Although most of my days are spent advising people who are actively prospecting for clients (i.e. cold calling), I don’t often get a chance to do it myself, and I think I should, if only because things are constantly changing and I need to make sure my advice is up to date.
So when it was time to find sponsors for our new Creative Freelancer Conference, I jumped at the chance. (BTW: there’s still time to sign up for this event in Chicago, August 27-29. It’s the only business conference designed — and priced — with creative solopreneurs in mind.)
I wasn’t the only one recruiting sponsors and the timeframe was very short so I made my target market small: four qualified prospects with whom I already had some connection, so it wasn’t exactly cold calling to start with. Two of them were very interested and two were mildly interested so I had to moderate my persistence according to each specific situation. (That means, there’s no rule about how often to follow up — a question I get constantly.)
Despite their interest, most prospects didn’t call back, some didn’t even respond to email. But when I called on the phone, more often than not, I reached them. They were happy to hear from me, sometimes even apologetic about how long it was taking to get approval but ready with an update. So it was a good thing I called, instead of assuming that their silence meant "no."
It’s a lesson that bears repeating, even for an old horse like me.