The Art Of Converting A Cold Call Into A Sponsorship

Vintage Telephone Operaors

photo by DALIAWMN

There is definitely something disturbingly herd like in this photo.

People, mostly women, on the phones all day.  Mostly connecting callers to the callees.  In a way, I think I do that too.  The difference is that once the connection is made, the job of these operators is done.  For me, the job has just begun.

My friend Andrea and I were running this morning on the beach and she told me that somehow, a cold call from a large financial investment company came through to her direct line.  Usually, her staff chews up and spits out these calls as they come in so the fact that this one made it through was quite remarkable.  The person calling was a young person, probably a summer intern, inviting Andrea to a networking cocktail party in the hopes of getting some business and referrals from her.

“OK, you are inviting me and how many other people to this party?”  I could see Andrea pinching the phone with her shoulder tapping at her calculator impatiently.  She has a meeting tonight with her committee that is setting up a series of breakfasts, workshops and other events for CPAs and was putting her stuff together.

“What?  Six people?  Let me ask you something.  This cocktail party is going to cost you, maybe, $100.  You are going to spend $100 to shmooze 6 people.  That’s about $15 bucks a person.  Now, do you think that is a cost effective way to build new business?”

“Uh, no.  Could you bring a friend or – “

“No.  This is what I am going to do.  I am going to speak to your supervisor and offer her the opportunity to sponsor my twelve breakfast seminars and get in front of 700 accountants who will agree to have you come to their office to make a presentation.  If she agrees to do this, I will make sure to introduce her from the podium and give you props.  You have five minutes to get her on the phone.”

Andrea is my running buddy and my CPA.  She is usually right about everything that has to do with those two things.  Especially when it comes down to making it a habit to run at 5:30 am and to making money.  This kid on the phone did what I did.  I listened to Andrea.

The company jumped at the chance to sponsor the twelve breakfast seminars.  “It was simple.  What was I going to bring to contribute to tonight’s meeting?  I needed something worthwhile.  This company needed business.  Instead of spending a few dollars and getting me and five other people at a cocktail party, I am letting them spend a few more dollars and getting me and a ballroom filled with accountants and CPA’s.

Everybody wins.  And you know why?  Because I resisted the temptation to slam the phone down.  I took a deep breath and thought about it.”

I think Andrea is well on her way from being a hyper caffeinated A personality person to being more Buddhist like.

A Belle Harbor Buddha.  Which brings me to the following points about how you, too, can approach Neponsit Nirvana and still run with sand in your shoes:

Buddhist in Training

Do the opposite of what you want to do right now

Sometimes the best thing to do is the thing you can’t imagine doing.  For example, actually listening to a sales pitch from a total stranger.  Andrea’s sharp ears picked up the sound of opportunity and the rest is history.

Open your ears, your mind and shut your mouth

I always like to remind you that you can learn a lot about a person in a conversation where you do more listening than talking.  Information is power.

Act like a speck, not a spectacle

Be humble.  Everything you achieve is relative to the bigger universe.  I am sure Andrea’s committee will be thrilled when she talks about this.  But she will be on the beach with me again at 5:30 am tomorrow morning and running towards a new day.



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One thought on “The Art Of Converting A Cold Call Into A Sponsorship

  1. Joanne

    Some excellent points, as always. Neponsit Nirvana, here we come!