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Cold Calling

Cold Calling

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Published by abcd_z7860
An excerpt from Timothy Ferriss' book "The Four Hour Work Week", in which he talks about how to cold-call people and develop mentors.
An excerpt from Timothy Ferriss' book "The Four Hour Work Week", in which he talks about how to cold-call people and develop mentors.

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Published by: abcd_z7860 on Mar 28, 2012
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03/28/2012

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Contacting celebrities can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming at first. But in his New York Times bestselling book,
,’ lifestyle guru
urges us to step out of our comfort zones with thisassignment:
Call at least one potential superstar mentor per day for three days. E-mail only after attempting a phone call. Irecommend calling before 8:30 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. to reduce run-ins with secretaries and other gatekeepers.Have a single question in mind, one that you have researched but have been unable to answer yourself. Shoot for ‘A’ players – CEOs, ultrasuccessful entrepreneurs, famous authors, etc. – and don’t aim low to make it lessfrightening.Use
 if need be, and base your script on the following.
Unknown answerer:
This is Acme Inc. [or the 'office of Mentor x'].
 You
: Hi, this is Tim Ferriss calling for  
, please. [Said casually and with confidence, this alone will getyou through surprisingly often. 'I'd like to speak with Mr./Ms. X, please' is a dead giveaway that you don't knowthem. If you want to up the chances of getting through but risk looking foolish if they call the bluff, ask for the targetmentor by first name only.]
Answerer:
May I ask what this is regarding?
 You:
Sure. I know this might sound a bit odd [I use this type of lead-in whenever making off-the-wall requests. Itsoftens it and makes the person curious enough to listen before spitting out an automatic 'no'], but I’m a first-timeauthor and just read his interview in ‘Time Out New York.’ [This answers the questions they'll have in their head:'Who are you and why are you calling now?' I like to be a 'first-time' something to play the sympathy card, and I finda recent media feature online to cite as the trigger for calling] I’m a longtime fan [I call people I'm familiar with. If youcan't call yourself a longtime fan, tell them that you have followed the mentor's career or business exploits for acertain number of years] and have finally built up the courage to [Don't pretend to be strong. Make it clear you'renervous and they'll lower their guard. I often do this even if I'm not nervous] call him for one specific piece of advice.It wouldn’t take more than two minutes of his wtime. Is there any way you can help me get through to him? [Thewording here is critical. Ask them to 'help' you do something] I really, really appreciate whatever you can do.
Answer:
Hmmm… Just a second. Let me see if he’s available. [two minutes later] Here you go. Good luck. [rings toanother line]
John Grisham:
John Grisham here.You: Hi, Mr. Grisham. My name is Tim Ferriss. I know this might sound a bit odd, but I’m a first-time author and alongtime fan. I just read your interview in ‘Time Out New York’ and finally built up the courage to call. I have wantedto ask you for a special piece of advice for a long time and I shouldn’t take more than two minutes of your time. MayI? [Just rework the gatekeeper paragraph for this, and don't dillydally - get to the point quickly and ask for permission to pull the trigger]
John Grisham:
Uh… OK. Go ahead, I have to be on a call in a few minutes.You (at the very end of the call): Thank you so much for being so generous with your time. If I have the occasionaltough question – very occasional – is there any chance I could keep in touch via e-email? [End the conversation byopening the door for future contact. Start with e-mail and let the mentoring relationship develop from there].”
How to Get George Bush Sr. or the CEO of Google on the Phone
The article below, titled “Fail Better” and written by Adam Gottesfeld, explores how I teach Princetonstudents to connect with luminary-level business mentors and celebrities of various types. I’ve edited itfor length in a few places.People are fond of using the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” adage as an excuse for inaction, as if all successful people are born with powerful friends.
 
 Nonsense.Here’s how normal people build supernormal networks.Fail Better BY ADAM GOTTESFELDMOST PRINCETON students love to procrastinate in writing their dean’s date [term] papers. RyanMarrinan ’07, from Los Angeles, was no exception. But while the majority of undergraduates fill their time by updating their Facebook profiles or watching videos on YouTube, Marrinan was discussingSoto Zen Buddhism via e-mail with Randy Komisar, a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and asking Google CEO Eric Schmidt via e-mail when he had beenhappiest in his life. (Schmidt’s answer: “Tomorrow.”)Prior to his e-mail, Marrinan had never contacted Komisar. He had met Schmidt, a Princeton Universitytrustee, only briefly at an academic affairs meeting of the trustees in November. A self- described“naturally shy kid,” Marrinan said he would never have dared to randomly e-mail two of the most powerful men in Silicon Valley if it weren’t for Tim Ferriss, who offered a guest lecture in Professor EdZschau’s “High-Tech Entrepreneurship” class. Ferriss challenged Marrinan and his fellow seniors tocontact high-profile celebrities and CEOs and get their answers to questions they have always wantedto ask.For extra incentive, Ferriss promised the student who could contact the most hard-to-reach name andask the most intriguing question a round-trip plane ticket anywhere in the world.“I believe that success can be measured in the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willingto have. I felt that if I could help students overcome the fear of rejection with cold-calling and cold e-mail, it would serve them forever,” Ferriss said. “It’s easy to sell yourself short, but when you seeclassmates getting responses from people like [former president] George Bush, the CEOs of Disney,Comcast, Google, and HP, and dozens of other impossible-to-reach people, it forces you to reconsider your self-set limitations.” ... Ferriss lectures to the students of “High-Tech Entrepreneurship” eachsemester about creating a startup and designing the ideal lifestyle.“I participate in this contest every day,” said Ferriss. “I do what I always do: find a personal e-mail if  possible, often through their little-known personal blogs, send a two- to three-paragraph e-mail whichexplains that I am familiar with their work, and ask one simple-to-answer but thought-provokingquestion in that e-mail related to their work or life philosophies. The goal is to start a dialogue so theytake the time to answer future e-mails—not to ask for help. That can only come after at least three or four genuine e-mail exchanges.”With “textbook execution of the Tim Ferriss Technique,” as he put it, Marrinan was able to strike up a bond with Komisar. In his initial e-mail, he talked about reading one of Komisar’s Harvard BusinessReview articles and feeling inspired to ask him, “When were you happiest in your life?” After Komisar replied with references to Tibetan Buddhism, Marrinan responded, “Just as words are inadequate toexplain true happiness, so too are words inadequate to express my thanks.” His e-mail included his personal translation of a French poem by Taisen Deshimaru, the former European head of Soto Zen. Ane-mail relationship was formed, and Komisar even e-mailed Marrinan a few days later with a link to a New York Times article on happiness.Contacting Schmidt proved more challenging. For Marrinan, the toughest part was getting Schmidt’s personal e-mail address. He e-mailed a Princeton dean asking for it. No response. Two weeks later, hee- mailed the same dean again, defending his request by reminding her that he had previously metSchmidt.The dean said no, but Marrinan refused to give up. He e-mailed her a third time. “Have you ever madean exception?” he asked. The dean finally gave in, he said, and provided him with Schmidt’s e-mail.“I know some of my classmates pursued the alternative scattershot technique with some success, butthat’s not my bag,” Marrinan said, explaining his perseverance. “I deal with rejection by persisting, not by taking my business elsewhere. My maxim comes from Samuel Beckett, a personal hero of mine:

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