Cold calling tips for freelancers

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Cold calling is surely one of the most polarizing topics in the freelance-o-sphere. Those who love it can be downright fanatical about its strength as a tool for finding new clients and freelance jobs. Those who hate it are equally passionate about it making us no better than telemarketers.

Count me among the former. If business is slow, I can’t think of a better way of uncovering a company that might be in need of freelance writing, editing, graphic design or web services. With that in mind, I wanted to offer some cold calling tips for freelancers:

  • You need to focus on the potential customer’s needs, not run down a script on how wonderful you are.
  • Your goal is to engage in a comfortable conversation rather than a full-speed-ahead sales pitch.
  • If things don’t work out, that’s OK. Overcoming objections is fine if you’re emulating Glengarry Glen Ross, but we’re in a relationship business, not pushing shady land deals.
  • Be truthful, human, genuine.
  • Done right, cold calling can even be—yes!—enjoyable as well as profitable.

Bonus lesson…think outside the freelance echo chamber: Many of the freelancing blogs out there may be helpful, but it behooves us all to do a better job of learning about sales from expert sources outside our immediate industry.

In the comments: Any additional cold calling tips for freelancers you’d like to offer?

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  1. P.S. Jones says

    I hate cold calling but I’ve gotten good at it. Basically, I just remind myself that the goal is to make a certain amount of cold calls. The law of averages says that if I make a certain amount of calls, eventually somebody will say “Yes.” So I call, I feel out the prospect and try to figure out what they need. Then tell them why I can give them what they need. If they take my information or set up a meeting, great. If they don’t, great too. Because that’s just one more “No” down before I get to my “Yes.”

  2. Dr. Freelance says

    That’s exactly my thought process! It’s much better to look at “no” as a stepping stone than a rejection. And if you accidentally run into someone who’s a jerk about it, just be glad that don’t have to work with such a nasty person!

  3. says

    I’ve found my most lucrative clients by picking up the phone. Some have come through cold calls. Others through warm calls.

    If you’re looking for techniques that may be useful, I’ve written a couple of FreelanceSwitch articles. See:

    Hope they’re helpful!

  4. Dr. Freelance says

    Thanks for commenting, Martha. You’ve provided some excellent, usable info in those links—highly recommended reading! (And FreelanceSwitch contains a wealth of great tips on a variety of topics.)