Four Tips to Help You Cold Call with Confidence and Professionalism
I’m two weeks into my recent cold calling project — looking for new clients — and I am reminded of a few important aspects of an effective cold call campaign.
These tips will help ease the pain — and ease writers into this focused and efficient method of finding new freelance clients.
1. Speak With Confidence.
It’s all too easy to let nerves or self-confidence waver when you’re in the process of cold calling a company. And yes your lack of confidence will show over the phone. This will be less than impressive. Instead, you must project utmost confidence when speaking with potential prospects.
Before I start cold calling, I make an effort to put myself in a confident mindset. I speak with self-assurance. I introduce myself like a professional. I stay professional, including being considerate of their time, during the phone conversation. One freelancer told me this week that he makes his cold calls standing up, because standing makes him feel more confidence. I know a woman who keeps a mirror on her desk and smiles into it every time she makes a call. Every writer needs to find what works for him or her.
2. Communicate Clearly with Your Target Audience.
Several freelance writers have asked me what I say to a prospect once I get them on the phone. I don’t recommend having a written script, like some kind of telemarketer. But it’s a good idea to know what you are going to say before you make the call.
After much trial-and-error, I’ve come up with a simple statement to get the conversation rolling. I ask my contact some version of: “Do you currently use freelance writers, or do you think you may one day need a freelance writer?” This question achieves three important goals: It clearly lets the prospect know what I’m “selling,” it focuses the conversation in the right direction, and it lets me find out quickly if they are a hot prospect or not.
3. Follow Up Immediately with Hot Prospects.
When you’ve reached someone who is interested in your services and requests more information, you need to immediately follow up with him or her. If you wait to follow up, you’ll lose momentum. Plus, it’s more professional to act quickly once you have a hot prospect. Usually you’re going to follow up with your contact information, resume, writing samples, and rates. If you have that all available on a website, then send them the link. If you do have a website, don’t just give it to them on the phone. Ideally, you want a reason to get their email address and communicate with them again.
4. Create a System to Stay Organized.
If you’re making a lot of cold calls in a short period of time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s all to easy to forget which contacts are interested in your services, what services they are interested in (i.e., web copy, blogging, white papers, etc.), who’s not interested in your services, and who you have to follow up with. Create a system that works for you, whether it’s electronic, such as a software program or an Excel document, or a paper system. I’ve heard from several writers who’ve each developed unique contact management systems that work for them.
While I prefer cold calling to find freelance clients, other freelance writers have told me this is not their preferred method for marketing their services. The other two big ways are networking and cold emailing. For the benefit of writers who simply do not want to make cold calls, I’ll review both of these methods for finding new clients in future blog posts.
Also, remember that I share 101 of my most powerful tips for launching, growing, and sustaining a long and successful freelance career in my book: Secrets of Being a Successful Freelance Writer. With this book in hand, you’ll have all my tips in one convenient place — immediately.