What’s the worst they can say?

Picking up the phone is one of the best ways to get new prospects in your pipeline, and ultimately get new business. Here is a guest post from freelance writer, Jean Feingold, about overcoming the fear of cold calling, and making it work for her business:

Ilise Benun has cajoled her readers repeatedly to make those marketing cold calls no matter how scary it is. I must admit I had been resistant, but when work got slow, I figured, why not? What was the worst they could say? No! I've heard that before and lived, so I decided to try it.
My first call was actually sort of warm. A retired writing friend had been asked about doing a gig he didn't want. I got the contact's name and number from him. This turned out to be someone I had actually met once while in my friend's company, so the fear factor in making the call was reduced. I learned the contact had been inquiring on behalf of his department head and he thought they were still looking for someone to do continuing PR writing. I got that person's name and number and left a voicemail. If there's no return call in the next few days, I'll follow up with an e-mail including writing samples.
My second call was based on an item I'd seen in the local paper. A museum that is in its startup phase had hired a program director. I visited the museum's website, got the phone number, waited around a few days to get brave, and finally called this morning. I pointed out that since their staff was still small, they might benefit from hiring outside writing help on as needed basis. The director was nice and receptive to my pitch. We have a meeting scheduled for next week and I have already sent her samples.
Whether either of these things will put money in my pocket is still unknown (I'll keep you posted). But I know this for sure – had I not called, my chances of getting work from either of these organizations would have been zero. By calling before they did much to look for help, I'm saving them time and trouble and putting myself first in line for whatever writing work there is. Thanks for the push, Ilise. What we all have to remember is the people on the other end of the phone are just people and most people are ok.

Jean Feingold is a freelance writer whose Gainesville, FL-based company, Business Communicators, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Her work has appeared in trade publications in varied industries in the U.S. and Canada.