Welcome to Week 19 of my adventure of following the Start Up Version of the Grow Your Business Marketing Plan + Calendar. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a virtual marketing assistant, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and I include a weekly recap at the end.
I didn’t make 5 calls this week, I made 10—and I’m still here to tell the tale.
Since I’ve been networking on Biznik every day, I first decided to look for some tips and inspiration by posting in their Community forum. People replied with some helpful advice. I learned:
- It's a numbers game, if you call enough people, you’ll get business
- Not to take it personally
- To narrow your target audience
- To use affiliations or connections to your advantage
- To make “introductions,” not cold calls
- To use persistent, friendly follow up
Excellent. This all sounded great. So, armed with my scripts and spreadsheet of prospects, I was ready to go.
Then I got extremely nervous. So nervous, the knots in my stomach were fluttering. I had to laugh at myself because I’ve performed on stage in front of thousands of people, and sang in front of full stadiums. I approach strangers on a regular basis, I’ve been on tons of job interviews, and none of those things has affected me this way. But suddenly this, a simple phone call, has created this kind of physical response? Ridiculous! For goodness sake, the person I’m calling can’t even see me! With my heart still coming out of my chest for reasons I could not understand, I dialed the phone.
Then… get ready for this…the phone rang… I got a voicemail, left a friendly message, and hung up.
That was it. All that nervousness—for nothing.
After the 5th call, I was on a roll so I kept going. Here’s the breakdown of my 10 calls:
For one of them, the phone didn’t ring on the other end. But I did try twice. And yes, I’m still counting it.
I also hung up on someone. Yup! In my defense, a loud lady picked up and yelled HELLLLLLLOOOO into the phone. It threw me off. Was this how she answered the phone at her business? I panicked, and click. (Now keep in mind, the Grow your Business Marketing Plan says this week is about making practice calls, so I’m still learning… and yes, I’m counting this one too!)
After that, I left 4 voice mail messages, one message with an assistant who wouldn’t put me through to voicemail, and I talked to one assistant who was very pleasant. When he told me his boss was on the phone, I asked him for his bosses email address. Then I emailed the boss who later wrote me back saying they don’t work with writers outside of the area, but best of luck.
So far so good. I was up to 9 calls (yes, counting my two discrepancies) and decided I could bust another one out for a big round 10.
I didn’t know this last person’s name, I had just found their website and phone number. Someone answered. I found myself being more conversational in this call, (because I didn’t know their name), and because this was the first real business owner I was speaking to—but it worked. He said, “Sometimes our clients ask for copy writing, but we don’t really get involved. It would be great to have someone to refer them to. Please send me more information, and hopefully we can send you some business!”
Not bad. Not bad at all. For me, it was about getting over that initial fright.
It helped that this blog keeps me accountable. I wasn’t about to write a post this week saying I was too scared to pick up the phone! If you need someone to be accountable to, Ilise has a new marketing plan group starting May 18th. It’s not even a shameless plug, I really think accountability does wonders, especially for someone like me who may need some outside source of motivation.
Week 19 Recap: Cold calls, check. Social networking, check. Call 2 existing clients to check in, check. Post on one or more blogs, check. Identify 3 new prospects, check. The ball is rolling this week, and it feels pretty good! How is your marketing coming along?