Company Discovery (formerly Cold-Calling) Why?

Lead in:Attention Members, I wrote this document last spring to get the group moving in a productive direction. Although it may appear to be outdated, there are basic practices of networking and researching companies that still apply to the organization's structure. Please read on.

Dave Hansen

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I started the cold calling program 4 months ago to help generate a database
for the group and  move members into the "Connecting with Companies" mode.
In general it has been pretty successful.  But I continue to hear "Why?",
"Why?","Why?","Why?", or "How?","How?", "How?","How?".  Well let me try to
address the Why's and the How's.

First off, I really hate the name "Cold Calling"  if anyone has a better
name for this program I'm interested.  In fact, I'll come up with a prize of
some sort for the best name,  just let me know.  (no four letter words *#!$)

Let me ask you a question.  You've been looking for employment opportunities
and come across a job posting that looks like a perfect fit, or you get a
phone from an HR rep at a company saying that they would like you to come in
for an interview, WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU DO??

Well, being the savvy job hunters that I know we all are, the first thing to
do is to research that company and find out as much information as possible.
You'll need to decide a number of things from "do you even want to work for
that company", to gaining enough of an understanding of the company so that
you can ask insightful questions during the interview.  So what kind of
information are you going to look for?  Below is list of just some of them

-Company Name (or corporate name, who might own this company, who were they
 previously)
-Address
-City, State
-How big is it (number of employees)
-What industry are they in.
-How are they doing financially.
-Is the company growing.
-What is their history of layoffs
-What products do they make or support (is this seen as stable in today's
 economy)
-How is the company structured (Tiered mgt, or flat)
-Who are their competitors
-What positions do they have open (what is the job description for your job)
-etc..

NOW HOW WOULD YOU FIND THIS INFORMATION?

-Go to their website. (and read, read, read)
-Go to big job boards. (and pull up the "about company" links)
-Go to the newspaper or google and do a article search on the company
-Search trade magazines for company information.
-Search technology manuals, publications, etc....
-Network, try to find someone that is or has worked there.
-Ask your neighbor, friends, networking groups, etc... what they know about
 the company.
-Drive by the company location, are there cars in the lot at 8:00 pm
 (possible long hours) are the cars in the lot at midnight (possible shift
 work), what kind of cars are in the lot (Mercedes, BMW may mean higher
 payscales),  Watch people as they leave at 5:00 (are they calm or happy as
 they drive out or are they in a big hurry to get the heck out of there),
 What's happening at 12:00 noon, are people sticking around or leaving for
 lunch (possibly long hours of working through lunch)
-Who are the companies suppliers, can you network into them to find out more
 information.
- etc..



Now I know we're all doing this (if not you need to be).  The cold calling
program simply takes this to the next level.  Find out everything you can
about the company (most important ,as listed above,  "find someone that is
working there").  The key is to find a contact who has hiring
responsibilities (manager, director, VP and yes even HR).  Once established,
cultivate the relationship such that this person(s) is willing to do
whatever they can to help you.

AND THAT's it.  Report your findings back to the longnet group and update
the data base.


Now as with everything else in our lives, things change.  But change is
good.  If we and the things around us never change, life becomes boring.
Embrace change, for it is what motivates us and (for me anyway) provides the
excitement and challenges that get us up and going at 6:00  am.

The cold calling program is changing (or evolving).  The base program is now
poised to support functions of assigning members to be the longnet
representative for a given company, and who better to be the representative
than the person that knows most about it (the person that did the research).

Important!!!! As a representative of longnet you are representing the group.
Professional behavior is expected at all times.

This positions longnet to offer a valuable service to any organization.
That of over 150 talented people at their finger tips (with only one phone
call to the longnet representative).  To support this aspect of the program
the following are being put into place.

-A flyer (brochure) that effectively describes longnet and what our value is
 to the company.
-A website (longnet.org) that allows for better management of the data base,
 unlimited functionality to post resumes, use longnet.org emails, allowing
 for employers to post positions, and on and on...
-A structured (weekly longnet meeting) time that the team can focus and
 assign out or update the company information.


WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT THE TEAM? You may ask..

-ACTIVE PARTICIPATION.
-First and foremost is to take responsibility for 2-5 companies on the list.
 This was not meant to be a full time job.  Given the time demand to do the
 research and support on these companies, please limit yourself to 5.
-List company information and keep the database up to date.
-Keep you contacts active.  Don't just connect with them and never call them
 back.  Keep an open dialog going (by email, phone or in person).

WHY SHOULD I DO THIS? , WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?  You might ask.

Aside from the fact that we are all good people that would go the extra mile
to help our a fellow team member, there are an infinite list of reasons.
Here are just a few.

-When you joined longnet, you joined a team.  Everyone pulls equal weight.
-Synergy.  "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"
-You get to know someone new and learn something new when you be come a
 company representative.
-What goes around comes around, if you help others, they'll help you.
-PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT benefit to you is the experience of researching
 and networking.  The knowledge gained by doing this process is going to
 benefit you for the rest of your life.  Whether you are investigating
 companies to work for, companies to invest in, Cars to buy or even checking
 out who your teenage daughters new boyfriend is, networking and research
 techniques are vital.



Although the cold calling program is titled that, cold calling is only a
small part of it. Investigating and researching companies are the core
processes of the program. But cold calling can be difficult.  The key is to
be as prepared as possible have questions written down and in front of you.
Be creative and keep trying, practice makes perfect.  A few of you have sent
me scripts that might be followed (see attached) which is great.  Feel free
to use them or change them to meet your needs or the situation.  Also
attached is a script for a networking meetings (information interview) which
could also help.  There are many scripts, books and worksheets floating
around, just use what works best for you.

To summarize,  the cold calling program is:

-(R)esearching, contacting and establishing relationships with companies
-(u)pdate the team
-(f)ollow up
-(f)ollow through

Hey there's new name for the program "Ruff".

In closing, I would ask that you all take it on yourself to become involved
with the program.  Identify a company and go after it..  Don't wait for a
meeting to take on the assignment.  In fact, I would like to see this happen
more on it's own.  We have other things that we could be doing at the
meetings..

A final note,  Longnet is completely a volunteer organization.  "of the
people, by the people, for the people" couple that with, "ask not what the
group can do for you, but what can I do for the group"  and the result is a
powerful, focused and dedicated organization the can do anything.  Please
ask yourself, "What can I do to make the group, programs or processes more
effective?"  I'm confident that you will come up with something.


See you all at the next meeting...

Thanks to those of you that sent me these Scripts..

Dave
www.000webhost.com