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  • Diana Schneidman

Hey, why not take my B2B phone call?

The big trend in marketing is toward relationship marketing. And to me, the best way to initiate a two-way relationship is to pick up the phone and call someone likely to purchase my services.

Why not start a conversation? As a freelance writer specializing in the insurance industry, I have found that phoning is an authentic way to connect with those who may need my work.

In turn, I am fine with being on the receiving end of calls from relevant service providers if they make their calls in the same way I do.

In reality I almost never receive such calls. Most calls that I receive from strangers are a total nuisance. No, I will not reveal passwords and other personal information to a caller allegedly from Microsoft or the IRS. No, I will not talk to a bank if there is no problem with my account. No, I will not donate money to the police—I support them via taxes. I hang up.

Even worse are recorded calls—I hang up immediately unless it’s an auto call to confirm a medical appointment.

My best prospects for freelance writing assignments are marketing directors at insurance companies. They already know what a freelance writer does. They already know if they are fully staffed or if they use freelancers. They know what they want and are not impressed with promises of magical, life-changing copy.

Here are some ways my calls are unique . . . and valuable to those I call:

  • Careful selection of people I phone. I only call people in specific roles in specific types of companies.

  • Phoning only during traditional work hours. I phone when people can be expected to be available for business.

  • No time-wasting “how are you” chatter. I don’t waste people’s time. I get to the point quickly by explaining why I am calling.

  • Only phoning business phone numbers or phone numbers offered as business numbers. “Do Not Call” does not apply to business phones.

  • Making the call myself. There’s nothing relationship-y about a call from a telemarketer who knows nothing about the service offered.

  • Brevity. No elevator speeches that would last 30 floors.

  • Clarity and simplicity. No magical words. No fairy dust. No “magnetic” sales talk.

Only make warm calls.

You may label my calls as “cold calls,” but I don’t. All my calls are warm. Sometimes I have met the individual, but even if I have not, there is some connection between us. We may belong to the same professional organization or at least the same industry. There is some commonality I mention early in my call.

What if someone asks my rate?

I give them an hourly figure. If they say it is too high, I am not offended. After all, I called them, they did not call me. Why prolong the conversation when the two of us are a poor match? I simply offer to send them my marketing email in case they are interested at a later time.

What about the rejection?

Some say “no” but that’s OK. Most people don’t answer my call but may read the follow-up email I send.

I almost never anger people.

Far more important than the “no” is the occasional “yes.”

The most important aspect of marketing is connecting with the most relevant, right people. Phoning works because it requires us to identify those we most want to talk with and enable us to connect with them.

Originally posted 10-27-15

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