October is always an interesting time for me because I spend much of it calling the parents of NFL draft prospects to offer my free newsletter. It’s a series that runs about six weeks and details the NFL draft process, and I launched it just last year. It was very well-received, so we’re rolling it out again this year.

Anyway, it takes me about two weeks to call all the names in my file of about 600 sets of parents. It’s a little bit of a logistical dilemma because we’re calling parents from sea to shining sea and involving every time zone. Whenever I do this, I realize I’m living the life my clients live every day. Though less and less recruiting involves calling someone out of the clear blue sky and proffering your services, being in the sports industry is all about making an introduction with three important traits: it’s brief, it impresses on the person that you are knowledgeable and worthy of knowing, and it makes you likeable. That’s hard to do, whether you’re knocking on someone’s door, calling their home phone number (not as many of those as there used to be), or any other forum where you’re communicating with someone in real-time and not sending a text or an email.

Today, I wanted to share a few notes and observations in hopes that the next time you’re in a ‘cold call’ situation you won’t feel so exposed.

  • So far, I’ve called the numbers of 349 sets of parents. I’ve probably made at least 100 more calls than that when you figure in the times I found two (sometimes three) numbers and tried both of them. I’ve got another 150 or so calls to make this week.
  • The longest period of time I spent calling folks was just under seven hours straight. That was a long seven hours.
  • The spiel I leave on voice mails is about a minute long. That’s probably a little longer than it should be.
  • Nine times I’ve called and they weren’t interested. I don’t know why, but that stings. I think there are two reasons you’d turn down free information: you’re afraid you’re getting sold something — I’m not — or the school has conditioned parents you to see all people not associated with the school as Ebola carriers.
  • So far I’ve been hung up on three times. Once I called, got cut off, then called right back and got hung up on. Turns out the first time I had been hung up on, too. I’m a slow learner.
  • I called one household last night and got the player’s father, who’s an ex-NFL player. He was pretty irate that I had called, and cut me off mid-pitch (though at least he didn’t hang up on me). It’s kinda funny because he played decades ago, and the game — and the draft process — have changed a LOT since he was going through. I guess he’ll have to learn on his own. Then again, maybe he won’t; his son’s not a hot prospect.
  • Sometimes I call and I’m greeted very warmly once they understand who I am and that I’m offering something informative and free. That’s always gratifying.
  • Seven times so far I’ve called and gotten a fax line. I usually stay on the line long enough to hear most of that weird noise the fax makes. I’m weird.

War Story Wednesday tomorrow. I’ve got something inspired by a phone call I got from an old friend this weekend. See you then.

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