by Mark Weber, M.Photog.Cr, M.Artist, CPP Summer is just about…
Intro by Skip Cohen
For the most part, everything we share on the Marathon Blog is tied to marketing. Now and then we’ll share something that’s related to photographic technique, and helping you build a stronger skill set, but there are so many other resources for you to become better at capturing an image
But, there aren’t a lot of places for you to find different ideas on how to build a stronger business. I stumbled onto this post about cold calls in Chamira Young’s blog and I love it. In order to build a better business, you’ve got to explore every option/method you’ve got to reach your target audience and establish stronger relationships.
Well, nobody ever talks about making cold calls, and it really is an art form, but easy to understand if you visualize the call, in advance!
By Chamira Young
Cold calling as a marketing strategy is not dead, and although it seems a bit “old-fashioned,” many photographers still use this method to connect with people.
There’s something very direct about a phone call. A voice on the other line instead of a line of text in your email inbox. Once you finally overcome the fear of picking up the phone and calling a company you want to serve, there are still a few more rules to follow to give you the best chance of securing a job from the potential client.
- Be Diligent and Disciplined: This is one of the hardest parts of cold calling. We get a burst of inspiration, feel super confident, and call that client we’ve had on our sticky note for months. Whew! It’s finally over. You called and talked with them, you’re done for today.
Then we take a break. We stop cold calling thinking that once will be good enough. You spoke clearly, you told them about how great you were, how could they turn you down? Well, they can turn you down pretty easily.
Cold calling as a form of marketing is not a “one size fits all” strategy, and it’s also not a “one and done” kind of strategy either. The more calls you make the better. Speaking will get easier, you will become more confident, and you will increase your chances of landing a client but putting your name into a wide pool of businesses or customers.
- Don’t Waste Their Time: It may have taken a lot of positive self-talk for you to make that call in the first place, but never forget about the person on the end of the line.
They are busy people or business owners, and being on the phone is often a drain for them; especially when the call isn’t going to do anything for their business immediately. Cold-call marketing is really only effective if you use the idea of the elevator speech. The person on the other end of this phone call is busy and wants information as quickly as possible so they can continue with their busy schedule.
The elevator speech idea is formed from being able to sell a product or a service in a very short amount of time – from one floor to the next on an elevator. You have to think the same way when you are on the phone with someone.
You have just a few minutes – if that – to get their attention and show them what you can do for their business. Practice this speech, do some research about the company, and keep it short and sweet. The last thing you want to be remembered for is how you wasted 10 minutes of their time talking about yourself in your first conversation.
- Come With A Plan: One of the best ways to form a cold call is to make a plan. How will you greet them, what are the main points of your pitch, how do you want to leave the conversation, so they will remember you?
These are key questions and points that need to be factored in before making a cold call and are very important when making a call like this. But that’s not all.
Make a plan for yourself, yes, but also come in with a business plan for them. Check out their business, website, or other information about them and offer up an idea for their business.
This takes the attention off you, and your shaking voice and puts the focus on the business, and it shows a lot of initiative when you have made an effort to propose a business idea. This will show the potential client you have done research and have a specific plan you would like to implement if you start working together.
Marketing Matters: It’s not easy, cold calling, but it’s not the most difficult thing you will do, and it could potentially be one of the best strategies for your business. A few difficult minutes could lead to a future of (relative) ease.
Cold calling is a great marketing strategy, but don’t just call and cross your fingers. Be prepared, don’t waste the client’s time, and be disciplined to call again and again for more businesses. Each call will increase your chances of someone speaking your name or sharing your information.
Communication is the best way to grow your business, and direct communication from you will start the ripples that will help your business start to make big waves.
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