Cold calling collywobbles

There’s nothing like lifting the handset to try and sell something to a complete stranger for bringing on a case of the commercial collywobbles. The very thought of it makes me sweat and feel ever so slightly sick.

Because, when it comes to finding new clients, the fine art of cold calling is something we small businesses are simply meant to master. Never mind the nausea, it’s just something we gotta get on with.

But like so many others, the very concept of cold calling strikes terror into the very heart of this particular scaredy cat sole trader. I have done it, and no doubt will do it again, if forced at gunpoint, but d’you know what? I’m completely crap at cold calling.

Sometimes, I sort of think I should be doing more of it, and just need to give myself a damn good kick up the business bahookie. But in the commercial cold light of day, when handset is picked up and poised, I realise that that style of super size me selling just ain’t right for me and my business.

Maybe I’m just making excuses for my failings as an entrepreneur and saleswoman, maybe I’m just plain feart, but that particular method of marketing is so far out of my comfort zone, and so alien to my belief system, that I just cannot crank up the courage and commitment to be a cold caller.

Don’t get me wrong, I want clients! I need them for my very survival. Indeed the very act of finding new business is numero uno on the daily Word Up task list. But there’s ways and means, and cold calling is just mean. Mean, horrible and hateful. And probably not that effective, anyway. I mean, when do you ever buy a service from a random stranger on the other end of the blower?

Let’s be clear tho’ – it’s not that I am adopting a lofty and superior position on salesmanship. In fact, I’ve got great admiration for those telephone terrorists who’ve got the gift of the gab and the thick-skinnedness of a rhino, but it’s not the way forward for me. My own sales pitch is a lot more…erm, organic? Holistic? Hope and pray? Wish and dream?

Well no, actually. How I go about selling myself and my business is not quite as hippy-dippy and head-in-the-sand as all that, but it is much more personal than confronting poor innocents with my brand of amateurish and abysmal cold calling.

But I’m not above tepid telephony, far from it. It’s gotta be done. And anyway, it’s a helluva lot easier calling someone you once met, or who knows someone you know…

Because sell I must. If I want to win work and make a living, I have to take the business of getting the Word on the street very, very seriously. But surely there is more than one way to skin a commercial cat?

For me, selling my services is all about face-to-face, word of mouth, seizing opportunities, and spreading the word. It’s about asking others to help get me started (as many already have, cheers guys!), networking and pulling in favours. It’s about building trust, making relationships and developing a good rep. It’s about collaborating, creating opportunity and having conversations. So, make no mistake, I’m not in the business of sitting back and waiting for the work to come.

But for me, cold calling is best left where it belongs. Out in the cold.