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Cold Calling for Freelance Writers – Tips You Can Use Today

market freelance writing with cold callingA 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,

Anne Wayman freelance writer



Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Business intelligence tools provided a unified view of operations for managers in order to identify opportunities for growth and efficiency.

  • ‘I might have a little tip for you
    that can save you a lot of time,’

    Simply only use your Surname (or Last Name) because it’s my experience that when you don’t use your Surname people might not preceive you as Business like. Than you might get a lot of Time Wasting questions about why you are calling, while when you use your Surname – especially when you talk business like, and sound like somebody that also has other things to do – you usually will get connected to somebody you want to speak
    a lot more quickly.

    Also when they report about you to their collegues it will be
    Mr. ……… called, something that sounds better than
    for example ‘Harry’ is trying to reach you.
    HP van Duuren recently posted..Using Your Laptop for Filling Your – Time Wasting – Productively.My Profile

    • Anne

      I’m totally uncomfortable introducing myself as Ms Wayman… so I just say I’m Anne Wayman which is what I’m comfortable with. Being comfortable is the key I think, and sounding business like seems to work well.

  • Thanks for the link love, Anne.

    Hannah, I’m not a huge fan of cold calling, either. I don’t mind it for articles, but in general it’s scary stuff. But Anne’s list takes the fear out of it.

  • Anne,

    This is pretty much my method too but I love your suggestion about standing up and smiling during the process. I’ve had some surprisingly nice encounters during cold calling.
    .-= Brian V. Hunt´s last blog ..Stimulate. Seduce. Satisfy =-.

    • Anne

      Brain, I too have met some wonderful people cold calling and most folks are at least decent.

  • Hannah

    I HATE cold calling (which is why I no longer work in sales) and I don’t write articles. But this advice is great for when you are making calls for researching something in your fiction. It can be very intimidating to call, say, the FBI, like I did for my novel. I made sure I had my list of questions ready in case someone had a moment to speak with me right then. That came in handy when someone unexpectedly called me back. It also made me sound more professional and less like some nutcase calling to ask “How do you investigate bank robberies?” Although I’m sure they checked me out before returning the call!

    • Anne

      Yes, calling sources can be scary. Was the FBI pretty nice about answering your questions?

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