Friday, December 15, 2006

Cold Knocking

From a post on"

Tap your "network" Mom, Dad, cousin, classmates etc.

We live in a country that's it's who you know and not what you know anyway. *sigh*
End Quote

I beg to disagree with the above statement, so I wrote this and posted it on the same thread.

Cold Knocking:

That may be true for some people you will meet, but many you can meet through a process called "Cold Knocking."

Before graduating from college, I sold encyclopedias. We were told NOT to call on relatives or friends but to do "cold knocking" which meant going door to door, knocking on the doors of people we did not know.

When John and I started, we did not know anybody. Although he's Chinese, he was not connected with the Chinese community. Because I went to U.P. and did not join any sororities, I did not have a "network" of college friends. So I did what I had learned before - I did some "Cold Knocking." I picked up the Yellow Pages and started calling ad agencies. I told them that we were interested to do advertising photography and may I present our portfolio to them?

I prepared a portfolio. We did not really have an advertising portfolio (a simple clearbook with black cartolina inserts) but lakasan lang ng loob (what's the English translation? -* "we had guts"*). Most of the items in the portfolio were shots that were obviously amateurish. I included an article on John called "The Magic Eye of John Chua" that Asia Magazine (now extinct) had published.

John would always say that whether you approach a big agency or a small agency, the effort is the same, so I approached one of the biggest ad agencies - J. Walter Thompson. (Sabi ko na, lakasan lang yan ng loob!). Since all we had was a 35mm camera, one of our first projects was for an audiovisual presentation. Mostly, repros. But we got our break.

We also approached Nation Ad - former partner of Grey Advertising (now partnered with Campaigns), plus a few others that have now already disappeared from the advertising scene.

We were getting all minor assignments, but we made sure that our clients were happy with our work. With money saved, we bought a 120mm camera. The brand was "Kowa" and it was a Hasselblad wannabe. (One established photographer asked me what John's medium format camera was, and I said "Kowa." "Kowa-wa naman kayo" was his reply). *Translation: kowa-wa, take off from "kawawa" which means pitiful.*

I continued to do cold knocking. Tiyaga lang *I persevered*. I cold-knocked on the doors of Ace Comption, now Ace Saatchi and Saatchi. The AD asked me what lights we used. I said "available lights." He asked me how John would control highlights and shadows and I said "magaling siya *he's good* with available lights." I called every now and then but did not get an assignment from them until 7 years later.

When I was selling encyclopedias, I learned to persevere. We were told that maybe in the beginning, the number of rejections compared to acceptance would be higher. Maybe in the beginning, we would have to knock on a hundred doors before we got in. If we quit on the 99th, we would never meet our first customer.

We were told to work hard to improve the ratio - to bring down the number of rejections, but to accept that rejections were part of the game - that every rejection brought us closer to the sale. I also learned this from Tom Hopkins (Official Guide to Success) who welcomed every rejection because they brought him closer to his success. 1, 2, 3, ...96, 97, 98, 99.. hurray! here comes the 100th. Finally, a sale!

33 years later, and I am still asking our people to do cold knocking.

There are a lot of clients waiting to meet you. If you don't call them, how would they know where to find you? Buti nga ngayon may internet. *it's a good thing that now we have internet* but that is not enough.

Sure, go ahead, check out your friends and relatives but do pick up the phone book, buy trade directories, join online fora, print your business cards and give them away.

Zig Ziglar (author of various books on selling) said he would give himself a quota of 20 cards a day to give away. At the end of one particular day, he was about to go home. He loaded gas and saw two cards still in his wallet. So he handed them to the gasoline attendant and requested him to give his cards to two customers of the gasoline station who look like they needed new cars. The following week, he got a call from someone who said he received Ziglar's card from the gas boy. He made a sale.

Once I tried doing that. I was at the Enterprise and saw one food stall that looked like they could use better photos. I bought my lunch there and offered my card to the cashier, and said, "if you need good photos of your food, please ask the owner to give us a call." She said, "Mam, si boss po ang nagshoot nito." *Mam, my boss did the photos."* When I was no longer within hearing distance, I gave out a sigh, and told myself, "you can't win them all" and counted "no. 99."

Good luck. Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to help inspire you to just keep on knocking.