try to get my business, a representative from this company has been cold calling me ever since, and I have yet to return their call. Why? The voice mails they leave provide me with no information, show no enthusiasm and quite honestly, don’t give me a sense that doing business with them would be a benefit.
What should you do if your prospect is local, but face time poses a bit of a challenge? Face time does not need to start with your target prospect. In fact, putting in some face time with a mutual connection can be more beneficial than trying to get in front of your prospect all by yourself. Drawing on in-person referrals can give you an inside edge. If you are hitting a wall with making new connections, call on your current connections and see what bubbles up.