Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RTN: Lesson 18 - "Before You Make the Call"

On Friday we'll do lesson 18 of Roadtrip Nation and we will also practice making cold calls.

Lesson 18 : Before You Make the Call
In the previous lesson, you brainstormed both individually and with your team about whom you want to interview. Before you contact the potential Leaders on your list, you’re going to want to make sure you’re prepared for the cold call. While you can also send an email or a fax to request an interview, we feel that the cold call is the best way to convey your personality and the genuine nature of your request. However, in order to prepare for your cold call, or any initial contact with a Leader, there are a few things you’ll need to have in order before you pick up the phone: you’ll need to coordinate schedules with your teammates, gather as much information as possible about the people who you will be calling, and organize your thoughts by preparing a Conversation Request, so that you can be prepared with the necessary information and make a sincere first impression.

It’s essential to coordinate your schedule with your teammates when preparing for the cold call. Before you’re able to book an interview, make sure that you know the exact days and times your entire team will all be available to meet, so that you can easily know if your schedules sync up with the Leader you contact. Whether you contact your Leader by email by phone, you’ll need to accurately state your team’s availability for the next few weeks. Having multiple options for meeting times increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to meet with the Leaders who inspire you.
The next tip for an effective cold call is to do as much research as possible about your potential Leader.. Find out extra information about the Leader’s background, what his or her company does, or (if you can find it) a little bit about what he or she has done in the past. To find this information, you can begin by getting online. Typing the Leader’s name, or his or her company’s name, into a search engine is usually the first place to start. You may want to ask your family, friends, or teachers if they know about the person. If you can tell a Leader why he or she has impressed or influenced you, you show your preparedness, as well as dedication to your cause and to his or her story. Gathering this information will allow your potential Leader to relate to you, and relating to your situation is the main reason that people will say yes to your interview request.

Finally, to make sure all of your thoughts are well organized before you pick up the phone, you’ll want to have a written document that introduces you and your team, and explains what you are doing and the purpose of your Roadtrip. This document is called the Conversation Request. It may be difficult to reach your Leader on the first try by phone, and in some cases, you may speak to an assistant of the person who you want to meet. Whomever your point of contact is, most of the time you’ll be asked to provide more information about your Roadtrip that can be passed around – so having a Conversation Request prepared ahead of time will clear up most of the questions that you will likely be asked. Often you will be asked to fax or email this document. If your Conversation Request is complete and ready to be promptly sent over to your Leader, it will also increase the likelihood that a Leader will agree to meet with you. He or she will already have a thorough understanding of your purpose.

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