by Elizabeth Rose
A year and a half ago, I left my job and started working for myself. Since then, the one thing that I have learned over and over again is that mindset is crucial to success. The attitude I bring to my work each day has a huge impact on whether I am successful and effective, both in my day-to-day work and longer term. No where has this been more clear to me than in my own marketing.
In January with a new year starting and the economic slowdown in full swing, I made a commitment to spend more time networking and looking for new clients. Marketing my services is always a struggle for me -— I am much better at promoting my clients' businesses than my own. As part of my marketing effort I set a goal of doing 10 cold-calls a week, every week. Sitting down for my first calling session, my thoughts were centered around how much I hate cold-calling. My calls that first day were agonizing. I wanted to be anywhere other than at my desk with the phone in my hand. Why was I torturing myself this way?
Needless to say I didn't enjoy the calls, and I am sure the people I was calling didn't enjoy them either. By the end of that first session, I was already coming up with excuses for not doing the next round of calls. Clearly, my calling system wasn't working. No one wants to talk to someone who is nervous and unhappy. Even more importantly, who wants to partner with someone like that to grow their business? I wouldn't be receptive if I was the recipient of a call like that! My outlook on cold-calling needed to change if I was going to have any success with it.
Turning the problem around in my head, I started thinking about why I am making the calls: I want to know if these companies have a business problem that I can help them solve. Right there, my attitude changed. I don't call because I like bothering people -—I call because I might be able to help them. I started looking at cold-calling as a challenge and a chance to connect with other people. Being friendly and relaxed when making my calls means that I have more fun with them—and so do the people I am talking to.
By turning the calls into a weekly challenge, I am looking forward to checking them off my to-do list. Some weeks I have even made more than my required 10 calls. So what have I learned? Attitude makes all the difference. I don't know if my cold-call program will bring in a flood of new clients (though that would be fabulous), but if I approach it with a positive attitude at least I am on the right track.
Elizabeth Rose is an independent graphic designer, specializing in helping small businesses and non-profits create effective marketing materials on an affordable budget. Starting in March, she will be offering her own email newsletter that focuses on design issues for small businesses. Her design work can be seen on her website, elizabethrosestudio.com. Elizabeth lives in Natick, MA, with her husband and dog.