Several years ago, I began a networking campaign to find my next role. My process for networking was simple, cold calls and a reflexive journal.
My reflexive journal included outreach to 300 people I did not know, at all levels of target organizations from Director up to Board of Directors, public and private businesses, and across multiple industries and business functions.
Some things to note:
● The groups I’m reporting on are weighted evenly (I reached out to the same number of EVP and above as VP and below).
● The messages I sent were via LinkedIn, to people I do not personally know. The messages were customized to the reader, but contained the same primary messaging request (“would you be willing to share your advice, thoughts and insight?”)
● I’m not a data scientist, this was a personal project driven by my endless curiosity to understand human behavior and business.
4 key learnings:
- Everyone who responded, regardless of title, did so in the same amount of time with the vast majority responding within 0–3days.
- Everyone who responded, agreed to a call to provide advice.
- The higher up in the organization, the more positive and enthusiastic the responses and the more time and effort they spent to provide advice and make introductions to other executives.
- The calls for advice results in at least one introduction to another executive, essentially doubling the benefit of my outreach effort.
“Cold Calling” is not dead, it’s now called “Networking”
Since the research project, I have generated revenue for many investors and businesses by directing high quality outreach to high level executives that resulted in:
- Funding of multiple new projects and businesses
- Finding external subject matter expertise before committing R&D spend
- Introducing products & services within many different industries
- Meeting customers, consumers, employees, shareholders, and public stakeholders
- Discovering disruptive and high potential startups
- Being introduced to the networks of my original outreach respondents, extending my reach 2-fold
- I even discovered Costa Rica as a home-away-from-home
The question I cannot answer is “Why the higher a person is in an organizational hierarchy, the more responsive they are to a well-constructed cold call?”
Please leave your thoughts on why you think that is true.