Cold Calling to Find Freelance Writing Clients

on February 8, 2010 in Marketing
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Do you have a “go to move” when it comes to marketing your freelance writing services? Many people like to send query letters, some send cold emails, and others rely solely on word of mouth. Have you ever thought about the benefits of cold calling? Believe it or not, this is a great way to drum up new business.

There are thousands of companies out there who need the services of a freelance writer. Some of them know they need the assistance of a qualified writer; others are still on the fence. Either way, with a cold call to the right person you are sure to put yourself in position to land a new gig.

But I don’t like cold calling! This is something that I hear time after time. I agree that it can be difficult to pick up the phone, dial the number of somebody you have no relationship with, and attempt to sell them something. You are going to get turned down more times than not. And guess what? Some people are going to be very rude about it.

Even though being turned down is a big part of cold calling, so is finding new clients. As you track your successes and failures you will eventually get to a point where you know on average how many calls it takes to land a new client. For instance, in my past line of work as a sales manager for a background screening company, 25 cold calls would work out to one new client on average. What did this mean to me? Simply put, if I made 25 calls per day I could expect some level of regular success.

If you are reading this and thinking “no way” I urge you to reconsider. With each cold call that you make the process becomes more and more enjoyable. You have to start somewhere. What better time than now?

Thanks for sharing!
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Chris is a full-time freelance writer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in web content, sales copy, and many other forms of writing. Chris has two books in print, as well as hundreds of articles in local and nationwide publications.

6 Comments

  1. Jake P February 8, 2010 Reply

    Amen, Chris! When my business slowed to a crawl back in the summer of 2001, I made about 400 cold calls and got a dozen or so jobs out of it–just about the 1-25 ratio you describe.

    Based on those jobs and subsequent referrals, I haven’t made a cold call since then, but it would absolutely be my first move if I experienced a dip in business.

  2. Dan Smith February 8, 2010 Reply

    My background is in training and development with 16 to 18 year olds in a business environment and the vast majority of them, although they speak to their friends on the telephone every night, seem to have somewhat of a phobia when making or receiving calls when they do not know who is on the other end.

    I cannot express to them enough how important using the telephone is – and cold calling is a prime example of the importance.

    We may be dominated by e-mail nowadays, but it’s so easy to ignore an e-mail, that if you’re in a situation where you need relatively quick answers (like in Jake P’s example above of needing more work), making a quick and polite phone call is without doubt the best option. You may not get the answer that you want, but at least you’ll know straight away and don’t have to wait what can be weeks for someone to reply to your e-mail.

  3. Thursday Bram February 9, 2010 Reply

    I’m one of those writers who just doesn’t do particularly well at cold calling… just not something I personally excel at. That said, though, if I can warm up the call even a little bit — meeting prospective clients at a networking event, getting a tip from a friend, anything like that — I find the process a lot easier to handle.

  4. Cindi Westerfeld October 5, 2010 Reply

    Interesting post, Chris. You’re absolutely right about it being a process where you have to get used to a certain amount of failure. If you’re interested, I found this post on cold calling that might have something useful for your readers, too.

    http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978535824

    Hope that helps someone out there!

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