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  • Diana Schneidman

Cold calling for freelance work: Leave a message? Yes, yes, yes!

Seems the consensus among marketers is never to leave a voicemail message when cold calling. The collective “they” say that cold calls are nuisances and therefore, so are voicemail messages.

It makes no sense to me. My calls are not nuisance calls and therefore my messages are not nuisances either.

First, let’s step back and define “cold calling.” In my dictionary, a cold call is one in which not only do you not know the person you are calling, but you’ve culled the name from a massive list that has no relevance to your product or service. (Think phone book or the electronic equivalent.)

By my definition, cold calling is useless.

Anything else is a warm call. Certainly the best calls are to previous clients and our closest friends. However, I consider a call to a business person who is quite likely to want the good news about my offer or to a fellow member of a professional organization to be a warm call.

I hate the term “cold calling,” but I have associates who use it freely. They say they are cold calling when they sit down to their lists of past clients and contacts they have made through networking.

I call it “picking up the phone”

I prefer to call it “telephoning,” but I use the term “cold calling” in this article solely because that’s the keyword readers may use to find it.

Let’s be clear about how I use the phone. I only call people who are likely to benefit from my services; I help them by informing them of a service that I believe they may want.

I make all calls myself. I call live with no recordings. I get to the point quickly and don’t waste time on useless chitchat. I phone only business numbers (but if a one-person business uses the same phone number for personal and work, that’s not my fault). I only phone during regular business hours. And if people ask to be taken off my list, I never call them again.

Unfortunately, I myself receive more nuisance calls than ever. Sometimes the same nuisance caller phones multiple times on the same day. Alas, these calls often come from what appears to be a local phone number.

I generally do not answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize, with the exception of some local numbers or possible clients or prospects. I figure that if the call is relevant, they’ll leave a message. And I always check my voicemail!

Unfortunately . . .

It is unfortunate that many are trying to transform the phone into a delivery mechanism for garbage.

If you believe that the message you leave is a nuisance, then your call itself is also a nuisance.

Keep calling until someone finally answers? Yuck!

Calling repeatedly till someone answers is not the answer, in my opinion. As the same number shows up repeatedly, it confirms my expectation that it’s a bad call. As I come to recognize the number, I am repelled, not intrigued.

I am proud of the calls I make. I believe I offer something of value and the person called would gladly take my call if only he knew what I am calling about.

By the way, I try to use at least two channels each time I phone. I leave a message and I immediately follow up with an email describing my services. However, a postal letter would also be appropriate in some circumstances.

Originally posted 10-31-16

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