The perfect cold call


Cold calling might seem really, really hard, just like climbing mountain Everest in shorts but with the right preparation and tools, you can do it without breaking a sweat.
And we are here – to help you!

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Hello, photography lovers!

My name is Virginia and I’m the host of the fashion photography podcast, the one and only show you can find everything you want and everything you need to know about the fashion photography business.
And every Wednesday I’m here with a guest and every other Friday, I’m giving you some tips and tricks.

I found the most accurate in my opinion definition of cold calling on:

“Cold calling is a traditional sales technique that involves calling people with whom you have no existing relationship”

Here is the list that we prepared for you with some useful steps to perfect your cold call:

  1. Do your homework. Research your client before calling.

Most of the people prefer to send an e-mail, and if they can send a batch e-mail – they will!
But by sending the e-mail without a second thought, just because you have someone’s contact, won’t guarantee you the job.

“But it’s easy and it’s fast to just copy paste an e-mail” –  That’s  what  most people will say and also exactly where they get confused and desperate, because they are not getting an answer and they think  there are not clients for them out there.

Of course there are clients! You just have to do your homework and approach the right clients.

So – yes, cold calling is uncomfortable, it’s taking a lot of time, it’s nerve racking and it will definitely make you step out of your comfort zone, but people say everything good happens there, so it might also be called “the party zone”.

If you don’t want to feel waaaay to uncomfortable then you should probably prepare in advance.

  1. Pick the right moment to make the call.

Big hint for you:  the right moment was yesterday.

But you are not too late, don’t worry! The right moment is now, and it doesn’t matter if it’s just 2 hours after the beginning of the work day, or one hour before the end of it, or only 7months before Christmas.

The right moment is any free moment you have. Because deep down you know that every minute you delay your call – is a wasted minute.

We talk more about this in our podcast with Joel Grimes and you can also collect some of his wisdom and the lessons he’ve learned through the the years on our podcasts together.

  1. Know who you are calling.

Find the right details of the person you need to connect to.

Calling the right people is essential, since you don’t want to talk to interns – because they cannot help and you don’t want to call the CEO of the company – because they won’t care. They’ve assigned this to someone else, so make sure to find the right person. You need the decision maker.

  1. You’ve got to hook them up during the very first few minutes of your initial call.

You want to reach the right balance – you need to be kind, but yet a bit aggressive, well-aware of your skills but still ready to hear the needs of your client.

  1. Prepare basic text.

This will help you to feel more at ease once they pick up the phone.

And I know that people are more comfortable writing an e-mail, BUT keep in mind all of your competition will write down an e-mail, so make sure you step up from the crowd with a call.

When you do that call remember:

  1. This is not the right time to talk about costs.
    Explain to your potential clients that you want to see first what are their needs are and what value you can bring.

It’s your very first interaction, you want to leave a good impression.

And here is the most important point:

  1. Focus on them.

Prepare questions in advance and talk about their needs.
This conversation will bring you benefits in the future, but right now – it’s not about you, it’s about them.

  1. In any case – Don’t insult your client – if their photos are not good enough at the moment.

If you come from a place of hate – eventually you will end up there.
Not everyone has the level of visual culture you do and also – art is subjective.
May be they like the things you don’t, or may be the future client doesn’t have your background and they think the photos they’ve received by now are the best out there.
Don’t hate on them, you want to work together, to build a relationship, to start a communication together and there is no way to do that with insults.

  1. Prepare yourself for questions.

Talk to some friends in advance and ask them for some help with those questions and also – put yourself in your client’s shoes. Try to run a scenario with a potential conversation between the future client and you and think – what would you ask? Write down those questions and answer them, so that you can be prepared in advance.

  1. Always be positive!

If you believe they will say no – they probably will, so better be sure you’ll hear someone interested in your photography on the other end.

  1. Be careful with your tone, during the phone call.

Sometimes, when we are worried we tend to sound too aggressive, but you really need to be polite and respectful towards the people you are talking to, and yourself.

  1. Follow up after the call.

You’ll probably have to send an e-mail with your portfolio after the first call, since photography is all about visuals, so make a second -follow up – call after the e-mail, to make sure you won’t be left hanging.

Customize your mail and make sure your portfolio is relevant to their work and aesthetics

During your second phone call:

  1. Ask for a meeting.

Remember – the cold calling process is just a mid-stop to your end goal – to have a meeting with this person and to turn them into clients.

  1. Always learn!
    They will hang up, you don’t need to over think it.

Even if it was a bad call, take the lesson, see what you can improve and just move on as fast as you can.
Every minute you lose beating yourself up is a minute you could have talked to your next big client.

  1. Remember – The more you practice the better will become.
    So give it some time and enjoy the process!

Additional tips:

  • Try reading books that will teach you how to read people.
  • People say if you are standing up during the call you’ll feel better and the listener will like your tone better (go figure…)
  • If you are feeling very uncomfortable -you can first write down an e-mail and ask if you call them and if you have their correct number ( IF you have their correct number not Can you have it – as we said in the beginning – make sure you do your homework) and if you can call them to discuss further.

Here are some useful resources:

Cold calling tips:

How to overcome your fear of Cold Calling:

A great article, comparing the cold calling and cold e-mailing process, along with a graphic for the pros and cons.

If you are uncomfortable cold calling – here are some alternatives for you:

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