A Chilly Reception – Being on the Sales Side of Sales by Adam Hicks
“Watson, come here! I want to see you!” The now famous first phone conversation made by Alexander Graham Bell on March 7, 1876 was essentially the first cold call ever made. Bell was on the line with the intention of making a connection, not knowing what the result would be.
For the majority of my career, I was the recipient of those calls. I was the one being interrupted and being asked “do you have a minute.” I had a great gatekeeper who mastered the art of phone call filtration with such great lines as “he is in a meeting” or “he just stepped out” all in an effort to escape the pursuing sales person on the other end.
Recently, I have embarked on a new career adventure which has placed me directly in the position I once loathed. I am now the guy on the other end making the call. Merriam- Webster defines dread as: to be apprehensive or fearful. To be completely honest, apprehension and fear were only two, on a list of many things I felt before making my first cold call. On top of that, the path worn in the carpet by pacing for nearly two hours before the call also gives some insight as to my confidence level that day. Keep in mind, if someone asked me to speak during halftime at the Super Bowl with only a ten minute notice I would do it without breaking a sweat but that cold call? That was the dragon perched high on top of the castle, needing to be vanquished in order for me to claim my prize.
I say all that, to say this. I am sorry. I am sorry to the young lady who heard a click as she was offering me a deal on a great cruise. I am sorry for pretending not to speak English when a man whose name I never learned was preparing to give me three months of free service for making the switch from my current cable provider. Lastly, I am sorry to the countless equipment dealers, staffing agencies and safety supply companies that called on me time and time again only to be dismissed as an inconvenience. If I knew then what I know now, you still might not have gotten my business, but at least you would have retained some dignity in doing your job. And I would have at least listened. And I am thinking about missed opportunities.