By now, you’ve done your research and you’re sure that you have solid contacts within the organisation you wish to associate with. Now comes the most exciting and vital part of the entire process: the actual Call. Are you up for it?
Before you make the decisive first call, there is lots you can do to prepare. To help you stay focused on key ideas and structure your conversation coherently, we recommend you jot down important points on a piece of paper. This helps to clear thoughts and solidify your vision. Also, it is crucial to schedule the call effectively to ensure you don’t end up disturbing them during lunchtime or calling after work hours.
Most conversations are likely to last only one or two minutes, so it’s absolutely crucial to make the most of them. Being extremely polite and respectful is a great start, even if it seems rather unctuous at first.
The Typical Call
Greet your contact and ask them if it is an appropriate time to talk.
Introduce yourself and what you represent. If you represent a university’s or school’s TEDx conference, introduce your institution in a positive manner. If you happen to be in a lesser known city and you’re calling an office that’s in a far-off location, you may even have to briefly describe the place your institution is located in.
Introduce TED and TEDx to the representative. Describe TED’s immense brand value and online reach and ask them if they’ve heard of TED talks, and elaborate. Fortunately for organisers, most corporations are familiar with TED and TEDx.
Overview your TEDx event briefly.
As soon as you feel you have your contact’s attention, get down to business. Tell them why they should associate with you, and tell them the unique opportunities you can provide them with.
From here, the call can flow two ways.
Your contact may be immediately interested, and wish to continue the conversation further. Exploit this to the best of your ability: go through the written outline you prepared earlier and articulately elaborate every aspect of it. Once you are satisfied, ask for an email ID and send your written proposal as soon as possible.
You may be abruptly stopped and asked to send an email. It’s less likely that the company is interested, but be sure to send a written proposal anyway.
Try not to talk about the sponsorship amounts in the first call itself. Even if you are asked to do so, tell him/her that you will communicate the detailed proposal via email by the end of the day.
If you are asked to call back later, make sure to get a definite date and time when the contact is ready to talk. If he/she asks you call on 20th June, 4pm, you make sure you call him on 20th June, 4pm! If you feel you won’t be able to call at that time because you’re held up, ask him/her if you can call at 12pm or 5pm. Professionalism is a two-way street!
Try and make a follow up call within the next 2-3 days. Ask them how they feel about the proposal and how you can take this forward. Be persistent with calling. We find that most companies only take our proposals into consideration after we’ve called them multiple times.
Usually, calls have a very low conversion rate so it’s important to not get disheartened easily. A man who has mastered patience has mastered everything. MM