I read an interesting post from a senior level executive on LinkedIn. He complained about all the people soliciting him; as many as 200 a week. I get that. Totally. As an Executive Recruiter I get a dozen cold calls a day. Mostly candidates looking for work, however there are also the solicitors. Products, services, people asking for introductions or investments.

This executive was saying that if he took all those cold calls and meetings, he would literally get nothing done at work. And he is spot on. I know I don’t want to work 70 hours a week with the majority of that time meeting with people I don’t know and have never met.  On the other hand, I have compassion for their situation. Mostly people out of work and desperate to find a new job. Here are a few thoughts on the topic of COLD CALLS.

This is What I Do; I Don’t Apologize for It – I used to be a Mechanic in a Bowling Alley. We had a chemical salesman that sold us cleaning agents. Whenever he showed up, we all made fun of him hawking spray bottles and cleaner. Bahahahaha! What a crappy job! One day he says, “You know what Mark, this job puts food on my table and pays for my kids to go to school. I don’t apologize for it.” I never gave him grief again. Why? Because he is absolutely right. We are all selling something. Trust me, I have taken my share of poor treatment from people, mostly Human Resources executives that feel recruiting is “their job” or are envious of my relationships with their top executives. The funny part is, they are the first people to send me a resume when they get terminated.

Referrals are the Only Way to Fly! – The best way to develop new business is by referral. I don’t cold call customers, I determine the correct executive to approach, find a common friend and ask for an introduction. Rather than ask for a meeting, I send over a company PDF with client testimonials and say, “If I can ever help, let me know.” Time is the great leveler and an executive’s most valuable asset. We all have 24 hours in a day. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, me, you. And I have no interest in wasting someone’s valuable time unless I can add value.

An Attitude of Gratitude – The last point I want to make is super important: Be thankful for what you have. Right here, right now. If you have your health, your family and friends, everything else is a bonus. This executive has a great job at a great company. And that is awesome…until the day it isn’t. It’s a short walk from Park Place to the Park Bench, so show a little compassion. I’m not saying take all the meetings, however I personally respond to every single cold call, even if my answer is a polite “no thank you.” My wife and I were blessed to celebrate our fifth Wedding Anniversary in South Africa. We are animal lovers; however the highlight of our trip was a visit to the Mazinyane Pre-School and Swa Vana Orphanage. It reminded us that everything is relative in life. While Americans are marching up and down the streets whining about what they don’t have, these kids literally have zero. They are ecstatic to be able to attend school or be at the Orphanage. Why? Because it could be a whole lot worse. Be grateful for what you DO have.  And always remember this, everyone is on a tough journey, so be kind.