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  • Diana Schneidman

Cold calling for freelance & consulting work is OK if…

People tell me they hate being bothered by cold calls and therefore they would never stoop so low as to phone someone themselves.

However, I’d guess that the vast majority of the calls they receive are quite unlike the calls I make and fall far short of my criteria for justifiable phoning.

My criteria are pretty high and I myself have experienced very few calls that meet my standards.

Here are my criteria:

  • B2B (business-to-business) call. This is the most important criterion by far! I offer a business service (in my case it’s copywriting and research) to other businesses. I’m not selling vinyl siding or home swimming pools. I’m not soliciting for suspicious charities.

  • I phone only during work hours. That’s because I only call businesses. Some callers phone before or after office hours on the assumption that administrative assistants only work specified hours. However, I assume that anyone at his desk during unusual hours is there for a specific reason and that reason is not to talk to me.

  • I do not show up on caller ID as “anonymous” or “unidentified.” I’ve got nothing to hide.

  • I am live on the phone starting with the dialing. I hate to pick up a call when no one is on the other end of the call. If they’re calling me, they should have the courtesy to be present when I answer. (I suspect these calls use some type of automated dialing.)

  • I call for a specific individual. If I don’t have a name, my initial goal is to find out the right name.

  • I am not a recording. I hate automated calls!

  • I make all my calls myself. I am insulted when small businesses hire telemarketers to make their calls. If they are too important to waste time calling me, I am too important to waste time speaking with their representative.

  • My calls make sense. And if the person doesn’t understand what I’m talking about, I’m right there to answer any questions.

  • I only phone people and companies likely to be interested in my service. I’m not simply working my way through the phone book.

  • I’m pretty good at pronouncing names. If I have phoned before, I note the pronunciation in my records. If I ask, I immediately pronounce the ame correctly and I write it down for future use. (There’s nothing like having the name of Schneidman to experience firsthand that many people have no idea how to pronounce unusual names. Here are resources on how to say difficult names.)

  • I speak confidently and conversationally. I track upcoming assignments and plan marketing efforts to prevent desperation. So there’s no desperation in my voice.

How about you? Are you receiving many phone calls that meet all these criteria?

Originally posted 11-16-11

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