It’s true — cold calling can be risky when hunting for a new gig. The person on the other end of the line is either going to love your enthusiasm or be irked by the solicitation. However, cold calling can really pay off if you do a little research on who you’re contacting first, according to Entrepreneur.com.
In entertainment, networking is a must. But, what can you do in the very beginning, before you’ve been able to make any industry connections? While getting out there and wading the waters at open calls, pick up the phone and try to make connections with decision makers.
Before you dial, you’ll want to make sure you know a few things about the company or individual you’re contacting. What do they do and why is calling them important in your search? Who is responsible for considering your candidacy? What projects are in the pipeline that you’re interested in? Why should you be considered?
If you dial without doing some prep work, you’re more likely to be asked questions you couldn’t possibly have the answers for and experience some awkward moments of silence. You don’t want to irritate the person you’re contacting. You want to draw them into the conversation and have them to invite you in or actually pass along your information to the right person or department.
Keep in mind, bigger companies often have gatekeepers answering the lines. Customer service employees or secretaries are employed to field incoming calls. They are tasked with determining whether the call is important enough to pass to the top and responsible for who it gets passed to. You must leave a good impression with this person.
Do whatever you can to have the call transferred to who you’re trying to reach while you wait on the line if they don’t pick up right away. Mention the person you’re trying to get a hold of by name. Sure, you’ll hold.
If there is an automated message with a list of extensions, listen to this and dial the one that fits. This is why it’s especially important to research contacts ahead of time. Often, there will be a dial by name directory and you’ll want to know who to key in.
The most important thing about cold calling is remembering not to get frustrated if you’re hung up on initially or get a few hard no’s along the way. You’ll need to have a thick skin to make it in the entertainment industry and persistence pays off!