A while back I reviewed Peter Bowerman’s Well-Fed Writer; Lori Widmer who blogs at Words on the Page commented that cold calling for freelance writers or telesales (which Bowerman recommends) is easier for writers when they remember they’re connecting with a real person, and making the effort to get to know them a bit. She’s right.
It also helps to remember when you’re offering your freelance writing to companies, you’re doing a business-to-business call. That’s not the same thing as calls that interrupt dinner to offer something you don’t want.
I’ve done telesales in my time, back when I took throw-away jobs to support my writing habit. Little did I know that I’d be using those skills to market my freelance writing. Cold calling can actually help solve freelance writer business problems by helping you find the clients who need your kind of writing.
Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
- Get your list together in advance so it’s ready when you want to begin your telesales efforts.
- Keep track of your calls. You need to know who you called when and what the result was. There are software programs that will help you, but in the beginning, pencil and paper or a spreadsheet will work.
- Set an achievable goal, dialing the phone 10 times today, or calling until you reach three people. It may take a few days to discover exactly how much calling you actually will do. When you’re starting a telephone campaign you should be making calls every week day.
- Know what you’re asking for. In most cases you probably want an appointment – an opportunity to show off your portfolio. Although don’t be afraid to close the sale right on the phone; it happens.
- Outline a script of what you’ll say. Your script is to make sure you know what to say when someone answers the phone. You can write it out word for word, but if you read it you’ll sound like you’re reading rather than talking to the person at the other end of the phone.An outline which will remind you of the points you want to cover can help you sound spontaneous. And yes, you need your outline script with you every time you call – for those moments when you get distracted. (You’ll probably want to read Building a Cold Calling Script for Writers.)
- Stand up when you make the call
- Smile as you make contact. It’s amazing how a smile makes you sound better. Telesales pros put mirror where they can see it to remind themselves to smile.
- If you have an attitude that you’re calling to give, to offer to help, to solve a problem rather than just to get a paying client, you’ll feel much better about making the calls, and you’ll probably sell more as well.
Cold calling isn’t easy, but it can be fun and productive. Give it a try and let us know how it work for you.
You may find 8 Top Freelance Writer Business Problems helpful.
Write well and often,
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