I am a frequent reader of the "ASK Maureen" discussion group on ERExchange. I am in the process of transitioning my career from technical consulting to technical placement. The hours are long as a consultant and the driving is getting to me so I am just getting my feet wet with technical placement without giving up my consulting business just yet. I am currently with a few local agencies here in Connecticut on a contractual basis on a few of their more difficult positions. Needless to say, this requires a lot of sourcing which is where I’m falling short.
Just this morning, I called into a company looking for XYZ programmers and started with an individual there that I knew was an XYZ programmer:
"Hi my name is Bob Jones – I’m calling from XYZ Software and was wondering if you would be willing to take a survey because we are soliciting feedback from our user community for our upcoming user conference this fall." The gentleman was very amicable and gave me his email address to send the survey. Then I proceeded to say: "Thanks I appreciate your willingness to participate in the survey. Do you know of anyone else who would be willing to take the survey?" At this point I got the feeling he caught on to what I was doing and became a bit withdrawn. So my question is, where did I go wrong? Any advice would be really appreciated.
Maybe that last question, “Do you know of anyone else who would be willing to take the survey?” combined with the common (phony?) sounding name – Bob Jones - caused his antennae to go up and prompted his withdrawal? It’s interesting that you sensed his withdrawal – why do you say you struggle? Your instincts sound well honed. It takes a lot of practice to become a good sourcer – you have to know when to push, when to fold. I always advise exiting gracefully (letting the other person off the hook easily) when I feel discomfort on the other end – amazingly, sometimes your easy willingness to withdraw redirects the other person on the other end to step back towards you again. One other thing that struck me as I read your script – you probably were not reading it but did you deliver it as written? If so, I’d use contractions in my speech, it makes it more user-friendly. Another thing, you’re representing yourself from a specific company. It is possible to name generate without doing this – it’s all in how the questions are asked. I’m not judging you, just be careful here. But, to use your example, doesn’t the following read (sound) better? "Hi! My name’s Bob Jones – I’m calling from XYZ Software and was wondering if you’d be willing to take a survey – we’re soliciting feedback from our user community for our upcoming user conference this fall." "Thanks (use his name, you do know it, right?). I appreciate your participation - do you know anyone else who might be willing to help?”
Hope this helps!