On I recently had this happen to me not once, not twice, but THREE times from the same company. Each time, I mentioned I was in the midst of a deadline and to please send me an email with more information. To date, I have not received any info and each time, the person tries to engage me in a long phone conversation.
This made me realize that we do in marketing and PR is a form of selling. Marketing – we’re trying to “sell” an audience to consider our product or service; PR – we’re trying to “sell” a reporter, blogger or analyst on our version of story.
Cold calling is probably the most difficult part of selling. Do it well, and the reporter readily works with you on a story. Do it poorly and you may have the phone hung up on you unceremoniously? Here are five sure-fire ways to get the phone hung up on you:
1. Don’t respect the person’s time: Everyone is busy. Picking up the phone is an act of faith that the person on the other line has something valuable to provide. Taking 10 seconds to ask if they have a minute to chat goes a long way.
2. Don’t research the person first: Do as much research as you can on the person you’re calling. In the age of LinkedIn and Google, there’s no reason you can take 5 minutes to do a quick search. You don’t know how many times a person calls asking if I’m in “marketing.” One look on my company’s website, and they would’ve known.
3. Don’t ready your pitch beforehand: You should know what you’re pitching. If you can’t tell me in 60 seconds why you’re calling, then you’re just wasting my time.
4. Don’t listen to me: Let’s say I’m busy and ask that you send me something via email. While it may be a brush-off, it is also an opportunity for you to send me more information. Yet, you try to “hard-sell” me by asking for just a few minutes more of my time. Remember the first don’t?
5. Don’t treat me with respect: It’s interesting how many times a sales person calls me as if I should be honored to speak to him. Sorry – my time, my money. Be respectful.
Let me know if you’ve ever hung up on someone and why.
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Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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