Back in 2003 I picked up the phone and cold called Jon Berg, the CEO of $11 billion Vega Fund.
I had an idea to take their bond fund into the Canadian market with a wrapper. It would be an easy way to offer the very popular product to Canadian investors.
Jon answered my phone call and took the quick pitch. He invited me out to New York and we shook hands quickly on a deal. I was the only guy calling him with a distribution deal for the Canadian market.
Over the next year, we headed to Toronto weekly to put the product together and pitch customers.
Everything worked well until returns went south in 2007.
Last week I emailed Jon Berg (now happily retired) telling him I was in NYC for the fall and that we should get together. Ellen and his wife Chris joined us at Clocktower (which was excellent). Jon told Ellen the story of how and why he used to take cold calls, including mine, and that he was able to size up the pitch in 20 seconds. My quick pitch he said made sense and boom, we were in business.
I still take cold calls. Jon Berg is retired but takes them too. Over the years, the quality has deteriorated as most entrepreneurs cold email me. I have no idea why I take the calls. In the back of my head, I must feel that it will be a long lost relative in trouble, a sure thing deal that has 15 minutes to close or a cousin in Nigeria that needs to wire me $10 million.
Email and the social networks have made the cold call a lost art. Once in a while I still have to make a cold call and it feels great to get a meeting. My nephew Brandon works in enterprise software sales and is making a lot of cold calls every day. We were chatting in Toronto last week about how successful he has been at it versus the other millennials. It was fun to hear his strategies. I shared a few stories and tips with him to help him remain the leader of the rookie group of sales people.
Most people still don’t make the extra calls.
Also published on Medium.