The role of a technology integration coach is like that of a salesperson. The problem with this comparison is that so often as coaches we only focus on the customers that are coming into our store or that are clicking on our website offerings in search of something. We see ourselves as meeting the needs of our customers by providing the services they seek, establishing a relationship so that they continue to return for new services, and anticipating their next needs. We keep our door open, our resources updated, and prepare our promotions. The problem is that our regular customers are the early-adopters and the early majority who follow shortly after. Those who most need our services are not shopping. And this is why we need to be getting out there and making cold calls.
In the cold call, the coach is focused on persuading colleagues to change their practice or take a risk when they may not even be aware that they need to address a problem. We all know that there is comfort in maintaining the status quo, so coaches should expect these teachers to be resistant to change. In fact, we’ve heard these folks referred to as resistors or laggards. I suggest these folks have simply never taken the time to reflect on their situation and ways to improve it. As the coach making the cold call, it is important that you shift your mindset away from making the sale towards finding out how you can help your colleagues improve their practice. Your credibility as a seller/coach is more critical than ever.
While you are an expert in your field, that is not what you are selling. Your focus when cold calling colleagues is to become knowledgeable about your customer. You want to develop expertise on their history and goals so that you can help them envision taking a risk and changing their instruction. This happens through questioning, listening, interpreting, and eventually informing and engaging. You need to be prepared for objections and be able to tactfully address them. Once you’ve established your credibility, you can involve the teacher in envisioning the benefits to taking a risk. Now you can involve them in your work and should coordinate a time to meet and discuss how you can support them in addressing their newly identified needs.