A Telephone Script for Approaching New Clients

[Nick Nichols is known for getting great leads and numerous clients in record time. Not only that, but he helps other freelancers do the same with little effort and low to no cost methods. Take a look at his advice below … ]

What's the fastest and cheapest way to get new writing assignments?

Telephone prospecting!

I know, I know, you hate cold calling. But consider that tele-prospecting is fast, cheap, productive, targeted – and you'll probably have little, if any, competition.

And if business is slower than you'd like, can you think of a better way to invest your time?

Here's a sales presentation script that I've found to be highly effective:

"Good morning … Can you help me please? My name is Nick Nichols and I help companies in [their industry] create results-getting marketing materials on a freelance basis. Would you please tell me the name of the person in charge of creating your ads, brochures, sales letters, Web site, newsletter, and other marketing materials?"

We don't use freelance writers …

"That's too bad. Is that because you NEVER have too much work and not enough time to complete it? Or is it that you just aren't sure how a professional freelance writer might be able to help you get more done in less time?"

If negative …

"Thanks so much for your time. As a respected person in your industry, I'm sure you know people who need help with their marketing communications … am I right? If you were to think about it for a moment, who comes to mind?"

(Note: When you get a referral, politely ask when was the last time the referrer spoke with the referee. Then ask if it's OK to mention the referrer's name.)

I'm not the right person …

"Oh … I see. Who WOULD be the one to talk to about this?"

He/she's not available right now …

"No problem. Who would be the one to talk to about this? Is he/she a morning person, or an afternoon person? What is the best fax number or e-mail address to send over some ideas?"

I'm the right person/that would be me …

"Great! If now is a good time, I'd like to ask you three questions to see if I can help you …

"Do you use freelance copywriters on a fairly regular basis, or just occasionally?

"How has that worked out for you?

"If you had access to a great copywriter who was available right now, what projects would you want that person to take a look at?"

Then, depending on the prospect's attitude …

" It sounds like I might be able to help you … On a scale of 1-10, are you a ten on spending less on advertising and promotion and increasing your sales and profits?

" Great! What would it take for us to start working together?

" Tell me, are you a morning person, or an afternoon person? Would X morning/afternoon be good for me to stop by (or call) so we can talk more about how I can help you? Or would Y morning/afternoon be better for you?"

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Telephone scripts are a great way to build your confidence before a call and put you on the right track to get your foot in the door. BUT don't just start calling companies you know nothing about and read them this script.

First, find out who the marketing director is … Direct your call to his or her attention. Try to find a direct line if possible otherwise you might get caught having to leave a message with the secretary.

Then, practice what you're going to say. Lay these suggestions above out in a flow chart so you can follow along the chart as the prospective client answers yes or no to your questions. Reading directly from the script or memorizing it word for word can make the call sound rehearsed and insincere.

Nick also has scripts for answers to the most popular questions a client will ask over the phone as well as what to do when the client honestly doesn't need anyone right now (the answer is not – "Give up", or "Pester them longer", by the way).]

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Published: March 31, 2003

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