76 brilliant freelancer
chance that the people you call will need you; maybe not today
or tomorrow, but one day these businesses will be glad you
called.
Because unsolicited calls are unpopular, take steps to minimise
your intrusion. Make it easy for people to like you. Don’t call
at 9:00 on Monday morning, when
everyone is trying to wake up and
deal with last week’s disasters. Don’t
call at 5:00 on Friday, when every-
one is lazily preparing next week’s
disasters. And don’t call at lunch time, when everyone is . . . well,
eating lunch.
Before you call, know exactly what you want to say:
Know your goal. Would you like to meet the client, or do
you just want to email them your CV or portfolio? You may
find that the shortest, most effective call is one where you
briefly introduce yourself, explain what you do and then
offer to email more detailed information about yourself.
Know who you want to speak to. Try to find the name of
your ideal contact from their website, but if names aren’t
available then say something like, ‘Can I please speak to the
person in charge of hiring freelancers?’ Try to get the right
person on the phone before you deliver your spiel.
Know what you want to say. Write down your script and
rehearse it. Know exactly why you’re calling and what you
want to achieve. Otherwise you won’t know if the call was
a success. Having a script and a goal helps you be efficient
and it reduces the chances of you wasting the prospect’s
time. So don’t think of a script as being an artificial device
that reduces the exchange to a robotic interaction – it’s just
a guideline that helps you respect people’s time.
make it easy for people
to like you
Find work fast 77
An approach to calling prospects
Open a phone call with something short and simple like, ‘Hi, I’m
Ed Wood and I’m just starting out as a freelance _____ in your
area. Do you ever use freelance ______?’ Cold calling isn’t about
being a hotshot salesperson; it’s about making gentle introduc-
tions to new people who are likely to need your help.
Smile when you talk, because your facial expression carries
down the wires. Don’t tense up and deliver a stilted script with
a tight grimace, because your clients will hear that. Smile, relax
and be friendly. Remember that you’re calling these people to
offer something useful.
Stand. Your body is your voice, so make your voice richer, deeper
and more relaxed by standing when you speak.
If you feel anxious about calling the contacts on your list, start
the day with vigorous exercise. Go running. Go to the gym.
Run up and down the stairs 50 times. Release your stress and
relax your voice. Don’t rely on coffee or cigarettes for relaxation
because they’re both stimulants and will only raise your anxiety
levels. Have a glass of water on hand in case your mouth dries
up. Now get calling!
And remember, if you’re scared about calling people, what’s the
worst that could happen? Stop and think about what you’re afraid
of. Are you worried about people responding rudely to your
calls? Are you worried that people will dislike you for calling?
Imagine the very worst outcome. The very worst scenario is that
you call a company that isn’t relevant – and that is not interested
in your services. So in the very worst
case scenario, you can just apologise
sincerely, say toodle-pip, and end the
call. And life goes on.
what’s the worst that
could happen?

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