To cold call or not...?
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    To cold call or not...?

    Cold-calling is dead, according to this guy, Frank Rumbauskas: http://www.nevercoldcall.com/?s=glin...FYYU4wod3Eyxng

    That's good, I don't especially enjoy cold calling! But if you get 'Illustration 101' by Max Scratchmann it says cold-calling is absolutely vital, and that's all there is to it. So, when it comes to freelance illustration, what's anyone to think?

    Last edited by dashinvaine; August 27th, 2009 at 08:01 PM.
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Never listen to a website that has all the answers. Especially if those answers require a credit card.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Hey I hate cold-calling as much as anybody... but this guy is trying to sell you a book, not give you answers... and he totally LOOKS like a guy who's trying to sell you a book. Kinda reduces the credibility right there, no?

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    In illustration, you don't cold call to get work (after all, you're selling a service that can't be described over the phone). You cold call to find out who you have to contact to get work.

    (Call main number of magazine, book publisher, ad agency, design studio, etc)
    "Hello, can I speak to the art department, please?"
    (Get put through to secretary/receptionist/assistant/whoever's job it is to screen calls)
    "Hi, I'm an illustrator who's interested in showing you my work, how would I go about that?" (If you're shy or embarrassed, you don't even have to give your name.)

    Get information about who to submit to, what format, etc etc. Get as much information and as many names as possible. Take notes, don't be afraid to ask for proper spellings or to have things repeated if you miss them.

    End with, "thank you so much for your time. Is there anyone else or any other departments there that you recommend I contact?"

    See, easy peezie.


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    Elwell, you should totally take money for that advice.

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    of course, finding who to show work to and how to show it to them without ever hearing or using a human voice is now easier than ever thanks to the internets!

    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    In illustration, you don't cold call to get work (after all, you're selling a service that can't be described over the phone). You cold call to find out who you have to contact to get work.

    (Call main number of magazine, book publisher, ad agency, design studio, etc)
    "Hello, can I speak to the art department, please?"
    (Get put through to secretary/receptionist/assistant/whoever's job it is to screen calls)
    "Hi, I'm an illustrator who's interested in showing you my work, how would I go about that?" (If you're shy or embarrassed, you don't even have to give your name.)

    Get information about who to submit to, what format, etc etc. Get as much information and as many names as possible. Take notes, don't be afraid to ask for proper spellings or to have things repeated if you miss them.

    End with, "thank you so much for your time. Is there anyone else or any other departments there that you recommend I contact?"

    See, easy peezie.
    Two problems Elwell. What if the Art Director's not available or too busy to answer and if the illustrator has a hearing loss? Ever consider that possibility? That's why I don't think cold calling is wise and therefore, email is the only way I can use for this reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim1099 View Post
    Two problems Elwell. What if the Art Director's not available or too busy to answer and if the illustrator has a hearing loss? Ever consider that possibility? That's why I don't think cold calling is wise and therefore, email is the only way I can use for this reason.
    Obviously, in your case, or the case of anyone with a hearing disability, email is a godsend, and makes having a career as an illustrator or any other sort of freelancer much more possible than it would have been just a few years ago.
    Also, note that with the "script" I presented you probably won't be talking directly to an art director, but to someone who's job it is to deal with the sort of calls they're too busy to take.

    Last edited by Elwell; August 28th, 2009 at 08:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dashinvaine View Post
    Is it maybe better to combine emailing and calling?
    They both have their place. In some cases, cold calling is how one gets an email address in the first place.


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    The guy in that ad is really talking more about people doing sales, not freelancers. Whatever tips he has will be geared for a completely different animal.

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    As soon as you see a website like that you know the guy has no useful information to convey and will be charging a fortune for it. The fact is that if cold calling was ineffective, it wouldn't happen, so his premise is immediately invalid.

    In terms of someone looking for freelance work, cold-calling shows initiative and drive. I don't think many art directors turn up Monday morning and say, "Hmm, I bet Joe Bloggs is sitting on his ass waiting for someone to offer him a job, so I guess I'll just go ahead and call him up."

    In terms of sales oriented work - and I'm thinking mainly business-to-individual - distasteful as it is, it gets results. Someone asked me the other day (rhetorically, I might add), why do people bother sending out spam when nobody takes any notice of it. The fact is, they do take notice, and it makes a lot of people a lot of money. If nobody acted on spam then there would be no spam, it's as simple as that. And that applies to cold-calling too. And, of course, free art.

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    I think it depends on what kind of jobs you want. Personally I do stuff that would be interesting for design studios and I think cold calling would work for that. I simply don't dare to do it

    I do send out cold postcards, letters, emails and I meet people in person without problem... but I just don't dare to call.

    I even have a small phone script ready, some phone numbers of people I want to work with and even had the phone in my hand once... but that's it

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    Companies hate getting cold-called, trust me, I had to deal with a lot of those. I don't know why you believe cold-calling to get a job as an artist is exempt from this. It's a good way to never get a job in that company again though.

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    I worked at a place where a fellow just walked in off the street and asked for a job - didn't even have a portfolio on him (he told me he was just going for a walk and thought "what the hell") - they gave him a test and hired him on the spot because they were just looking for somebody at that moment.... and I think they liked his "gumption". Fortune favours the bold!

    It doesn't work so well in getting a girlfriend though...
    "Hi, you don't know me, but I saw you on the bus, overheard your name and googled your phone number. Wanna date?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaycy is tanning View Post
    Companies hate getting cold-called, trust me, I had to deal with a lot of those. I don't know why you believe cold-calling to get a job as an artist is exempt from this. It's a good way to never get a job in that company again though.

    What we're talking about isn't like a cold sales call. Hopefully this is a company you've done your research on, and you know they use art similar to what you produce. Most likely you aren't cold calling the actual art director. There is probably someone in the art department who can answer questions about submitting a portfolio. Good art directors WANT to see new portfolios.

    The idea you shouldn't make a call is silly.

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    It's probably wiser to check their website to see if the have a submission guideline first. But if they don't, why not call and find out how to tailor your submission to them?

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    As long as you're polite, aware that the timing might be bad, and keep to the point without waffle, only the grouchiest will complain about a cold call.

    Start your call by asking if this is a good time to call. If they say it's not, ask when would be a better time. Promise to call back then. If they say it's okay, keep your call short, sweet and to the point. It can help if you make bullet points of what you want to say or ask. Also, never start a call without pencil and paper right by you so you can take notes.

    One important point.... take a note of the name of the person you first speak to. He or she is your first point of contact in the company; the first step in networking.

    If you do have to call back, start by saying "Hello, is that XYZ?, this is ABC. I called earlier/last week to talk about......"

    I know some people will know this already, but people who have never cold-called before can tie themselves up in knots of fear at the very thought.

    Finally, MAKE SURE that you give them the correct number to call you back if they offer. I have one very disgruntled customer from Canada who phoned to ask me to do something and gave me the number of some guy who lives in Yorkshire.

    I have no way of phoning him to apologise about the confusion because the guy in Yorkshire never heard of him..... so check and repeat your call-back number,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    It's probably wiser to check their website to see if the have a submission guideline first. But if they don't, why not call and find out how to tailor your submission to them?
    Good point. I've actually done far more cold emails, and a lot of times you'll find everything you need on their website.

    Still, the basic idea is the same. It's a cold contact because they didn't approach you, but it's in no way frowned on. It's just expected as part of being a freelancer. Its up to you to take the initiative. Even if your work is amazing and you promote the hell out of yourself, you can't just sit back and hope the clients you want to work for will find you.

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    Alesoun,

    These may work for some people who have the drive and resources to pull it off. But, you are forgetting something here. There are those like me who cannot cold call. Even though I don't like to bring up the fact that I'm hard of hearing/deaf, it makes it a lot more difficult when trying to understand what the person is saying. I will not waste an Art Director's time by using a TTY or any kind of communicative technology that deaf people use because, frankly, Art Directors are not exposed nor experienced with this kind of approach. They are too busy and would get scared off by it.

    If people think cold calling as a freelancer gets results, then how in hell are people with hearing disabilities supposed to market themselves? The only way I can think of is by email as it is the most direct and simplest way to get around. My problem with cold calling is that it is similar to what telemarketers do and I don't want them to think that I'm of that kind.

    I rely on my Blackberry for data (email/text) but do not have a voice plan with it since calling would cost me extra money. There has to be a better way than just cold calling without making themselves look or sound like a jacka$$. Because, if that is the only way, then people like me would have to find an actual agent or representative to do the talking for us and that would be time-consuming and expensive to conduct a search for one, even if there are none in the local area, it would be problematic.

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    Pilgrim, it's not necessary, but I do think it helps. Maybe it brings in 1 client a month and you get 5 clients a month through other ways. (numers are just a big guess based on nothing). If so, calling helps, but if you're deaf you will still get the other 5 clients through e-mail, sending postcards, netwerking, your website, etc. Since you can't call you probably spend a little more time on the other marketing approaches and maybe that will give you that 1 extra clients a month, which makes it even with the persons who do call. Calling is just one of the handy things, just as sending postcards and emails, online networking, having a great website, etc.

    Some people have some advantages, like hearing, but there are other things like living in NY or London will also help to get a few more clients or having a big family where a lot of people work in the same area and give you work, or some coding knowledge to make a great site, etc. Everyone is different and there are many ways to get clients, so calling isn't necessary, but it can help.

    I hope I can overcome the fear and call some people soon since I can really use that extra client a month.

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    Nancy,

    I think it's fine if cold calling works for other people who have the skill and fortitude to see it through. It's not always a perfect solution for marketing ourselves and I think it depends on location and demographics.

    Currently, I use email as the only means to communicate and once in a while, on a local basis, I would meet a client in person which makes it easier to actually discuss the framework of the project involved and not only that, it allows me to understand what is being said by reading their lips. After all, I don't sign.

    Essentially, I would venture to say that using postcards, website and any other kind of visual and physical methods of delivery to the targeted clientele would, and should, get their attention.I have been referred to other by clients I've worked with in the past when living in the midwest. Now, I have to start all over again from scratch to some degree.

    And living a few hours away from Montreal and Boston in between seems to be an advantage, although, I've never been to both of them, I imagine both of their markets are quite extensive and varied for me to tap into, compared to living in a small state.

    Quote Originally Posted by nancy_kelpie View Post
    Pilgrim, it's not necessary, but I do think it helps. Maybe it brings in 1 client a month and you get 5 clients a month through other ways. (numers are just a big guess based on nothing). If so, calling helps, but if you're deaf you will still get the other 5 clients through e-mail, sending postcards, netwerking, your website, etc. Since you can't call you probably spend a little more time on the other marketing approaches and maybe that will give you that 1 extra clients a month, which makes it even with the persons who do call. Calling is just one of the handy things, just as sending postcards and emails, online networking, having a great website, etc.

    Some people have some advantages, like hearing, but there are other things like living in NY or London will also help to get a few more clients or having a big family where a lot of people work in the same area and give you work, or some coding knowledge to make a great site, etc. Everyone is different and there are many ways to get clients, so calling isn't necessary, but it can help.

    I hope I can overcome the fear and call some people soon since I can really use that extra client a month.


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