“A potential client asked me for a sample and I’ve heard nothing. Should I email her?”
“The editor asked for changes. I made them and send the manuscript back. Now nothing! I’m hesitant to call because I know how busy she is, but…”
I really want some new clients. What do you suggest?”
It’s probably not true, but I sometimes get the idea that freelance writers are phone-phobic. Or maybe with the internet and instant communications we all are forgetting just how handy a phone can be.
Here’s an overview of the three best ways a freelance writer can pick up the phone and improve their income.
As a collection tool
Business long ago learned that the telephone is an outstanding way to collect outstanding bills.
You should discover this too. If you’ve invoiced and the payment has come within the time expected don’t re-invoice. Instead, pick up the phone, and call the client or editor.
Yes, every invoice should say when it’s due – I always make mine ‘due on presentation’ which case I wait a week or 10 days before I call. If some other arrangement has been made I time my call accordingly.
Like any corporation, you’re in business and you’re entitled to be paid. Since your a tiny business it’s totally acceptable to expect payment promptly. No need to be shy, or embarrassed.
As a followup marketing tool
If you’ve sent your credits in response to an ad for a freelance writer and you don’t hear back, forget it. But if you’ve had a response requesting the sample or a price, or a reference, and you don’t hear, pick up the phone. If a client stops communicating with you be email, give them a call rather than trying more email.
It’s exactly the same thing with editors. It’s totally okay to call them if they have stopped responding. With magazine editors I always find out what are their deadline days and avoid calling then, but otherwise I pick up the phone.
Of course I often get answering machines – I leave a short message. I tend to skip long messages so I assume others do too. Something as simple as “Hi, it’s Anne Wayman the writer. I haven’t heard from you re my rewrite – what’s up?” And I leave my number twice, slowly.
If I get a receptionist who wants to put me through to voice mail, I first ask when I’m most likely to reach whomever in person. I may or may not leave a message.
As a tool for finding new clients
Yes, the telephone is a great way to find new clients. If you remember that you’re a business person calling other business people, at least some of whom need your services, it can take the onus off of the whole cold calling image you may have. Cold Calling for Freelance Writers – Tips You Can Use Today will tell you how to approach marketing this way.
Cold calling is a numbers game. I’m willing to bet that if you call 5 people a day for two weeks, or 10 a day for one week you’ll end up with at least one solid prospect. You can dial five numbers in less than half an hour, unless, of course, you end up having a real conversation about how you can help – that’s pure gold.
Pick up the phone – you’ll be glad you did.
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Write well and often,