We Haven’t Been Introduced

Summer is coming here in New England and, with it, memories of early adolescent ocean-side cold calling and prospecting efforts. I can still recall clearly a particular drop-by cold call I made on a vivaciously attractive young lady, sitting on her beach towel on the ...um... beach.

I can recall the feeling of speaking to her… yet having the same experience as one might have passing the time of day with an ice wall in mid-winter Antarctica.

As the Beach Boys sang, “The girls on the beach, are all within reach, if you know what to do….” I learned I clearly did NOT know what to do out there.

Whatever was the snappy chatter that prompted those beach girls to raise their eyes and their hopes and lower their defensive ice shields was beyond me. And, absent some other attracting qualities like, for example, a particularly dashing gold chain or a tattoo and a couple of missing teeth, guys with my body style (gaunt on a good day) and my hair style (thinning by thirteen years) did not fare well making cold calls on towels out there on the beach.

This is similar to the experience of cold calling today, yes? That experience of speaking to ice blocks?

That same summer, I met Ginny. She was striking to look at, funny, athletic, available, and interested in me. We hung out a lot together. Exactly the same make and model of girl who would not speak to me on the beach.

How did I pull off this miracle? My summer friend, Rob, a very handsome, well developed young man (he was SHAVING at that point!) introduced me to Ginny. How did I meet Rob (who, on his own, probably wouldn’t have looked twice at me)? He was the son of a woman to whom my mother was introduced by the lady who owned the apartment we were renting. In other words, my mother fixed me up, through a series of networking connections.

It was OK, I didn’t care, I was so crazy about Ginny, and so excited to be with her, I didn’t care WHAT the networking process looked like.

However, I learned an important principle. Stay away from beach towels. And, later in life, stay out of the singles bars. Get introduced. Find someone who knows someone who knows the person you want to meet. Get introduced.

Turns out, the best business developers I are know are MASTERS of networking and introductions. Turns out, too, that senior executives and business owners are multiple times more likely to take a call from a sales person with whom they’re not already dealing if the sales person is introduced to them by a trusted party, either inside or outside their companies. No lie. We have the research to back that up.

So, if you’ve got the snappy chatter, if you like cold calling and if you’re successful with it, more power to you. For those among us who like a higher percentage game, get introduced. Instead of making cold calls, build your network, work your network, get introduced.

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