"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

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?

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

10 comments:

  1. Have you ever considered
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I do. Thanks so much for your interest. Please feel free to "connect" with me through the contact email provided under the "contact" tab at this Blog. I appreciate your time and feedback.

      Delete
  2. Jennifer, Excellent advice! I do my best cold calling on the spur of the moment. If I over-think it that "cold" becomes "frozen" as in too frosty to act. I find myself thinking more of frowns and slammed doors than I should. And, as I've tried to get book signings, I've found morning is best - when everyone is fresh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue,

      Thanks so much for weighing in on this; it's an issue that I think many more writers need to become comfortable with. :-) How's it going with the book signings?...

      Delete
  3. Cold calling is one thing I've not done yet. Time to get with it. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 16, 2012 at 6:56 AM

      Karen,

      Hmm...Surprised to discover this. :-) As they say, "There's no better time like the present."
      I'm sure you'll do well; good luck with it.

      Delete
  4. From my days in advertising sales, I can tell you that you are spot on with your advice and insight. People add and subtract words to the page as they read. When you speak with them you help them zoom in and retain more, because you highlight the "point" and save them the work of finding it.

    Along with your suggestions I would offer what I direct job seekers to do in follow up:
    1) if possible... send correspondence stating the date and approximate time you'll call, offering the option to give you a more convenient time
    2) when you call, and someone else answers, you can state that they're expecting your call...
    3) even if you dont use #1... call on Tuesday-Thursday. People are occasionally closing up shop on Friday because of exciting weekend plans, so "put off til Monday..."
    Then, on Monday they're playing catchup... or even relishing the excitement of the weekend.

    Meanwhile, beware the perception of 'persistance,' as it is easily confused with desparate. As inferred in the article, feel good about what a service you're offer someone... which you have the option to share with someone else (perhaps their competition). "-)

    Thanks for the flashback down Sales Lane...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 17, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Thanks, Sporty. Great food for thought here.

      Delete
  5. Some years ago I read a report about the use of Voice Overs in Radio Advertising, it made me realise what an Impression a Voice can give.

    For example (Although you need to be carefull with asumptions) you usually can get some impression about a huge amount of details just by listening to a voice. For example you usually will get some idea about somebodies age, gender and also get an idea about loads of other things, like the state somebody is in, if somebody is unfriendly, stressed or relaxed and helpfull etc. etc.

    I do believe that - Listening - can be very important in determining how to deliver a (Sales) Message.







    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 18, 2012 at 4:48 AM

      H.P.,

      Great feedback; I actually never looked at it this way. Effective listening is important to any form of business exchange. I appreciate your time and thoughts today.

      Delete