Courageous marketing doesn’t require all that much courage

Today I’m reading a blog I really enjoy. It’s called Cold calling for wimps: One writer’s terrifying quest to jump-start a commercial writing business by calling 1,000 strangers on the phone. The writer is Sarah Maurer.

There’s lots to like about this blog but let’s start with the basics. She set out to follow the advice of Peter Bowerman, author of The Well-Fed Writer, and made 461 calls before she got too busy to make even more calls.

I love her fun, chatty style and I love her honesty. She’s totally open not only on the number of calls she has completed, but also on what she says and how it works and the days with no results.

Here’s something else I like: I saw the phrase “courageous marketing” and it really tickles me. (Alas, the courageous marketing [dot] com domain name is already claimed.)

For me, it really gets to the heart of phoning for business.  Especially the first time you do it, it takes courage to pick up the phone and call a stranger.

What if they’re furious? What if they hang up on me? What if they swear at me? What if they report me? (And to whom, exactly?)

Actually, none of these fears pan out. One call-ee has hung up on me and no one else has been angry. Guess it’s because I’m such a nice person.

And because I only call people who may need my services.

And because I get to the point and explain why I’m calling without a lot of glitzy but empty hype.

And because I make all my calls myself.

And because I only phone during business hours.

And because I always think of some type of answer, maybe great, maybe so-so, to any question I am asked. (We all pull through under pressure.)

Oh, yeah, and because my work is really really good and I reach for the highest standards.

So if we soon discover that the worst case scenario is unlikely, then why the fear?

Could it be the fear of getting an assignment?

Freelancing and consulting can be scary. At our old “regular” jobs, we knew what to expect each day. Over time we learned more about the company and our role in the company, and everything got progressively easier.

Being a solopro is quite the opposite. While our skills continue to grow—and to grow faster than they did at our job—we never feel totally comfortable with a new prospect or a new client.

Every company and every client is different. Often we don’t see the person live and have no visual cues on how they perceive us. It’s quite easy to interpret the assignment differently from how the client does because we may know so little about them yet have to portray confidence that we can do it!

Plus there’s the money issue of proposing a price and deciding how to negotiate when there’s so much we don’t know about the other party.

Realistically speaking, it’s not the cold calling that’s scary. It’s what happens after they engage in conversation with us. And it’s what happens as we undertake the freelancing or consulting assignment itself.

Freelancing and consulting are for courageous people. They don’t require an extraordinary amount of courage but they require some courage. And it’s definitely worthwhile to build our courage muscle by exercising it.

The opportunities are intellectually stimulating, professionally challenging, lucrative and even fun. We can do it!

I’ve learned a lot about how to land great freelance and consulting clients and I continue to explore new ideas, which I share on this page and in my newsletter. Please sign up for the free newsletter—you will also receive Three Secrets to Freelance and Consulting Success: Start Making Great Money as a Freelancer or Consultant for High-Paying Corporate Clients. (Cancellations fully honored. Email addresses managed with complete integrity.)

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6 comments on “Courageous marketing doesn’t require all that much courage
  1. Janet Tilden says:

    Wow, I’m so glad to hear that this kind of new-client trepidation is normal! It happens to me every time, for all the reasons you mentioned. Courage is feeling the fear and moving ahead anyway. Thanks, Diana!

  2. Janet,

    I believe freelancers, consultants and self-employed coaches feel fear and trepidation in so many areas, even beyond telephoning. That’s why they gravitate to coaches who have strong opinions, whether right or wrong.

    Lately I’ve heard more than one teleseminar where the “expert” told everyone listening to double his rates immediately. I think that’s crazy advice and that each person’s situation is different and must be considered individually. But apparently, potential coaching clients love the decisiveness. They can do what the coach advises and save themselves lots of deliberations and worries.

    So if I told them to jump off the Empire State Building…?

    -Diana

  3. Thanks for this. I’ve fallen off the horse and needed a boost. Off to make those calls I’ve been avoiding.

  4. Good for you, Carrie. I’m proud of you. Taking action that connects to others makes all the difference!

    -d

  5. I used to be in telemarketing as a profession, and even so, I still get the paralysis that comes with the prospect of picking up the phone and *gasp* calling a stranger. But the truth remains that while emails can be deleted, sent to junk, avoided, or not even delivered, you pretty much know the outcome of a cold call the minute you make it. It’s efficient and as long as you don’t sound like a used car salesman, you will probably get great results. I know I have. Awesome post, I’m glad I stumbled across it!

  6. Yep, instant feedback for the most part, Courtney.

    -d

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