Your next step is to choose one to start with. Don’t over think your choice, you have done your primary screening, so any one of them will work. In order to make this effective, your research really starts now. Let’s assume you got your info from D&B (Dunn & Bradstreet), it will probably include the name of one contact at least, research the individual, then research the company.
- On the company side try to create a mini “org chart”.
- Who is the CEO, CTO, CFO, COO, etc? How long have they been at the company?
- What has been the company’s history?
- Is the company profitable?
- How many locations?
- Where would you fit?
- What does the company do?
- Everything else you can think of.
Dig out as much info as possible on each. Your initial letter will be stock, but when you call, you will need to know who to ask for and as much as possible about them and their company.
When you call, you will be asking for an appointment, but you need to be prepared for anything. Write out your questions and have them in front of you. Script your open, literally. Write it out word for word and read it when you call. Rehearse it before hand so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading it, but read it.
Your expectations need to be appropriate for the process as well. Unfortunately, most of the time, you’ll get some variation of “don’t call me, I’ll call you.” If they send you to HR, it’s the same thing. You may want to follow up with HR, but that will be the exception. Your goal is having a personal conversation with someone with both budget and hiring authority, anything else and move to the next one.
Part of the reason for starting with 10 or so companies is because of how often “No” will be your outcome and you’ll need to have that next one to focus on.
What will happen at this point is you will genuinely be in a numbers game. If you can do this 100 times, then you will get at least one offer. You could get as many as 10. You should get 30 to 40 interviews.
A possible script might go:
“Hi Bob, my name is Steve Paul, I sent you a note a week ago introducing myself. I build extremely resilient, high performance IT teams. The reason for my call is to follow up on the letter and ask you if there is a time we could talk about how I might be able to help. Is now a good time or should we set an appointment for later?”
The point is to be ready. Really ready. This is a way to create opportunity, and when that opportunity is developed, turning it into something that you can grow with over time.