Today’s guest blogger on the topic of warm calls is Martha Retallick of Western Sky Communications. Thanks, Martha!
“Cold calling” is a sales technique that strikes fear in the hearts of many freelancers. After all, who wants to listen to strangers saying “no” all day long?
Well, I sure don’t!
And that’s why I recommend that you start your telephone prospecting by putting off the cold calls for a while. Focus instead on warm calls.
Simply put, these are sales calls made to someone with whom you have a connection. Here are five examples:
- You and Tom met at a business event, and he said that he needed a better online ordering system for his company. You’re an e-commerce website and content wizard, so Tom asked you to call him next week.
- At the same business event, you also met Sharon. She works for an organization that might just need your services, so you’re going to follow up.
- Let’s assume that you successfully sold your services to Tom, and you built a wonderful new online ordering system for his company. Tom is so thrilled that he refers you to Cindy, who’s in the same professional association as he is. Cindy hasn’t been too happy with her company website’s e-commerce functionality, and Tom thinks that the two of you could do some business.
- If you’re a freelance writer, you surely belong to more than one social networking site such as Facebook or LinkedIn, business or professional group, Chamber of Commerce, civic organization, club, or religious body. Which means that you’re not a total stranger to your fellow members — and there’s nothing to lose by giving them a call and seeing how you can help out.
- Let’s say you do design work for academic institutions. If you’ve just completed a website design for Dr. Jones’ laboratory, perhaps her colleagues might be interested in sites to showcase their research efforts. Or, if you designed for one department of a college, the other 15 departments may be interested in your services.
Obviously, you’ll find varying degrees of warmth out there. Getting the sales process rolling with Cindy (to whom you’ve been referred) may be easier than with Sharon. There are no guarantees, of course. What we perceive as easy often turns out to be quite hard.
But the difficulty in making sales shouldn’t stop you from trying. After all, without sales, you don’t have a freelance business. So, pick up your phone and start making those warm calls. There’s business to be had on the other end of the line!
I agree. It’s definitely worth exhausting your warm call list before you dive into the chillier waters of cold calling. And it’s good practice, anyway.
Dennis Salvatier says
Great advice. It definitely can be a little more difficult than first expected, but it’s definitely worth a try. It’s worked many times for me.