Today I thought I’d give you an update on the progress of the non-fiction book I’m working on for TSTC Publishing. The book will be called TechCareers: Automotive Technicians and the due date for me to turn it in is January 1, 2009, a date that hangs over my head like an anvil supported by string.
Every day I work on the book, needless to say. I’m also setting up interviews. I hope to include profiles from around 12 interviews, some I’ll conduct in person and some via email. The head of the AT department at TSTC spent time with me and showed me around their classrooms and work areas, which was quite helpful. He’s also given me contact information for two instructors at other colleges.
I’m also cold calling instructors, employers, working techs, and trying to hook up with students. (If you are a student in a postsecondary automotive technology program, email me.) So here’s my advice for those of you who have to do cold calls.
Write out an introductory letter about you and the project you’re working on. Keep it by the phone. Write out your questions that you would ask in a face-to-face or email interview. Keep it handy, also.
When you make the call, listen to how the person says his name and then write it down phonetically or in a way so you will know how to pronounce it yourself.
Talk about your book project and tell the person about yourself and why you’re doing the book.
Before you hang up, try to get a commitment from them either for a one-on-one interview or an email interview. Whether you get that commitment or not, offer to send them an email about the project (and possibly the questions you would ask).
Then follow up with the letter and/or questions. (That’s another reason to have the question and letter already written. You don’t want them to wait days to hear from you.) Make sure that you include in the introductory letter a sentence that says you would welcome their recommendation of other people you could contact to interview. Personalize the letter.
If all you get is their voice mail, leave a message. Leave your name and phone number and why you’re calling. Tell them you’ll call back tomorrow or in a few days. If you know their email, send them the introductory letter. Follow up as you said you would.
If you’re doing multiple interviews, start a calendar. Hang it on your wall. Update it.
If someone says no, move on. If someone emails you, email them back. Let no one slip through the cracks or drift away unnoticed.
Okay, that’s it from me for now. What is your advice for cold-calling interview subjects?
4 months ago