Sure it’s easy to find them on the Internet. LinkedIn brings you a bevy of new candidates, websites point you to potential business partners, and if you don’t know how to find your customers, you need to step away from the computer right now and go file for unemployment.
For many of you it’s hard to convert all this information into real impact. Sure there are thousands of websites out there and profiles to look through but it’s not clear how to move all that data into the real world.
Even worse, I’m sure you know that one person who’s a rainmaker. They’re constantly landing new clients. New partnerships pop up on every side of them. Their team is always fully staffed with great talent. And we hate them for it. They make it look so easy.
I’m here to tell you that you can be that rainmaker. What’s the difference between you and them? They know how to punch 10 digits into this odd little machine called a phone. Here’s how it works:
1. Find the person you’re interested in getting to know.
2. Call them.
Seriously. That’s how magic happens. It’s not black art. No gigantic regression model for mining websites. It’s simply a phone.
First, let’s get to why you don’t do this now. Is it because you’re shy or not into making a cold call? Perhaps it’s just easier to shoot an email off into the ether and hope someone reads it. Maybe you secretly hope someone will stumble across your awesome LinkedIn profile and YOUR phone will ring off the hook (hmmm, we won’t call others but secretly hope they’ll call us? Ummm no). Or maybe you’re simply too busy researching and corresponding with multiple gatekeepers via email desperately trying to get to your key influencer.
None of those approaches will get you there.
Let me give you a for instance. I received an email from a book publicist asking me if I’d review Frances Cole Jones‘ new book The Wow Factor. I replied yes and a week later received my review copy. I enjoyed it a great deal (and HIGHLY encourage you to buy a copy especially if you’re in job search mode).
After I finished reading it I wanted to write her publicist to see about getting Frances to be a guest blogger here. Unfortunately I had misplaced her publicist’s contact information.
Here’s the critical step folks. Pay attention. Hey! You! Over there surfing that other blog… yeah you… PAY ATTENTION!
I could have done a ton of web research to find the publicist. I could have then exchanged 3-5 emails with the publicist who in turn would have exchanged 3-5 emails with Frances to tell her some random blogger in Ohio wanted to get a guest post. We could have gone back and forth that way for weeks. Frances would have written a post and that would have been the end of the ordeal for all of us. Impactful? Slightly. Inefficient? Definitely.
I chose option B. I searched for and found Frances’ primary website. I sent her [email protected] address an email explaining who I was and why I was writing. I asked for a few dates/times she was available for a call. She replied quickly with a phone number and told me she was reasonably free in the coming days. (By the way, when a website says “Contact us!” you absolutely should. I’m amazed when people contact my firm and are blown away when I reply and try to help fulfill their request. What’s so amazing about that? Geez. People are weird).
Here’s where I could have screwed up again. I could have gone back and forth with a few more emails trying to find an ideal time on the calendar for us to chat. Again, inefficient.
Instead, I picked up the phone and called (as she had already invited me to do). She answered (most likely because SHE WAS FREE JUST LIKE SHE SAID IN HER EMAIL). We had a wonderful conversation about many different topics. We discussed publishing, job search, our businesses, connections we shared, how mispelings drive us crazy, and several other topics. Suddenly we had, dare I say it, a personal connection. We’re now figuring out a bunch of ways to work together.
This connection NEVER would have happened had I taken the email “request a guest blog post” route. That personal connection by phone made all the difference. These connections can become even more powerful if you maintain that network and constantly mine it to keep it fresh (a topic we’ve hammered on previously).
I’ll bet you’re sitting there saying “duh Mike, not really insightful.” Okay – ask yourself this: when is the last time YOU picked up the phone and called that prospect, partner, or candidate you don’t know and established a NEW personal connection that could help grow your business? If the answer isn’t within the last seven days, then you have a problem.
See, insightful isn’t always about huge breakthrough step change paradigm changing outside the box thinking (I gagged on that sentence). Insightful is about seeing the little things that can make a huge difference. Unfortunately in our electronic world, picking up the phone and talking has become insightful. I encourage you to explore how doing so can give you an edge in the world of teh Interwebz.
And by the way, you will be seeing some of Frances’ work here on the blog at some point. She has graciously accepted the invitation to be a guest blogger here. Keep an eye out for her post.
I’d write more on this topic but I have to go meet someone in person (GASP!) for coffee (as you know I love to do). I’ve never met him before. I’ll betcha $50 the coffee turns into a valuable new business relationship for me… any takers?