A Surefire Way to Get All The Clients You Need and Want

In his book The Well-Fed Writer, Peter Bowerman tells the following true story from his college book-selling days …

A young book salesman knocks on the door of a house at 8:30 a.m.

A guy answers the door.

The salesman makes his pitch.

The guy proceeds to lambast him, telling him that all soliciting should be outlawed and all salesmen should be shot on sight, and then slams the door.

The salesman runs around the house and knocks on the back door.

The same guy answers.

Before he can launch another tirade, the salesman says …

"I sure hope you're nicer than the guy who lives at the front of the house."

The guy bursts out laughing, invites the kid in, and ends up buying some books from him.

Bowerman tells the story to remind the reader that – although you might not need it at that level – cold calling does take courage.

There's something else I'd like to point out about Bowerman's story. Business-to-consumer sales is worlds apart from cold calling a business and asking them if they ever use freelancers.

You're not a telemarketer who interrupts someone at dinnertime. You're not being a pest.

You are a business professional making contact who offers a service that will help people boost their sales and improve their profits.

It's an important distinction. And to be successful when it comes to cold calling, you have to embrace it.

If you're still hesitant about cold calling, here are some insights Bowerman offers that will put your mind at ease:

  • Bowerman points out that most prospects are overworked and overextended. They don't have a lot of time to look for a copywriter. So if you get yourself in front of them in some way, there's a good chance they'll give you some business or at least seriously consider you.

    (By the way, a great way to get in front of the people who are looking hire copywriters is at AWAI's 2012 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair, which features dozens of marketers to network with. AWAI Executive Directors Katie Yeakle and Rebecca Matter and top copywriter Joshua Boswell are hosting a free teleseminar today all about Bootcamp. They’ll reveal what surprises you can expect at this year's event and why you need to be in attendance! Sign up here to listen in.)

  • Once you've done a good job, people will take notice. They will tell their friends and colleagues about you, and you’ll get lots of referral business. After you do your initial cold-calling campaign, you won't have to rely on it so heavily in the future.
  • If you absolutely blow it during your first couple of calls, remember – it's not a big deal. People are more concerned about what they have to accomplish in their day. They don't have time to think of you or spread the word. They'll go on with their day without giving it a second thought. Best of all, should you decide to call them back in a couple of months, chances are they won't even remember you.
  • Bowerman stresses that you should focus on action not results. Because while you can improve your results by fine-tuning your telemarketing skills and the content of your message, you can't control your results. But you can control your actions. Focus on taking action and the results will follow.

    Note: A surefire way to fine-tune both your telemarketing skills and what you say is to role-play with another copywriter. Take turns pretending to be the prospect and offer each other improvement suggestions.

  • There's a very good chance that the person you are calling will appreciate your gumption and treat you accordingly.

There's one other reason you should make cold calling part of your marketing plan …

It’ll give you a boost of confidence. As Bowerman writes in his book:

"The more effectively and consistently you tell the world who you are, what you do and why they should hire you, the more money you'll make. Period."

Do you have any cold-calling success stories you'd like to share? Any tips to offer? If so, please post your comments here.

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Published: May 22, 2012

3 Responses to “A Surefire Way to Get All The Clients You Need and Want”

  1. Good article, John. I connected with Peter recently - we both worked for the same company during our college summers. I would just offer one general tip: Selling is a transference of feeling. Your confidence and enthusiasm will become your prospect's. You can't fake it, people sense that, too. It has to be genuine.

    Steve Roller

  2. There seems to be a lot of apprehension these days about cold calling.

    Wannabe copywriters feel hesitant to make the first move.

    They are afraid that somebody, somewhere, out there will slam a door in their face.

    This prevents them from taking the initiative and being proactive. When this becomes a habit, it turns into a career killer.

    The only way out of this dilemma is not to take failure personally.

    Failure and success are two sides of the same coin. And learning is a process of trial and error.

    Archan Mehta

  3. I did a "cold email" writing a new client about how I could help her make more money. The first response back was VERY hesitant. We corresponded by email and finally by phone and likely will work together.

    My success came, I'm sure, from presenting myself as a solution to her problem.

    Sandy Fox


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