This is a guest post by Christopher Ming Ryan.
Christopher has given up cold calling completely. As the owner of a small film company, he has found new ways to generate, revenue and customers. I like Christopher’s story. I like his passion just as much. Christopher is an Interfriend. (someone I met on the Internet, Twitter, like but have never met in person) Enjoy his story and add your two cents. There is some good comment fodder in this post. Could you build your business as Christopher did and never make another cold call?
I want to thank Jim for giving me the opportunity to write here. I appreciate his take on things – especially because he does all day what I hate to do: Sales.
When I read his recent post My Secret To Cold Calling (http://asalesguy.com/2011/02/22/my-secrets-to-cold-calling/) I kind of chuckled to myself.
I’ve stopped cold calling over the last two years. And, I gotta tell you in the past two years I’ve had more new business than in my entire career. I think there are a couple of reasons.
One, we have moved out the recession and there are new people in new positions who want the product my company, Wheelhouse Communications, creates. We make high-end customized video marketing and training films.
Two, we do good work.
Three, a couple of years ago I started blogging at http://bit.ly/thewaywewatch. I’m not an everyday blogger, but I’ve amassed enough blog posts (100+) that when you look at my site in its entirety the take way message is, “Hey, this guy sounds like he knows his stuff. Giving him a call on a small new job would not be going out on a limb.”
That’s really important. No one wants to make a mistake when you’re talking about video communications because the cost can be higher than other forms of communications. And, usually video is one of those things where everybody sees it. If it fails, the person who hires the video vendor will be blamed.
Once you have the small job that goes well – it takes a little follow up and perseverance to get that next re-peat job.
Here’s how the blog has created new work:
1) People Have A Reason To Get Back In Touch. Old contacts want to get in touch with me – without me hassling them. Sometimes they are piqued at an interesting blog post like this that talks about a special piece of equipment.
I had an old boss of mine from 1993 give me a call when he saw my blog on LinkedIn. He didn’t have a job right then, but we started emailing and talking and after about a year – one thing led to another. I got the call to do a fairly big job for him.
LinkedIn is an obvious place to show off your blog but your email signature is another. I’ve even custom tailored a bitly link to someone I’m writing that tells them about a specific post that I wrote that I thought would be of interest to them. I put it down near my contact info. To do: Advertise your blog in likely and unlikely places.
2) Your World Opens Up. There is a camaraderie among bloggers. About two years ago, I met the seasoned marketing professional, Paul Dunay on a job at BearingPoint and at the end of the taping he asked for my card. Two days later his newsletter comes into my mailbox unannounced which was created by his last 6 or 7 blog posts. Two days later I shared my blog with him. From there we developed a nice and easy relationship — shout outs on twitter and I’ve asked his opinion on stuff. Months later a referral from Paul showed up in my email box. The secret here: Bloggers are some of the world’s best networkers.
3) People Know You Before You Meet Them. Recently, I was being evaluated for a new job with a new client. As a matter of course with new clients I put a link to my “About page” from my blog along with my other contact info in my signature line. My posts about the video industry gave an immediate comfort level but more important it was a great window to who I am. After the evaluation and I solidified the job, the client remarked about how much she enjoyed reading my posts.
I think she felt very validated that she got the “right guy” for the job.
When I got the job and we met for the first time at an out of town location, I could tell she had a built in level of comfort. That’s really helpful for new jobs and clients. Again, the best way to get follow up jobs is to do a great job on the first assignment. Sidebar: Put some personality into your posts and show people who you are.
4) Staying front and center without an intrusive email or call. I try to send a newsletter every now and then based on new posts and it becomes a nice emailable calling card that old clients can send to colleagues, friends and relatives. It’s also a nice way to stay in front of old contacts and jog their memory. People are just too busy to answer voice mails and my emails had been dismissed. But the newsletter is different. In the newsletter there’s relevant information that is aimed at being helpful. If they are too busy they can archive for the future – or wait three months when I ping them again. My take: Voice mails are deleted. Email newsletters are archived.
5) It’s a huge positive to show you know something about Social Media. I have a very networked friend who is just terrific about sending out my name to anyone with a possible video need. Sure his referral is gold, but that he can add that I know something about social media, blogging, and twitter makes me seem very relevant. It’s amazing that these tools have been around for years but are now firmly in the sediment for any marketing or advertising to internal or external audiences. Follow up: Blogging with an original voice and with relevant information — thereby having an audience of followers — puts you steps ahead in front of your competition.
So for the rest of the year, I’m committed to not make a single cold call. But I will keep writing and writing.
Christopher Ming Ryan is a partner at Wheelhouse Communications. He produces, directs and writes marketing video for a variety of Fortune 500 clients. He can be reached at @chrismingryan and his blog can be found at http://bit.ly/thewaywewatch.