Here’s an email conversation I had with a reader about cold calling I thought you might be interested in.
Reader: I was reading over one of your past posts => “Photo Editor And Art Buyer Survey” http://plain-glass.flywheelsites.com/2010/07/08/photo-editor-and-art-buyer-survey/ => and noticed that calling potential clients is a bad idea! However, all the agents, ADBASE writers and others really push this as a successful way to get future work. ADBASE constantly posts blogs that really push this as a great way to follow up email promo campaigns. Send out your promo, check back to see who opened your promo and then follow up with that person via a phone call. I was speaking with [redacted] at an LA APA event and she was promoting calling and asking to be put through to voice mail. That way, you don’t bother the person with an awkward phone call. My feeling is that I don’t want to cold call either; on the other hand, I do want to generate business. So what is the right approach? I’m new to the game and I don’t want to come out sucking.
APE: Ok, so tell me what you will say to the person when they pick up the phone?
Reader: I have a partial script worked out. But truth be known, I’d rather not call. It’s as much of a problem for me as it seems to be for them. However, if it’s necessary to get hired then I’m willing to try. My confusion lies in all the things I read online, in mags and listen to at the photo lectures. There seems to be contradicting viewpoints. Which is correct? I don’t want to misstep and come out creating a bad first impression. For example, I have been collecting a database of people that have been showing interest in my ADBASE email promo campaign. The data is tallied from the last six months. Anyone that has opened my email more than 50% of the time (whether they just open the email, click directly to my website or both) seem like a potential candidate to call. I was planning on doing this today for the first time. I was constructing what to say based on various blogs. Then I came across your survey and changed my mind. I then remembered the APA event at Chiat Day. Both the AD & AB said they hate calls. If calling is taboo, then the real question becomes: How do you get hired? Are email promos and direct mailers enough (coupled with all the FB’s and Tweets of course)? After all the emails and mailings, should I just sit back and wait for the right ad campaign or editorial story to pop up in my favor? In essence wait for my phone to ring?
APE: What I’m trying to get at, is do you have a reason for calling them other than they looked at your work? Obviously if they liked it and had a job they would call you. What are you going to say on the call that will move things forward?
Reader: Good point. I guess nothing.
APE: This is how those calls went on my end.
caller: Have you been receiving the promos I’ve been sending you?
caller: do you have any questions?
“can I have a job”
The better way to do this is call and ask if you can send in or show your portfolio. If that’s not a possibility you need to produce some targeted promos that will grab their attention. There were plenty of times when the first time I ever talked to a photographer was when I called them up to give them a job. Of course waiting for the phone to ring is a ridiculous proposition so you’ve got to get things under their nose in mail, email, magazines they read, blogs they check out contests they follow that will get them interested.
Reader: Thank you for the advice. Makes sense. What you’re saying is kinda what I was/am planning. I just figured that the “Follow Up” call was a necessary, yet unsavory element to the marketing process. I’m actually relieved that I don’t have do this.
I’d love to hear from anyone who advocates cold calling since this is my very myopic point of view. NOTE: I checked out the readers work and it’s good stuff so those “opens” are real interest and this is not just someone clawing at the wind.