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Use Cold Calling as a Freelance Designer


Cold calling still works for getting business. Learn how to do effective cold calling in person or on the phone to get your next design client.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: As long as it takes to develop leads, make the cold call, and do the follow-up

Here's How:

  1. Determine What You Want to Accomplish.
    Cold calling can be used to get clients. It can also be used to do research or develop contacts --such as developing a relationship with related businesses such as printers, copywriters, or illustrators. Before making a cold call, know what it is you expect to get out of it. Cold calling is not about making a sale. Cold calling is for breaking the ice so that you can move toward making the sale (or develop some other type of relationship). As About.com Guide Susan Ward says, "the purpose of a cold call is to set an appointment to make the pitch."

  2. Decide What Kind of Potential Clients You Want to Contact.
    Starting with the letter A in the phone book and moving down the list in order is not an effective cold calling technique. Starting at one end of the street and going door-to-door is probably not the most effective cold calling technique either. You need to decide what specific type of clients you are looking for. If you specialize in services for small businesses, you're wasting time cold calling on large business that may already have an in-house design team. Create a profile for the type of client -- business or individual -- that you want to target. Learn how to find your target market.

  3. Create Your Contact List.
    Once you have determined your target market, start putting names to those potential clients. Research the businesses or individuals that fit your client profile. You'll want to get business names, addresses, phone numbers, and if possible a specific contact name within the organization if possible.

  4. Research Your Contact List.
    Knowing what company to call is only the start of the process. Learn as much as you can about each company on the list. Find out who makes the decisions regarding the services you offer. If you can't talk directly to that person, find out who you need to go through first (the gatekeeper) and what their role is in the decision-making process. Be familiar with a little bit of the company's history and what they do.

  5. Know What You Want to Say.
    Whether on the phone or cold calling in person you'll need an opening statement. Write it out, but don't just read it or recite it word-for-word from memory. You may need to play it by ear but keep the key points in mind such as don't forget to introduce yourself, get the name of the person you're speaking to, and get to the point about why you are calling. Whether you use a script or not on your cold call, know what you need to say beforehand.
  6. Make the Cold Call.
    You know who you want to call. You know what you want to say. Now, you have to actually do it. And chances are you may have to do it over and over again. New cold calls to new prospects. Warmer calls to previous cold calls. Remember, the purpose of the cold call is to get your foot in the door so you can make your full sales pitch. It's about breaking the ice. It's about getting an appointment. It's about taking the first step to developing an on-going relationship.
  7. Follow Up On Your Cold Calls.
    Even if the initial response was No, keep in contact. Send a thank you note, a brochure, an email, a letter, even another call. Your follow-up method will depend on how the initial cold call went.


  1. Don't Rely Only on Cold Calling
    There are other ways to get business too. Use as many methods as you feel comfortable using.

What You Need

  • Leads (a Contact List)
  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Business Cards or Other Marketing Materials

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