While we don’t always like to openly admit it, cold calling is one of the most effective ways of getting your name and services out to people who have never heard of you – but they don’t have to be so cold.
“Warm” calling can be beneficial to finding clients that you want to work with, rather than the other way around. You’re able to me more selective; this way you are doing the work you enjoy rather than taking whatever comes along. If done correctly, warm calls can be a valuable asset to your freelance business without sounding like a “cold” telemarketer.
Do Your Research
Don’t just grab a phonebook and starting calling companies by random. Do your research — find out exactly what the company does and who the right person is to contact that makes the creative decisions for the company.
Learning as much as you can prior to the call will not only help make you more comfortable and confident, but also gives the impression of professionalism — not just some person who’s desperate to find work. If you’ve worked with similar companies and markets, you can ask if you could prepare work samples to send them, if interested.
Prepare before the call
Prior to calling, I’ve always liked to write down a script-like note of what I need to say. More times than most you will find yourself talking to an answering machine, so this works out to your advantage to have prepared statement. Consider it the elevator speech for the answering machines.
Don’t be a spam artist
Cold calling gets a bad wrap due to it’s comparison to spam. Warn calling must be handled with care, so you don’t come off as “spammmy” to the person on the other end. Don’t sound as if you are trying to sell them something or persuade their decision.
Instead express interest in their company and find out if they are in need of your services. Don’t pressure them. Be casual. You’re simply letting them know who you are and how you could potentially help them. Even if they are not interested immediately, doesn’t mean they will never be interested. At the very least they now have your contact information.
This could also be a good way to find out who they are working with and if they are happy with the quality of work they have been receiving. Ask them if they ever worked with an independent designer, and if not, provide details on how working with a single party can benefit them.
Time is of the essence
Time is of the essence, so cut right to the chase. Save the long, detailed conversations for the appropriate time. Keep your messages and conversations short and sweet, until you feel they would like to hear more.
Start of by introducing yourself, what you do and what services you offer that could benefit their them. At this point they will either be open ears or cut you short. If they seem interested and give you more of their time, this is your opportunity to ask them some of the above, more personal questions.