Two nights ago, at a networking dinner for the NY Chapter of the Usability Professionals Association, the conversation turned toward cold calling. Almost everyone at the table professed disgust for it. Most had never done it, of course. It’s just the idea they don’t like, which is understandable. So I tried to explain that the secret to cold calling is choosing the right prospects. In other words, do your research well enough so that the prospects you call do actually have a need for your services, although perhaps not right now. If they do, they will very likely be open to hearing and seeing more from you. Cathline Marshall of Studio K&M revealed that although she still doesn’t like doing the cold calling, no one had hung up on her yet, especially when she asks, "Is this a good time to talk?"
And there were two Europeans at the table who shared some perspective. They said that in Europe, it’s much less appropriate to just call a stranger and expect to develop a relationship with him or her that way; there needs to be an introduction of some sort.
So American cold callers out there, be grateful you’re doing this in a country where people actually take you seriously if you approach them with respect. And you can literally generate working relationships as a result. I’ve been a witness!