A Strong Foundation for Successful Cold Calls
Question: Does cold calling really work?
This is a topic that has and will continue to have a lot of discussion. In my opinion, yes, it does work – but first and foremost you need to have a strong foundation:
- A strong visual brand (emotional and visual)
- The imagery to support it
- Strong communication skills (a.k.a. your elevator speech. Learn more about building an effective elevator speech by checking out our Agency Access Academy webinar Things You Never Learned in School)
- A clearly defined market or markets
- The desire to research and understand your clients’ needs. There has to be a strong parallel between what you do and what that person you’re calling needs.
Be Realistic, Be Thorough
Cold calling is one of the facets in your overall marketing plan. Only after you’ve sent out a round of e-promos and direct-mail pieces do you begin your calling process. Remember, on average, you need to make 25 calls to get one or two meetings, so be realistic with yourself when beginning this process.
First classify your leads through the e-promos that have been sent. Look closely at your clicks and do your research; go to the client’s websites and create parallels by checking out their client lists. Make sure there’s a parallel between what your brand represents and the client’s agency – or, in the case of editorial clients, between your brand and the magazine’s vision and overall aesthetic. If there’s a parallel, add them to your list.
After you look at your leads from your e-promo clicks, you can look at the opens in your area. You can also add your dream clients so they know who you are and what you have to offer. But don’t make your cold-calling list so long that it becomes overwhelming. Carve out 25 contacts for the first round.
Words to the Wise
Now you are ready to think about the dialogue for your calls. Here are a few examples that we recommend – remember, this is just a start, so practice it and make it your own. It has to feel authentic to you!
- Leaving a message: Hi, this is ABC from XYZ Photography. I would love to set up 10 minutes to meet you in person and show you my latest portfolio. I know you’re busy, so I’ll follow up with an email.
- If they answer: Hey this ABC from XYZ Photography. Is this a good time? (WAIT for reply).
- If no: Oh, I completely understand. Is it OK if I follow up with you via email? (YES) Have a great day and thanks for your time!
- If yes: Great! I would love to set up 10 minutes to meet you in person and show you my latest portfolio. Are you available next Monday or Tuesday, say, at 10 or 11 a.m., to meet for a few minutes?
Points to Remember
Show respect to whomever you’re calling by asking if they have time to chat. Do your research and know who you’re calling, and make sure your brand comes across. Remember, your goal is to get a meeting, and if not, a PDF request.
I recommend having a PDF portfolio ready before your cold-calling process begins. A PDF portfolio consists of 20 spreads with your visual brand carried throughout. This electronic portfolio must show the buyer/editor a consistent vision that supports the market they hire for.
Here’s an example of a good PDF portfolio:
© Calvin Lockwood
© Calvin Lockwood
Client: Calvin Lockwood
Location: Atlanta, GA
His telemarketing list was built on contacts in the food/product market. After reviewing his portfolio, a client – Calphalon – asked to add him to their list of vendors, and he recently received his first assignment for them.
I know it’s not the first thing you want to do, and it gets harder and harder in this climate to get meetings. But I truly can say if you don’t put yourself out there and follow up with your leads, you will not have the same strong results as if you did.
Pick a day where you feel upbeat and are showing that you’re smiling from the inside – and it will show on the outside!
Jennifer Kilberg’s unique insight into the photo industry is a result of her extensive experience and understanding of all aspects of photography since joining the industry in 1996. In 2004, Jennifer started FluidVision Inc. and has worked with a diverse international client base of photographers and illustrators of all styles and specialties. As a strong communicator, Jennifer enjoys working with all types of personalities, and her loyal client base is a testament to her ability to build long-term relationships. Jennifer has worked with Agency Access clients since 2009 in both Campaign Manager programs and other types of consultations. FluidVision
1. Secrets of the Successful Cold Call
2. Dialogues Podcast: Follow-Up Call & Marketing Strategies
3. 3 Steps to Win the Client Over After the Initial Creative Call