Friday, December 14, 2012
6 Ways Freelancers Can Warm Up to Cold Calling and Lose the Fear
Many writers construct online sites with all the bells and whistles, expecting it to be the equivalent of a lottery ticket to a better life.
Though websites are great promotional tools, today’s savvy writer recognizes that a website or blog should be used in tandem with other marketing efforts for optimal results.
Look at it this way: an attractive site may get potential customers to your virtual doorstep, but it doesn't guarantee that it will necessarily convert them into paying clients.
This is where cold-calling can be beneficial. This popular, age-old technique that's been used effectively to enhance sales by other industries for decades, can increase a writer’s client base, confidence and bottom line.
In fact, many will discover that in this technological world, a small gesture like a phone call can make a big difference. Why?
It provides a personal touch, can help establish immediate rapport,and increases efficiency.
For those who believe cold-calling puts them in the same category as “pesky telemarketers, “it‘s time for a paradigm shift. In today’s tough freelancing climate, one must employ every advantage to stay in the game and stay in the black.
According to Peter Bowerman, author of the Well-fed Writer series, “Assuming you’re a competent, reliable writer, if you pursue this business, you’ll be a professional marketing a valuable and needed professional service to other professionals.”
Note: This year alone, I landed several major clients by simply dialing up businesses that had advertised in our local community newspapers. And you can too.
Now that you know why, here are six savvy ways to warm up to cold-calling:
1. Believe in what you’re selling.
Are you a killer copywriter? An expert in SEO? Have you written an informative self-help book that you’re convinced bookstore owners in your area should know about? Ask any veteran salesman and he’ll tell you the better you feel about your product or services, the easier it is to get “geeked” about it, and have others feel good about it too.
2. Remember, practice makes perfect.
There’s no doubt about it: many writers are rather shy by nature. But, don’t let that stop you from closing the deal. Write out a script and rehearse it. However, don’t recite it word for word, or it will sound “scripted” when you’re communicating with others. The more you “pitch“, the easier it becomes to score big.
3. Work smarter, not harder.
Do a little background research on the companies you target. What are their strengths? Who is their customer base? Go even further. Purchase “lead lists” that specifically identify your ideal client . For example, a list can be bought according to a preferred geographic area, income level or business type. Keep in mind that a strategic approach increases your odds of success and prevents potential burnout
4. Understand that there’s a psychology to selling.
Whether you’re peddling widgets or words, it‘s crucial to get into your potential customer‘s head. What specific needs does your service or product address? How can you help others to become more productive or profitable? Assess then deliver.
5. Recognize that timing is everything.
To optimize your efforts, call when it’s likely you won’t be considered an intrusion or inconvenience. For example, don’t make contact ten minutes before closing time, or five minutes after the start of business hours. Always be polite to “gate keepers”.
6. Mentally “suit up”.
Boxer, Muhammad Ali, used to chant “I’m the greatest” before entering the ring with his opponents.
And a similar preparation is needed before you do battle in business! Preparation might be repeating positive affirmations, or listening to your favorite motivational speaker on audio tape, or visualizing your success first. Preparation helps to cushion the blows of rejection and equips you to go the distance.
Observe these six strategic tips and you’ll discover that cold-calling can be another valuable way to “connect” with customers, build your business and your bottom line.
Thoughts? Anybody here have any good or bad experiences with cold calling?