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In The Media

How to Cold Call as the Social Media Intern

by Larry Chiang on November 21, 2012

By Larry Chiang

You’re an intern and you’re given a task (monumental in my assessment)… : Cold call a list.

Your boss isn’t going to mentor you much. It’s because cold calling is the toughest work a founder or anyone can do in business. No worries, buddy. I’ll mentor you on how to be a legendary cold-caller.

It’s so important, cold calling is, that I dedicated an entire chapter to “Sales” in my WTDTYASBS book. It’s Chapter 6.

Well I’d start with my GigaOm post on “closing a deal via voicemail”. Leaving a high quality voicemail that closes deals is possible if you master the detailed tactical tips from the voicemail article.

I’d layer in a nice attention getter that is a combination “ledge”. You ledge is the foot in the door that ideally sets aside your need to sell them something in the near term. A great attention getter leverages what has been positively written in press (or if you’re lucky your cold callee wrote or published).

Adding some value to your cold call attempts increases your success ratio in your very difficult task. By adding value I mean specifically, mentoring. Mentorship incorporated into the marketing and sales process is deadly awesome.

For example, I cold call to promote Duck9 to bank executives to use us to sell credit cards on campus. I mentor bank execs with the comedy routine: “What a Supermodel Can Teach a Bank Executive About College Credit Card Marketing”. I give insights into tactics to circumvent ‘no tabling’, countermeasures to being banned from the student union, creative ways to augment FICO scores of applicants, intricacies of the UCMS pepper-and-pass lead generation program.

Text me, 650-283-8008 and we can brainstorm how to incorporate mentorship into your cold call process.

Let’s go negative.

Up until now, my tips and tactics have all been positive. Cold calling sucks because it’s bad results with prospects that don’t want to talk to us. Deal with this ominous failure by embracing failure. Fail forward.

Fail forward knowing that if you succeed one in 20 times, you’re actually making headway every time you fail.

Remember Abe Lincoln had a huge losing streak before he won president. Remember Augie Garrido mentors his baseball players on failing but staying with the process. Cold calling is a process. Cold calling is chock full of micro details that increase your likelihood of success a couple of basis points.

Here is what I mean by basis points… It’s important because this lies at the heart of this whole cold-calling thing.

Basis points are uber super small. It’s from how interest rates are compared. 2.88% to 3.25 is a 37 basis points. If you think 37 basis points isn’t a big deal, think about a person that hits .288 in baseball versus .325. It’s huge.

Every little detail that I’ve written out took a long time to learn from my mentor. My mentor, Mark McCormack, wrote WTDTYAHBS and one third of his book is one sales. Buy a copy of it used for $0.01 on Amazon and I’ll reimburse you.

Cold calling’s low probability success rate mirrors entrepreneurship’s low rate of success. Basis points can be gathered up via a class called Engineering 145. ENGR145’s Anchor Concept: Lemonade and Gua Gua Guacamole

It moves you to the right on the entrepreneur bell curve

CEO of Duck9 Founding Stanford University EIR (Entrepreneur in Residence) Emeritus

Duck9 = “Deep Underground Credit Knowledge” 9 125 University Avenue/ 100 Palo Alto CA 94301 650-566-9600 650-566-9696 (direct) 650-283-8008 (cell)

**************** Editor of the BusinessWeek Channel “What They Don’t Teach at Business School” CNN Video Channel:

Read my last 10 tweets at

Author, NY Times Bestseller

“What They Will NEVER Teach You at Stanford Business School” comes out 11-11-14

52 Cards. Two Jokers. What They DO Teach You at Stanford Engineering

Emergency swings and cutting deals as an 9 year old

########## Duck9 is part of UCMS Inc. 630-705-5555

More on #ENGR145’s SHIFTING right on the entrepreneur bell curve

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