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  • Diana Schneidman

Phoning for freelance work? Eight ways to avoid hostile responses

I receive unsolicited phone calls daily, seeing that my primary phone number is both a residential and work phone.

I am interested in these calls since I proudly use the phone to contact prospects for my freelance business-writing services. I have also made live phone calls in my community for political candidates.

You may be surprised that I sometimes hang up on people who call me since I use the phone myself to solicit business. However, what I do is so different from my callers’ practices that I feel no guilt whatsoever.

I seldom buy or donate to a phone solicitation although I frequently call businesspeople to offer my services. This is perfectly right because my services are more relevant and valuable to the other party than what is offered to me.

Here are some ways to do better phoning:

  1. Don’t use a recording. A friend posted to Facebook that you should never start a call to him with “Congratulations!” He’ll hang up before you say another word. Actually, any recordings are offensive. If you don’t value my time enough to call live, I don’t value you enough to listen.

  1. Get to the point. I dislike when callers try to make small talk. You are interrupting me so let’s get right to business. I especially dislike callers in January who call me in the Illinois area and want to chat about the weather. And I dislike even more callers who want to brag about being in warm climates. If I really cared about the winter weather, I’d move. Shut up and get to the point.

  1. Let me talk. Sometimes I try to be polite and wait for the caller to pause so I can turn him down politely. But they won’t stop! So I simply talk right over them. I say I am not interested and hang up. You can’t steamroll me into buying.

  1. Keep your speaking genuine and conversational, not overly polished. I don’t think there is such a thing as magnetic scripts since I am comfortable saying no to anything and anyone. I’m immune to magical sales phrases, whether they appeal to greed or fear. So talk like a regular person.

  1. Don’t call twice in the same day. Worse yet, don’t call twice in the same hour. Microsoft and the IRS have done both to me. Yeah, sure….

  1. Don’t use the word “free.” Nothing offered on the phone is free. If it does appear to be free, you pay for it with time.

  1. Don’t call me with a survey. I understand that some surveys, especially political or marketing research surveys, may be legit, but the bad practitioners have killed it for the good ones. I especially hate ridiculous survey questions where the caller rattles off a long, long opinion and asks if I strongly agree, agree, have no opinion, disagree or strongly disagree. They typically speak at breakneck speed. I can’t follow the question and hang up.

  1. Here’s the most important suggestion: Select the names you call carefully. I research each person I call via LinkedIn, Google or relevant professional directories. I only call people in my industry who have jobs in which they may hire freelance writers. I do not research the company before I make my initial call—that they are in the right industry is sufficient—but I am picky about who I call.

Originally posted 6-7-16

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