Yes, a small proportion of freelancers find cold-calling easy. But for most of us, reading through our list of prospects, reaching for the phone, dialing the number, and then doing our best to pitch our services is one of the hardest tasks imaginable.
It’s hard because we know that more often than not our prospect will say no.
And when they do say no, we feel bad. We feel we have failed. And on a personal level, however professional we try to feel about the experience, we feel rejected. We are not good enough. Our prospects have found us to be inadequate and wanting in some way.
In a quite different way, it’s tough for your prospect as well.
First off, she has been interrupted. When her phone rang she was busy doing something else. Her mind was in a whole different place.
Not only are you interrupting her, but you are also putting her on the spot. When you called, she almost certainly wasn’t thinking about whether or not she needed to try a new freelancer. And there you are, on the phone, hoping she will say yes. She knows you want her to say yes, but she isn’t prepared, isn’t ready, and may well resent the fact that you have barged into her day and put her on the spot like that.
Then, when she says no, you both feel bad.
So…how can we make this experience easier on both of you?
As it turns out, it’s not so difficult to do.
Instead of asking for something, offer to give something.
For example, you might call the number, get her on the line, tell you understand that you are interrupting her, and simple ask if it would be OK to send her…X.
What is X?
It could be a bound report, a printed White Paper, a short book, a free assessment of her company’s website…whatever.
Don’t ask for work, or ask for a meeting…simply offer to send her something.
Easier and less stressful for you, and easy for her to say yes.
Then what? If you send her something, include a cover note, saying a little more about what you do. Include a business card.
A few days later, call again and ask her if she received your package, and whether she has had time to look through its contents. If she hasn’t, offer to call back again in a few days. If she has, you can now get into a conversation about your area of expertise and the services you can provide.
When you cold-call to sell your services, most of the time your prospect will say no, and the door is slammed shut.
When you cold-call to offer a gift, then you are starting a conversation. The relationship is given a chance to evolve at a more natural and comfortable pace. No stress. No trauma.
One last thing…
The report, White Paper or book you send should be informational and very, very useful. It should not be a sales piece. This is a gift, and its content should demonstrate your expertise and authority in your field.
Its purpose is not to sell, but to give the recipient a reason to continue the conversation.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…