Recruiting & cold calling: pitfalls?

25 Jan 2010 - 4:37pm
4 years ago
7 replies
420 reads
Melissa Casburn
2008

A client has asked us to cold-call some existing customers to do some
fast research on purchasing decisions. This isn't an activity we
normally engage in, so I'm treading carefully.

The survey is fairly short (about 15 questions) and includes a $50
incentive. The call script looks tidy, with the incentive called out
very quickly. We believe the questions are short and clear, and easy
to answer via the phone (as opposed to a readable format like paper
or web). Anybody have additional items we should double-check, or
basic guidance from past experience using this technique?

Thanks in advance

Comments

25 Jan 2010 - 4:51pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

You probably will not have a problem if you are courteous and respectful of
your respondents time and priorities. People are generally willing to help
but are often really busy.

This is not really a cold call since you will be talking with existing
customers.

I would say that I am doing research and would be really appreciative if
they would be willing to answer a few questions that would take xx minutes.
If this is not a good time, when might I call back.

You might offer to talk with them after hours if that is an option.

And offering the incentive may help. Some people may not be able to accept
the incentive so I offer to donate it to a charity of their choice in their
name.

And, if you can, you might want to "warm up" the respondent with an email
indicating that you plan to call.

Best,

Charlie

============================
Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.
CEO, Cognetics Corporation
============================

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Melissa
Casburn
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 1:38 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Recruiting & cold calling: pitfalls?

A client has asked us to cold-call some existing customers to do some
fast research on purchasing decisions. This isn't an activity we
normally engage in, so I'm treading carefully.

The survey is fairly short (about 15 questions) and includes a $50
incentive. The call script looks tidy, with the incentive called out
very quickly. We believe the questions are short and clear, and easy
to answer via the phone (as opposed to a readable format like paper
or web). Anybody have additional items we should double-check, or
basic guidance from past experience using this technique?

Thanks in advance
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25 Jan 2010 - 5:33pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 25, 2010, at 1:37 PM, Melissa Casburn wrote:

> A client has asked us to cold-call some existing customers to do some
> fast research on purchasing decisions. This isn't an activity we
> normally engage in, so I'm treading carefully.
>
> The survey is fairly short (about 15 questions) and includes a $50
> incentive. The call script looks tidy, with the incentive called out
> very quickly. We believe the questions are short and clear, and easy
> to answer via the phone (as opposed to a readable format like paper
> or web). Anybody have additional items we should double-check, or
> basic guidance from past experience using this technique?

Hi Melissa,

In addition to what Charlie suggested, I'd make it more of a
discussion and less of a scripted survey. I'd make sure the people
asking the questions really understand what you're looking for and are
prepared for diving in deep with the customers.

The incentive isn't really the $50 for customers: it's knowing that
they are going to influence something that's important. The $50 just
shows you (and your client) has some skin in the game and aren't
taking them for granted.

If you want to get really good, valuable information, you'll want to
incent them by showing real interest in their answers. That means
having someone who can really engage them and demonstrate a real
curiosity. (It also means establishing clearly, through your actions,
that this isn't a glorified sales call or timeshare-like pitch. You
are there to learn, not sell.)

There are some tricks, like contacting through email first, to
establish interest and set up an appointment. You want to explain,
both in the initial contact and at the start of the interview, what
you're hoping to learn and what you're doing with their information.
You probably don't want to call it a survey, but something more
engaging (which will vary based on who you're talking to). And you
want to arrange to get them the money as soon as you can, even before
the interview, if possible. (This demonstrates you're serious and it's
a partnership, not exploitive.)

Hope this helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: @jmspool

25 Jan 2010 - 5:36pm
Audrey Crane
2009

You might also give them the option to do the questions immediately or
schedule a follow-up time. Even though it's only 15 minutes, having
the option to schedule it later removes all the pressure and makes it
easier to say yes...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Jan 2010 - 6:47pm
Melissa Casburn
2008

Huge thanks for the responses so far -- everything you've said has
been helpful. We're moving really fast and need to have the info
collected by tomorrow (which I failed to explain before, as we're
moving so darn fast).

In addition, we can't pre-screen via email because the client
doesn't have email addresses. That's why we're using the phone.
It's not ideal, but we're definitely approaching everyone with
respect and courtesy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Jan 2010 - 6:59pm
Caroline Jarrett
2007

Hi Melissa
> Huge thanks for the responses so far -- everything you've said has
> been helpful. We're moving really fast and need to have the info
> collected by tomorrow (which I failed to explain before, as we're
> moving so darn fast).

Suggestions:
- set a policy for what you do if the contact is unavailable or whatever.
How many attempts?
- decide whether to use call line identifier (more courteous, more likely to
have number picked up, but you then need to know how to deal with the 'who
are you' calls that result)
- whether to leave a message or not if you get a message taker instead of
the contact (voice mail or human)

What I usually do is set up a spreadsheet with columns for:
- up to 3 attempts to contact (3 columns)
- time for meeting if scheduled
- reference to document with meeting notes (if it happened)
- where to send the incentive (if accepted)
- any extra notes

I prefer to use CLI and I always leave a message if I get a message taker.
This means that I sometimes have to conduct some extra interviews, possibly
after the study has closed - but hey, it's worth it for the extra courtesy
points.

Best
Caroline Jarrett
www.formsthatwork.com

26 Jan 2010 - 7:44am
Edo A. Elan
2004

I found that talking to existing clients is very helpful to
understanding the product. I never needed to give an incentive - most
clients, though busy people, are excited that someone consults with
them. However, calling mature professionals with good public speaking
skills, I found that 15 questions isn't a short list; if the rapport
is there, it will quickly develop into a conversation. Which is
great! I just don't kid myself about the time it takes.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48615

25 Jan 2010 - 5:52pm
Bryan Holland
2009

I have found that people say one thing and do another.
Especially with Would you...? type questions.
So your results may not represent the true behaviors of a user.

One way around it is to first tell them you are grading and
evaluating the status quo NOT them. Everyone likes to be critical of
something besides themselves.

AND- I interview to find nuggets and go with the flow.
In other words- someone may have had a bad experience and would love
to tell you their pain points- this may or may not be on your
questionaire. Another person may have a wealth of knowledge in a
different place.

my 2 cents

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48615

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